In 1989, the Canadian educator Jean-Louis LEBEL, at the suggestion of a priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles, began an investigation aimed at learning about the problems of children and adolescents living on the street, in order to find out if he could contribute to the problem. This research was initiated in Cusco, where contacts were established with households and institutions to learn methodological proposals, and continued in Lima. At this time there were very few state or private shelters to serve the population of street children and adolescents.
In December 1989, Jean-Louis LEBEL began work on the streets and squares of downtown Lima, with St. Martin’s Square being one of the key points. As a result of this experience, the immediate need to offer an alternative to children and adolescents was concluded.
The Friendship of the Child
“I went every day, mostly at night because in the day the children were scattered. From seven o’clock at night children, young teenagers and street adults began to cluster in the southwest part of the square. Until twelve or one they were engaged in the theft and consumption of Terokal or basic cocaine paste. I couldn’t intervene to stop it because I had been “thrown” out of the square. They respected me and knew I didn’t share their activities. It was a taboo subject between us. If a child dared to take out his bag and if an adult (from the street) noticed, he would slap him, saying, “Respect the little father.”
From the beginning it was a rule for me not to bring them clothes, food or whatever. Other support groups helped them, but I thought helping them right there was making it harder to leave the street. My intention was to earn their trust and friendship and then open a center to welcome them. It seemed clear to me that it was necessary to get them out of there in order to really help them.”
The Home of
The Home House
Thus came the idea of giving children and adolescents a home to live in. Without a plan formulated, a house was rented in the center of Lima. It was the beginning of the open house-home. The fundamental principle was based on the voluntary entry of the child or adolescent and the development of a rehabilitation proposal according to their needs.
In June 1990, the first child was housed and the Child Integration Centre in Abandonment – CIMA was legally created on 14 August 1990.
At first, the reception capacity was 8 children and adolescents. Gradually, staff were increased with psychologists and social assistants, as needed.
In September 1991, all children and adolescents were moved to a new premises donated by Engineer Federico Jahncke, located in Huarangal, Cieneguilla district. Gradually the number of residents increased, reaching 60 children and adolescents. The offer of proposed workshops to children was also expanded and the number of tutors doubled.
In 1996, residents moved to another land, also located in Cieneguilla, where the CIMA home continues to operate to date. In conjunction with the growth of the home, a formalization process was developed, through the incorporation of staff in form in 2005 and the adoption of several internal documents (staff code, internal rules, organizational manual and functions).