You are here:

The chance to be a child again

Jenny and her grandmother Maria Rosa

Jenny’s family

Jenny lives with her grandmother, who is the most important person in her life. Her mother died when Jenny was four and her father abandoned them before she was born.

Sometimes Jenny dreams of her mother. “I had a dream that my mum was outside the cabin. She spoke to me and said she would take me to a good place. To heaven.”

It is a tough existence for a seven-year-old girl. “I do everything I can for her and I want to continue with it until I die,” says Jenny’s grandmother, Maria Rosa. “It is not easy. Before, my husband helped me with all the work, but now I live alone”, she adds.

Their home is a small mud hut. It is here that Jenny and her grandmother sleep and eat, cooking on an open fire. The fire is a source of warmth, but the smoke makes it hard to breathe sometimes, especially at night, Jenny explains. Her bed is in the same room as the fire and the smoke bothers her when she tries to sleep.

Jenny on her way home after collecting water in the Andes

Difficult lives

The smoky hut has also made her grandmother ill. Maria Rosa, 79, is seriously ill and very worried about her granddaughter. “What will happen when I die? Who will take care of Jenny?” she asks.

Since her grandmother is sick, Jenny has to do all the chores. Every day she gets up at six o'clock to boil water so they can both wash. She then makes soup.

After school she washes their clothes, takes the animals to pasture and fetches water. Unfortunately, the water is often dirty and carries diseases.

Jenny also makes the dinner too. Usually they have soup, made from home-grown vegetables. But once a week they have meat – if money allows.

Thursdays are Jenny’s least favourite day of the week. This is market day, which means her grandmother must go to buy and sell goods, leaving Jenny alone. Being on her own frightens Jenny.

Jenny learning at the Plan-supported school she attends

Our work

Supporting people who lives in isolated and rural communities forms an important part of our work.

Plan International’s long-term development assistance projects are active in the area where Jenny lives – and in many other villages in the Andes.

Local partners enable us to closely monitor children who are particularly vulnerable – children like Jenny.

support our work

and help children into education