A Terminal Case: A look at what one organisation is doing for the working children in the Terminal Terrestre in Quito, Ecuador
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It has been predicted that by the year 2000, 21% of the world population under 15 will be living in the cities of Latin America. Urban youth will soon be the majority worldwide. If present trends continue 30% of the estimated 300 million minors who will be living in the cities of Latin America in 2020 will be extremely poor (Boyden 2). The majority of these children will be forced to work in order to survive. Obviously the solution to this problem is not a simple one. In order to change the situation of urban youth action is required on three different levels; the macro level (international and national action), the meso level (state and city action) and the micro level (community and family action). Not only is action required on all levels, but the parties of each level must work together to support each others actions. At the macro level changes need to be made to the overall economic situations faced by third world countries. There is a great need to change the structural causes that limit third world development. Structural adjustment policies., uneven balance of power. insufficient democratization and decentralization and inadequate planning and policy formulation have all contributed to the poor growth of third world countries. At the meso level, state and city planning needs to become more concerned with people's needs. In policy formulation and implementation there is also a need to look more to the people for support and suggestion. There needs to be a greater co-ordination between the support and services provided by the state, city, and that of non2 governmental organizations. The issue of urban migration also needs to be addressed as cities are increasingly unable to support their growing populations. At the micro level the focus shifts from structural to a more hands on and immediate approach. Here is where the need to deal with family conflict, parental illness. death or imprisonment, the lack of shelter and degraded community and environmental conditions is satisfied (Blanc 381 ). It is action at the community or family level that has the greatest immediate impact on the people. Action at the international, national, state and city level looks more towards a long-term solution to the problem without looking at the immediate needs. By working closely with the people to satisfy their immediate needs. micro level organizations also gain the insight and information needed by the meso and macro level organizations to proceed with their work. The following seeks to explain how one organization accomplishes this microlevel work. I spent ten weeks (from January-March 1997) working with the Programa del Muchacho Trabajador (PMT) in Quito, Ecuador. More specifically I worked at CAE (Centro de Atenci6n Especializada) in the bus station, where approximately 500 children work. This project is about CAE and the work they do.
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