Sueniños operates in San Cristobal de Las Casas, in the state of Chiapas, one of the poorest regions in southern Mexico. The city is located in the highlands at over 2200m above sea level. Founded in 1528 by the Spaniards, around 200,000 people live here today.
The beautiful center has many churches, colorful markets and old colonial-style buildings. The streets are characterized by the brightly colored houses and the traditional costumes of the indigenous Mayan population. The charm of the city acts as a magnet for travelers from all over the world who visit "el pueblo mágico", the magical village in the mountains, all year round.
But the idyllic appearance is deceptive. There are many children who earn their living on the street, for example as a salesman or shoeshine boy.
On the outskirts lie the slums of San Cristóbal, where many families have settled. They were driven out of their villages for political and religious reasons, especially in the mid-1990s. Some of them moved to the city, hoping for a better life.
In many of these "colonias" (settlements) the infrastructure is still missing. In most there are no paved roads and often no sewers, no running water. Many families live in desolate wooden huts, with leaky roofs and no solid ground. They have no bathroom, no toilet and no showers. The hygienic conditions are often catastrophic. In many of the huts, cooking is done by the open fire, which is the cause of respiratory diseases and a risk of accidents.
Although Chiapas is the richest state in terms of natural and mineral resources, the part of people who are poor, indigenous, or feminine can not participate in wealth. Unfortunately, the current socio-political system denies these individuals access to education, health facilities, and thus hundreds of thousands of children and adolescents access to a dignified life.