As the city of 120,000 continues to grow due to the presence of the world’s second biggest gold mine, the urban and rural poor have not reaped any of the benefits of economic development. Many of the adults from marginalized areas, being illiterate, find themselves working in the informal sector, with few forms of social protection. As the costs of land and food staples rise, traditionally vulnerable populations are increasingly struggling to meet their most basic needs.
Given the stresses of living in poverty, many such families struggle to cover the expenses associated with their children’s schooling. A significant portion of the student body from impoverished areas of Cajamarca drop out of school before completing secondary school, some even before finishing primary school. Without a basic level of education, children and youth are at significant risk of being trapped in a cycle of poverty with none of the tools necessary to build a better future for themselves and their families.