In Peru, children with special needs do not have the same opportunities as other children. The Rainbow Centre exists to provide education, therapy and social support to these children and their families, to challenge stereotypes and raise awareness about disability among the local community, and to help our students develop skills for independent living.
One of the older students at the Rainbow Centre is Gervacio, who was born with Down ’s syndrome and therefore has a moderate learning disability.
Gervacio was born in Urubamba, the oldest of three children. Although initially a stable family, his parents separated after his father had an affair and since then his mother has struggled to cope both financially and emotionally. At home, Gervacio has no structure or supervision – his family did believe he would be capable of finding employment and he could be found wandering the streets of Urubamba with no purpose. Due to his disability, without support Gervacio would be unlikely to have a future where he is able to contribute towards supporting himself and his family.
Gervacio has been attending the Rainbow Centre for several years now and is very sociable. He likes to spend time with others his age and be helpful, he has a hearty appetite. He loves to do “manly” jobs and is very proud of his achievements and collaboration. Gervacio is an athletic young man, and in 2006 he made it through to the Special Olympics in Lima which is certainly an achievement to be very proud of!
At the Rainbow Centre they understand that Gervacio should be treated as an adult and with respect. His learning difficulties mean that he struggles with academic concepts such as numbers and takes time to learn new skills. However, through the Life Skills programme he has learnt basic self care skills such as personal hygiene and housekeeping, contributes towards the up keep of the garden and the school farm and participates in weekly cooking lessons. He shows great interest in the cooking classes although he still struggles to remember the amounts of ingredients for specific recipes.
Over the years that Gervacio has attended the Rainbow Centre he has achieved a great deal and is increasingly self-sufficient in carrying out the tasks assigned to him. He is now being taught the basic skills needed for employment, such as timekeeping, social interaction, and money handling and the Centre is hoping to place Gervacio in supported employment in the coming year.