The Work of Generacion

Generacion has been working for 25 years to recognize the children, youth, and teenagers that live in the streets as people with dignity, legitimate to society and state, and that their plight is also ours. We work so their human rights are restored without any restrictions, their right for freedom and dignity is recognize for life, and that society reconciles with them through acts of love and tenderness.

There have been significant changes in the phenomenon of street children in the last 25 years and also in our work with that population. Even though we started working with these children to guarantee their subsistence, currently we work to make sure that they reach their maximum development so they can participate in the creation of their own destiny.

It usually takes three years for children, who have lived the violence of the streets, to find hope in their own lives.  This transition is from believing that they are worth nothing – meaning that they feel that they deserve being trafficked, mistreated, marginalized, and so on – to believing that they are people with dignity and with rights.

Generacion’s street team, a group of social workers, psychologists and educators, is the group that first identifies the children in the streets, designs the platform of support, and develops the activities that would provide the children with opportunities to change their own lives.

One of Generación’s most dynamic programs revolves around surfing. Few years ago the harassment against street children increased and Generation had to take the youngest children to a remote place.  Since then, Generación rents a house in a coastal town about an hour from Lima, and fifteen to eighteen kids live there full-time. From the beginning the Not For Sale Campaign helped with surfing equipment, so the children could learn surfing.  It is a remarkable scene to head down to the beach late in the afternoon and watch a pack of ex-street children mixing in with the locals. Some of Generación’s kids are now entering surfing competitions and performing at a high level

Surfing has become a meaningful practice that brings physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. The children are realizing that through surf they can express themselves, compete, be respected, and connect with nature. The healing process is working and they are doing well in school. Even some of them are reconnecting with their families in a much healthier way.

Veronica’s House seeks to address the immediate needs of young women and girls in commercial sexual exploitation.  It is a Safe-House for at-risk women and children that provides protection and resources for basic needs.

We also run a vocational center at Veronika’s House to provide valuable, income generating vocational skills and job training to teenagers and young adults. We support training activities such as sewing, cooking and bakery. Our network provides concrete employment opportunities to the women that go through the vocational training.

Our children, teenagers, and young adults that come from the streets participate in the design process and evaluation of the projects in the following ways: by identifying the problems both felt and real, proposing probable solutions, selecting one solution and pondering its feasibility and viability, making the decision that the assembly sees as the most adequate, assigning responsibilities, and evaluating the results after realizing the actions chosen.

In this regard, we have had two recent significant experiences. First, the formulation of a petition of unsatisfied needs and vulnerable rights that the children presented to the President of the Republic of Peru and the Mayor of Metropolitan Lima during the last national elections. Second, the Little Gardeners of My City Program, in which the Municipality of Lima hired street children to work as gardeners in the parks and gardens of the city of Lima. Both experiences were realized engaging the methodology of participant planning, as explained above.

More than ten years ago, Generacion selected a small group of kids to teach them how to play music. Within a couple of months, these children became very skilled with the pan flute (zamponas), the charango, and drums.  We hoped that giving the children music lessons and instruments would provide them a tool for subsistence. But teaching a handful of children to make music caused a ripple effect that the organization never imagined.

The small group of children that first learned to play music started teaching their friends. Their friends taught other groups, and so on. Today one can go to the streets of Lima and find many children playing music in the streets, on transport, and in restaurants to survive. Hundreds of children in the streets of Lima find in music a shield against destitution.

Generacion now helps musicians to expand their earning potential and promote social development.

“Nana de la Calle” is a play where children, teenagers, and young adults who live or lived in the streets of Lima get together to represent the reality of violence in the streets. They dance, sing, act, and play music to get their message across. After the presentation, they meet with the audience for questions and answers.

The performance has had some evolution. In 2005, Generacion, started on doing rap on their lives with the kids. In 2006 they transformed the material into an opera. In September of 2008, they were able to launch a pilot program performing the play at secondary schools of Lima, and since then we present the play twice a year in different theaters and schools around the city of Lima.