Between 1993 and 2009, Y Care International worked in partnership with Peru YMCA to increase access to the health, education and employment needs of a community of refuse sorters.

Between 1993 and 2009, Y Care International worked in partnership with Peru YMCA to increase access to the health, education and employment needs of a community of refuse sorters.

Peru YMCA supported young people to help them keep up with their school work, and provide counselling and health education. Frank earns approximately 120 soles per month (about £22) on the site. Like other refuse sorters, Frank is vulnerable to skin infections, respiratory problems, typhoid, and tetanus. Refuse workers often experience discrimination, limited access to health care and education and little support from local government.

Frank lives in El Milagro, a shanty town in northern Peru. He works on a refuse site with other young people, collecting rubbish and selling it on to make money for his family.

Frank and his family members were also supported by the YMCA to learn about health, human rights, violence against women, self-esteem, and entrepreneurial skills.

Frank’s day

Frank PeruHi, my name is Frank. I’m 12 years old. I live with my mother and my seven brothers and sisters. Four of them study and the rest work.

I’d like to tell you about my house. There is a small dining room where we eat, which has a bare clay floor. My mother and little sister sleep in here. My bedroom has bare brick walls and a clay floor. There are three beds, as I have to share with my two sisters. Outside in the yard we store the materials we’ve collected at the refuse site to sell later. We wash and prepare our food here and we keep our pigs out here. I feed them every day.

My day starts at 1am. I get up and go to work with my mother and sisters at the refuse site. I’ve been working there since I was 9. I work there 6 days a week, sorting junk and plastics. Then I sell it to a woman who’s there every day. Everything we earn goes into food, my studies, and everyday necessities.

After I get back from the site, I wash, have breakfast, and then clean the house. I then get a bit of free time. After that I go and fetch water. Every day I have to collect water for the family for washing and cooking. I collect 4 or 5 big gallon barrels.

I go to school at 12pm. When I get to school I hang out with my friends. Once the teacher arrives we start doing activities and discuss the class work. After that we go out for break and I play with my friends. I love school. I’m in the first year of secondary school. My favourite classes are mathematics, personal and social development and PE. I also play the bass drum in the school band.

After school, I go to the YMCA. I come to the YMCA to do my homework and I come to the workshops on Saturdays. What I like most is the workshops and doing group work.

The YMCA helps us to improve our studies. It has also helped me get to know more people and have more fun with my friends.

My teachers know that I work at the refuse site and they congratulate me for being so hard working. When I first started I didn’t like working there but then I got used to it. I like working there so that I can help my mother, who is sick.