Chimbote is a port city of about 700,000 inhabitants in northern Peru. After the earthquake in 1970, that caused 80,000 deaths, the population moved to the south, to an area that is now an independent municipality, although contiguous. This is how Nuevo Chimbote was born.
The town was founded as a fishing village and in 1940 numbered only 2,400 inhabitants. Since then it has grown dramatically and in 1970 its inhabitants totaled 170,000. In 2005 official registration data totaled 350,000 inhabitants. It is estimated that the actual number is double that amount!The majority of people live in extended suburban areas in shacks built with poles and mattings, don’t have a permanent job and live hand-to-mouth: getting up in the morning and looking for a way to earn something to eat.
Young people of the suburbs of Chimbote are the main victims of this deplorable situation. Often they don’t go to school or leave it before finishing primary school. Out of desperation and poverty, many are forced from their childhood to work however they can to help their families. To scrape together 2 or 3 euros in a day they have to beg, shine shoes, sell candies or wash car windows.
The street is a dangerous environment, degraded and violent. Very soon young people come in contact with drugs - at first sniffing glue and then cocaine, which is widespread. Fatally, they learn to live a life of survival through stealing or getting into criminal gangs that control the neighborhoods.