News Archive
Aug 3, 2016 - MANTHOC Representatives Visit Tokyo Peace Boat Centre
Tomy Laulate and Annie Teddy Olivares travelled to Japan to talk about their experience in MANTHOC.
Tomy Laulate is a 17-year-old Peruvian who started to work when he was six. His first job was taking care of motorcycles in a car park in his hometown, Iquitos, the largest metropolis in the Peruvian Amazon. Later, he worked selling sweets on the street. Now, he gets up every day at four o'clock to work for a couple of hours in a restaurant before he goes to school. He works because he he needs the money for his expenses and his parents do not have the means to support him financially. Tomy is also a member of MANTHOC (Movimiento de Adolescentes y Niños Trabajadores Hijos de Obreros Cristianos, translated as 'Movement of the Working Youth, Children of the Christian Working Class'), an organisation which fights labour exploitation and supports young people who have pride in their working lives and know the value of independence.

Alejandro Cussiánovich is one of the founders of MANTHOC
On August 2, Tomy visited Peace Boat Centre in Tokyo to talk about his experience. He was accompanied by Annie Teddy Olivares and Alejandro Cussiánovich. Annie is 16 years old and started working when she was six and -like Tomy- is a national delegate for Manthoc. Alejandro is one of the founders of the organization, a Catholic priest who has devoted more than three decades of his life to supporting working children. The group visited Japan for ten days to talk about Peru and the organization they represent. In Peace Boat office in Takadanobaba they explained their experiences to a group of Peace Boat volunteers.

The three visitors talked about a variety of topics in the Peace Boat Centre in Tokyo
In Latin America, one in 10, or 14 million, children and adolescents work, mostly in agriculture. The majority live in poverty. And according to the International Labour Organisation, the problem is more serious in Peru. Almost a third - 28% - of all children and adolescents in the Andean country have a job. They are aged between six and 17; they are poor and sell various products, including popcorn, ice-blocks and fruit at various markets around the cities. Depending on their age, most of them work three to seven days per week and bring in around US$10 a day.

After the presentation, attendees were able to talk with the South-American visitors.
Some children and adolescents, however, oppose any plan that aims to fully take away what they say is their right to work. Children have helped out in the fields since Inca times, and MANTHOC believes this tradition should continue as part of the normal development of people growing up in rural areas. "We ask people not to confuse child employment with a crime", said Cussiánovich. "What is wrong is not the work in itself, but the jobs that are done in exploitative conditions, with abuse, and which violate our dignity as human beings."

One million adolescents work in Peru because of poverty and the need to contribute to their families' income. "But if they have to work, they must do so in fair conditions. So we need to make sure that they do so with proper training, without exceeding working hours, and never in dangerous activities", explained Cussiánovich.

Manthoc provides training to the children and empowers them to know their rights and be responsible citizens. They are given the opportunity to grow and be supported. The organisation is run by the youth for the youth. "We empower children to organise and run all of their projects", he added.

Peace Boat participants visit MANTHOC in Lima when the ship docks in Callao as part of a study programme on child labour
MANTHOC is not dedicated to ending child labour. They think it is not an achievable reality right now. "We have to realise that children have to work in many communities in Peru. Given this fact, we want to ensure that they are looked after, supported and being given the rights and education that they deserve", he explained.

Peace Boat has collaborated with MANTHOC for years and organises study programmes about child labour which visit one of their centres when the ship docks in Callao. Participants in Japan volunteer to collect stationary for the children to use including pads, pens, pencils, colouring books, diaries and other materials. Today MANTHOC works with over 5000 children from provinces across Peru.

Documents for download