Education in their mother tongue
Take, for example, the children in the region of Huancavelica – regarded as the poorest area in Peru. When they start attending school, they cannot understand a word. Their mother tongue is Quechua, but the official language in state schools is Spanish. In other ways, too, the state education does not match the reality of life for these children. The language and culture of the Quechua are regarded as inferior. If the children are first taught in their mother tongue and learn Spanish in that setting, it brings long-term benefits in combatting poverty and social exclusion. Education is a key factor in escaping the downward spiral of poverty.
The official curriculum as set forth in Lima does not pay sufficient attention to the environment or to the situation of children and youth in rural areas. Chemical-based farming methods, deforestation and the ruthless exploitation of mineral resources have resulted in ecological disaster in many areas. The partner organisations of terre des hommes schweiz are helping to revise the curriculum, support ecological regeneration and encourage environmental awareness.