World Children’s Day, a story from Peru

19 November 2021

In celebration of World Children’s Day, we wanted to share a story from our amazing team in Peru.

A young boy sitting on a swing

On 20th November 1959 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and, on the same date, in 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

World Children’s Day encourages us to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights in the hope that this will build a better world for all children.

Gael is a 6-year-old boy with Down Syndrome from Lima.

Gael’s parents are dedicated to his development and enrolled him in a privatised special education centre. However, he was unable to stay here as it was only a preschool with no provision for older children.

Gael is now enrolled at a CEBE (Special Basic Education Centre) in which allows him to keep up the pace of learning with the rest of his classmates through virtual classes. However, this CEBE doesn’t have a comprehensive psychological support service for parents and during the pandemic the service reduced even further. This has been a challenge for Ana María (Gael’s mother) because, as Gael’s main carer, she is always very concerned about every detail of Gael’s upbringing. Ana María wishes to ensure Gael has the same opportunities as everyone else. 

“A specialist told us that we put up barriers for our children and that it shouldn’t be like that – we have to accept that we can educate children with disabilities and teach other people to respect them”.

Ana María, mother

The mental health support provided to Gael’s parents as part of Sense International Peru’s programmes has been crucial in providing Ana María with advice and assistance over the last year of lockdown. The programme provided has helped Gael’s parents to break down prejudices about Gael’s abilities. They have been able to learn and apply exercises that have improved Gael’s behaviour and ability to socialise.