About us > History

PETISOS began in 2002 as an initiative to eradicate the child labor that was occurring in the garbage dump of San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Since its inception, it has primarily focused upon correcting the circumstances that compel children to join the workforce too early. For many of the children that we work with, wading through piles of trash on a daily basis and searching for objects or materials of worth was truly a form of day-to-day survival. The income generated from scavenging in the garbage dump provided an immediate solution to alleviate monetary pressures for the children and their families, and although many parents were aware of the work that their children were doing, there appeared to be no other viable alternatives. Over time, children collecting materials from the garbage dump to sell or reuse came to be a normalized and socially-accepted part of life in Bariloche.



PETISOS begins its work in the garbage dump of Bariloche, working alongside the “Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (www.cedha.org.ar).” “Campamento Público Los Peques,” is opened as a space dedicated to providing a safe haven for the youngest child laborers.


PETISOS expands its programs, enlisting the support and collaboration of the Office of Social Action of Bariloche’s municipal government and the Bariloche Recycling Association.


30 child laborers are enrolled and participating in Project PETISOS


PETISOS opens Casita Abierta (‘Open House’) in Barrio 34 Hectárias, one of the more impoverished neighborhoods of the city. The community center serves as a space for child laborers to come for classes, workshops and activities. Within a few months, Casita Abierta expands to also provide programs and opportunities for former child laborers who are no longer working in the garbage dump.

By the end of 2005, 120 child laborers are participating in one or more of PETISOS’ programs.


Casita Abierta expands its programs into the community, serving as a space not only for child laborers, but also as a place for siblings, friends, families and other community members to come together. Activities include classes, workshops, games, and community presentations about children’s rights.


PETISOS opens a second community center in Barrio Virgen Misioneras called Casita Mercedes Sosa. Like Casita Abierta, this community center provides a space for classes, workshops, games and community presentations.


PETISOS carries out its first social impact assessment.

PETISOS creates FODI, an alliance of civil society organizations dedicated toward protecting and promoting children’s rights in Bariloche.

175 children are enrolled and participating in PETISOS’ programs


Proyecto Verde begins, an environmental education workshop for formal child laborers. The children recycle and reuse materials that formerly were seen as objects of monetary worth for artistic projects.


Fundación PETISOS officially becomes an independent organization, having previously operated with the support of Fundación Gente Nueva. PETISOS is invited to participed in the Global Child Labour Conference in The Hague


PETISOS begins its first microenterprise initiatives

Foro Patagónico is created as a regional alliance of civil society organizations to promote and protect children’s rights throughout Patagonia.