CIMA is located in the district of Cieneguilla, one of the few districts that are not fully urbanized in the south-eastern part of Lima.
CIMA is made up of several buildings that include 6 houses with the capacity to accommodate 96 children and adolescents, the administrative area, leveling classrooms, workshops, three soccer fields, a recreation area, and a farm with animals.
CIMA also has access to a rented land of 12,000 square meters, which is used for agriculture and whose products are used for consumption by the household and the farm animals.
The CIMA home is located in an area quite far from Lima, not very accessible. However, this isolation is an advantage because it allows children to live in the heart of nature, and completely separate themselves from the urban environment to which they are accustomed, which favors their rehabilitation.
In 1989, the Canadian educator Jean-Louis LEBEL, at the suggestion of a priest from the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles, began an investigation aimed at knowing the problems of children and adolescents living on the street, in order to find out if he could contribute to the problem. This research began in Cuzco, where contacts were established with households and institutions to learn about methodological proposals, and it continued in Lima. At that time there were very few state or private shelters to serve the population of children and adolescents in street situations.
In the month of December 1989, Jean-Louis LEBEL began work in the streets and squares of downtown Lima, with Plaza San Martín being one of the key points. As a result of this experience, it was concluded that there was an immediate need to offer an alternative to children and adolescents.
“ I went every day, mostly at night because during the day the children were scattered. Starting at seven at night, children, young adolescents and adults from the street began to gather in the southwestern part of the square. Until twelve or one o’clock they dedicated themselves to theft and the consumption of Terokal or basic cocaine paste. I couldn’t intervene to stop them because they had “thrown” me out of the square. They respected me and knew that I did not share their activities. It was a taboo subject between us. If a child dared to take out his bag and if an adult (from the street) noticed, he would give him a resounding slap saying: “Respect the father.”
From the beginning it was a rule for me not to bring them clothes, food or whatever. Other support groups helped them, but I thought that giving them help right there was making it difficult for them to get off the street. My intention was to earn their trust and friendship and then open a center to welcome them. It seemed clear to me that it was necessary to get them out of there in order to really help them.”
Thus came the idea of providing children and adolescents with a home to live in. Without a formulated plan, a house was rented in the center of Lima. It was the beginning of the open house-home. The fundamental principle was based on the voluntary admission of the child or adolescent and the preparation of a rehabilitation proposal based on their needs.
In the month of June 1990, the first child was housed and the Center for the Integration of Abandoned Minors – CIMA was legally created on August 14, 1990.
At the beginning, the reception capacity was 8 children and adolescents. Gradually, the staff was increased with psychologists and social workers, according to the need.
In the month of September 1991, all the children and adolescents were moved to a new place donated by Engineer Federico Jahncke, located in Huarangal, Cieneguilla district. Little by little the number of residents increased, until reaching 60 children and adolescents. Likewise, the offer of workshops proposed to children was expanded and the number of tutors was doubled.
In 1996, the residents moved to another piece of land, also located in Cieneguilla, where the CIMA home continues to function to this day. Together with the growth of the home, a formalization process was developed, through the incorporation of personnel on the payroll in 2005 and the adoption of various internal documents (personnel code, internal regulations, organization and functions manual).