Welcome! Inti is a community-based organisation located in the Bolivian city of Sucre and dedicated to working with, and improving the lives of the working children of Sucre and their families. Inti is not an NGO, but a private enterprise that evolved organically from a desire to help the working children of Sucre.
Inti is a magazine sold by working children aged 7 to 14 years in order to supplement their family income and provide a means to stop working on the streets. The magazine is partly written and illustrated by the children themselves, activities that not only encourage learning and self-expression, but which are critical to raising the self-esteem of the children. In addition, Inti employs two Bolivian university students from poor families who were once working children themselves. They write for the magazine to gain useful work skills and to help pay for their education, their achievements in reaching university are an inspiration for everyone at Inti.
Inti’s mission is threefold
Keeping working children in school
Inti magazine is sold by working children to supplement their family income so that they can remain in school, and helps them afford school materials such as books, pens and paper, school clothes, and pays for transport to and from school.
Providing childhood opportunities for working children
Donations to Inti help pay for recreational activities for the children, many of whom never get the opportunity to participate in normal childhood activities, such as swimming at the local pool or trips to the countryside.
Supporting the health and well-being of working children
Donations to Inti also help pay for medical and dental treatment that the children would otherwise not be able to afford. Inti also provides the families with some foodstuffs, especially meat and fruit which is critical for physical development but rarely eaten by the children because it is too expensive.
For more information about Donating or Volunteering with Inti see How to help
Who does Inti work with?
Like the majority of Bolivian children, the children Inti works with attend school for four hours per day. If they work in the mornings they attend school in the afternoon and vice-versa. They usually come from large families, and often the father is absent, either working in another city or country, or having simply abandoned the mother. This means the mother finds it difficult or impossible to feed and clothe the children, or pay for their school equipment with the little she might earn from cooking, cleaning or working in the market. Selling Inti helps these families financially and most importantly gives the children life opportunities that they would otherwise be denied.
Most of the children supported by Inti can be grouped under UNICEF’s definition of “children on the street”. Children on the street are those who have a tendency to work on the street during the day but who return to a home or dwelling at night. This definition fails to paint the full picture of the lives of most Inti children; the vast majority have several siblings and only one parent, growing up in an environment where their father has abandoned the family and where they are expected to fulfil that role.
Inti was founded in 2009 by Philomena Winstanley. Originally from the United Kingdom, but now a permanent resident in Bolivia, Philly has, until 2014, volunteered her time as editor of Inti. We have recently appointed a new editor, Juana, who will continue the fantastic work that Philly has so successfully established.
The magazine has three salaried part-time Bolivian staff members. Two of these are students from poor families attending University in Sucre. Working for Inti helps support their studies by providing a small salary and gives them work experience on the magazine. One other Bolivian staff member generates advertising revenue from local businesses to support Inti’s work.
Inti is also supported by foreign volunteers. While volunteers help organise recreational activities, their main role is to accompany and assist the Inti children when they are selling the magazine. This latter activity is vital, especially when dealing with foreign tourists, who all-too-often are jaded and cynical about being approached by street children.
For more information on donating or volunteering at Inti see How to help
How does Inti work?
The Inti model is a mixture of donations, magazine sales and advertising revenue generated from local businesses. This means Inti is not reliant on a single source of revenue, making the magazine more sustainable going forward and allows Inti to continue to support individual working children in the long-term.
Currently, Inti is published every two months and 1000 copies of the magazine are printed with each edition. The magazine is sold for 3 bolivianos (approximately US$0.45), of which half goes directly to the Inti children. The other half covers the cost of designing and publishing the magazine, paying for recreational activities, medical and dental costs and foodstuffs for the children and their families.
It is our objective to give a greater percentage of the 3 bolivianos for each magazine sold directly to the Inti children and their families. To be able do this will require Inti to raise more funds through donations and advertising to cover the full cost of publishing the magazine.
If you would like to help the working children of Sucre by supporting Inti please see How to help
Volunteers largely run Inti, and with only three part-time salaried members of staff our overheads are very small. This ensures donations go directly to supporting the working children of Sucre rather than in administrative costs.
Reaching more working children
There are many more working children in Sucre than Inti is able to help, but we have ambitious plans to expand the number of young people we work with over the next three years.
Currently, every copy of Inti sells out before the next edition is printed. Initially we plan to expand our work by doubling Inti’s print run to 2000 copies each edition, allowing us to better support those children we already work with and to support more working children and their families.
If you would like to support Inti’s development please see How to help
We are always looking for opportunities to partner with like-minded groups and individuals, whether domestic or international organisations inorder to expand our work. We already have some partnerships that, while not providing direct financial support, provide opportunities for the Inti children.