Spotlight on JUCONI:
Social interventions for street children in Guayaquil
Ecuador is on the ILO's list of Latin American countries with the highest incidence of child labor. It is estimated that there are currently around 1 million child laborers in the country, working in households, on the streets, garbage dumps and plantations. Child labor is usually motivated by extreme poverty and it normally takes place during primary school and a child's early physical development. .

Winrock International has been working with the NGO JUCONI in Guayaquil, Ecuador, promoting education to reduce child labor. Through CIRCLE, JUCONI develops educational methodologies and psychological support for families, and looks for solutions and alternatives to bring about changes in the lives of child laborers.

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The story below is an example of one of JUCONI's successes:
JL was one of Guayaquil's many adolescents who needed to work to contribute to his family's income. He was only twelve when he started going to the streets to sell bread and glue. When he later started experiencing problems with other children at school, he dropped out and remained on streets, exposed to all the dangers faced by street children. One day while he was working, he recounted that he was sexually abused in a public facility. His street friends did not have any compassion towards him when this happened, thinking it was his fault, and began to abuse him as well. His parents were no different when told what had happened – the boy was punished because he was seen as the culprit rather than the victim.

JUCONI has helped make great improvements in JL's academic, social, and family environment. After discovering him, JUCONI workers brought together his family to discuss ways to remove him from the streets. JUCONI then implemented their proven methodology, combining direct intervention with the family and involving the school to end the pattern of abuse and neglect. By improving the family environment through communication, JL became empowered and motivated to succeed in school. His parents had been opposed (for economic reasons) to JL's return to school, but after three months of negotiations with JUCONI, JL was reenrolled. Once JL received his parents' support, he felt able to improve in school. JUCONI workers and JL´s family then collaborated with his school director and teachers to search for ways to improve his academic success and put him in a different class. Now JL's parents visit him at school each week.

After 7 months of intervention, JUCONI has helped JL to feel more successful; he is currently benefiting from educational and psychological support. Out of the streets, JL dedicates all his time to studying. His last school report card pointed to excellent progress in all subjects. According to his mother, he now always studies after he comes home from school .

JUCONI's strategy is to achieve a long term impact. Through therapeutic and constant home visits, the staff works with families to show them the importance of education for the future of their children. This case illustrates JUCONI's integrated approach to removing children from harmful situations and working