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Shaping Their Own Life

Peru: Runayay is a Day care centre in Lima, founded in 2007. The initiative follows the impulse to help young people to conclude with their past on the streets and in gangs, in order to take a chance at a new beginning, focusing on independence and an apprenticeship or a job. Runayay supports these people with a broad offer of workshops and therapies and serves furthermore as a place for cooking and taking care of homework as well as a place for dialogue, or simply as a venue for rest and peace.

Wherever you look, everywhere there is a busy work atmosphere. Teenagers, a few mothers and the entire Runayay Team are cutting, washing, flavouring, cooking, peeling, roasting and arranging, as they tackle the challenge to prepare and sell 150 Chicken. In Peru, this procedure is known as “Pollada” and its sale revenue is supposed to benefit Runayay.

Every now and then, teenagers from the individual groups are allowed to go on a small trip. The experiences they gain during that time, are supposed to support them in learning certain skills and aspects of everyday life.

For example, a small group of young women went on a hiking trip to the Andes. During that time, the women got to know their own borders, had a chance to learn about endurance and discovered a new vitality. All these aspects of life should serve to them as a key, in order to accomplish their apprenticeship and later on the tasks of their work life.

Deep Traumas and a New Self-Esteem

Quite a number of youngsters joining Runayay, have left a part of their life behind or want to do so; a part of their life, which has deeply shaped them and often even traumatized them. In this respect, the enormous run on the institution, on days when workshops and therapies take place, is quite self-explanatory. But on other days a lot of young people attend Runayay as well. Some of them need a peaceful environment in order to dedicate themselves to work or to talk to staff members about personal difficulties. Others again spend their spare time in the facility in order to cook together or just to hang out with other youngsters.In this case Runayay serves as a second home to them; a home, which supports them whenever they are in need of help and encouragement.

The Runayay staff is always at hand with help and advice to the youngsters. However, they do not present them everything. They rather expect that the teenagers dedicate themselves to projects, which in the end help to secure the preservation of Runayay.

Especially the beginning, when young people get in touch with Runayay and are included in a group, is a challenge. But it later on serves to them as a priceless value. Here they learn to commit themselves to a goal, to work regularly for it, to take up responsibility for its success and through the first results they gain new self-esteem and a positive force. By doing so they build up a foundation and abilities for their biggest and most demanding project: the shaping of their own life.