Zaida Guerra and her son, Juan Andres Conrado, 5, study the indigenous Anu language in their home in Laguna de Sinamaica, a lagoon in Paez Municipality in the north-western state of Zulia. Very few young people among the 3,500 Anu who live in the area speak the language. Their numbers, as well as their culture and language, are declining due to poverty, lack of education and environmental pollution that is eroding the ecosystem that sustains them. UNICEF supports informal education and youth leadership programmes that promote Anu language, identity and rights. [#5 IN SEQUENCE OF SIX]
In 2006 in Venezuela, the standard of living has improved for many children, thanks in large part to economic growth and revenues from the oil industry. Poverty, chronic malnutrition and infant mortality have decreased since 2003, and new legislation supports the extension of basic services to excluded populations. Nevertheless, many communities, particularly indigenous populations and the urban poor, continue to be marginalized socially and economically. Among indigenous people, many factors threaten their basic rights and survival: ecosystem fragility, language loss and low school attendance rates, especially among adolescent girls. UNICEF supports the training of teachers and community leaders to promote traditional languages and customs within indigenous communities. In the Wayuu community of north-western Zulia State, UNICEF has trained youth producers to broadcast radio programming featuring Wayuu culture. UNICEF also supports birth registration and basic health services, such as breastfeeding education and immunization.