Iquitos in numbers

The life in Iquitos is hard and focused on survival. Childhood does not exist.

  • Unemployment rates are very high, with the result that 62% of people live below thuis op palenhe poverty line and 42% live in extreme poverty.

  • The illiteracy rate and numbers of low skilled workers is staggering. According to a national study by the Ministry of Education, more than 17% of 5-15 year-old children of Iquitos have never been enrolled in school.

  • Of the children who go to school, nearly 10% do not finish their education.

  • More than 20% of children have no birth certificate or identity documents and therefore do not officially exist. Without these papers it is impossible to go to school and the children cannot get assistance in hospitals or other state agencies.

  • Because of the many problems faced by families and the lack of knowledge about raising children, children from 3 years old are considered small (stupid) adults. Games, and encouragement to build knowledge and confidence, are unfamiliar terms in the hard life of Iquitos.

  • More than 20 % of children have no birth or identity papers and therefore do not exist officially. Without these papers the children cannot attend school and they are not allowed to use hospitals or other State agencies.

  • Because of the many problems faced by families and the lack of information about raising children, children as young as three years old are treated like little (dumb) adults. Playing, encouraging and building knowledge and confidence are unfamiliar terms in the tough life at Iquitos. There is no “investment” whatsoever in children, they are just there and must help where needed!

  • In poor neighborhoods, around 40 % of children don’t go to kindergarten, and once they make it to first grade, it’s too late for them to adapt to the educational program which is routinely recited by teachers.

  • Teachers in State schools don’t even get educational material from the State (not even a pencil or a notebook) and are totally unaware of their students’ educational level. Children are not allowed by law to repeat first grade and simply continue to second grade with an even bigger lag.

  • Iquitos has the lowest education levels of Peru. At the annual State examination taken by students in second grade (2011) only 0.5 % of schoolchildren from Iquitos reach the average level in arithmetic’s and 4 % pass for reading comprehension.

  • In general parents don’t invest in their children, they are just there and have to help where needed!

  • In deprived neighborhoods, around 40% of children do not go to kindergarten and once they get into first grade cannot adapt to the curriculum which is routinely simply recited by teachers.

  • Teachers in state schools receive no educational materials (not even a pencil or a book) from the state and are totally unaware of the educational level of their students. According to the law, children cannot remain in first grade for more than one year, and so are passed, with an even bigger learning deficit, right on to second grade.

  • Iquitos has the lowest educational proficiency of Peru. The annual state exam among the students from second grade shows that only 0.5% of the school children in Iquitos have a sufficient computational level and 4% a sufficient level of reading comprehension.

  • Neither the central government in Lima nor the local government have demonstrated an interest in solving the many problems facing the people of Iquitos.

  • Day in and day out, a large part of the people of Iquitos have only one thing on their mind, survival! Things like education, health, hygiene, personal development and growth are necessarily pushed to the back burner.

What can we change?

El Manguaré wants to help break the vicious cyclein which many families are stuck. To this end, we focus specifically on children and education. We are neighborhood oriented. That means that every three years we start our projects in another disadvantaged neighborhood. During those three years of the project:

  1. We put together birth-certificate and ID paper campaigns and help pre-school children to, or to return to, school (Program: “I exist and go to school!”).

  2. El Manguaré welcomes children with severe educational short comings and /or problems free of charge and prepares them for the first grade level at State schools. The students from El Manguaré (mostly from poor problem families) also receive supplemental feeding, medical care and free medical insurance.{We take kids with large educational deficits and/or problems free of charge and we prepare them for the level of first grade. Our students (mostly from poor dysfunctional families) also receive supplemental food, medical care and free medical insurance (Program: Our pre-school El Manguaré).}

  3. We support the local school with educational materials and practical training within their own classrooms; with the aim of improving the level of education of the neighborhood school (Program: Improving the Quality of Education).

  4. We work with neighborhood mothers to promote early stimulation, and to learn the importance of it , for their children 0-7 years in the home (Program: Early Stimulation).

El Manguaré ensures that as much knowledge, responsibility, and ability becomes transferable between principals, teachers, parents, and community and government authorities. After three years, our work with each neighborhood comes to a close. They will continue to receive post work help, but we start a new project in a new neighborhood.