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UNICEF/98-0845/Alsbirk

Wawa Wasi for working parents in Peru

In Peru, where more than half the people live in poverty, work a 10 hour day away from their homes and children and, even then, do not earn an income sufficient to cover their basic necessities, Wawa Wasi, ‘Children’s Homes’, is filling a pressing need.

A low-cost, low-income day-care programme set up to serve 150,000 children nationwide, Wawa Wasi began in 1993 as a collaboration between UNICEF and Peru’s Ministry of Education. The programme has since expanded to create day-care centres in as many as 20,000 homes with the support of a $150 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and cooperation with the European Union and local grass-roots organizations.

For a small fee, working mothers leave their children who are under three years old in a day-care home where there is a ‘mother-in-charge’, trained in health care, early childhood stimulation and basic nutrition. Meals in the Wawa Wasi, most of which are located in shanty towns of urban areas, are organized through communal kitchens or ‘Glass of Milk’ committees that take the burden of cooking off the main caregivers.

Wawa Wasi is exemplary on many levels: It has created quality basic services that meet the local community’s needs, it fosters social inclusion and it boosts the physical, social and cognitive skills of children. It will create jobs for 19,000 caregivers.

 

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