To use football as a vehicle of social inclusion for children and youth at risk in Rosario, Argentina; using as much as possible existing resources and building from a 'collective construction' point of view in where many parties come together to achieve a common objective. The children not only get football trainings, but education, nutrition and health programs.
The project is truly grass-root and solutions are coming from the local community, making it sustanaible in the long term.
The children are living in a context of social exclusion due to their situation of poverty, dysfunctional families where violence reigns, unemployment, addictions, abuses and school desertion. And in that context they are the most vulnerable, having serious problems communicate. We aims at promoting the bonds among them and to develop capacities that can help them to succeed in life with a holistic program that tackles all these problems.
The concept stays the same as usual: to use sports as a tool to tackle an issue(s). The actual innovation is in the HOW.
When everyone is talking about impacting thousands of children with (few)specific programs, we decide to focus and impact children with a battery of programs and an integrated plan for all their needs and issues. We use football as a vehicle for education, social inclusion, health education, etc.
We parnerted with the local public school and make sure the children have a proper education, and besides sports we provide with nutrition programs, medical assistance, elearning and new media, education support, psychologhical help, microcredits for the families, sexual education, drugs addiction prevention, dance & acrobatics, arts, etc. All these programs are based on a criteria of development and emporwement of the community, instead of short team and inmediaty assistance.
Overall the children spend 4 hours every day after school in our programs. We believe the social change is inlaid in each person in Argentina, and the solutions should come from the communities themselves. That's why our programs are all developed and executed by local people who has the real knowledge of the issues.
Also, we inspire the whole society to get involved trough volunteering actions and partnerships with public, private and non-profit sectors. We are very active and dinamic when it comes to the use of social media and online campaigns to raise awareness and share the stories of the children.
Trough sports we teach the values of commitment, tolerance, respect for each other, team work, honesty and a 'working' culture.
Since our start in 2008 with this program, 40 children have became agents of social change, improving themselves in every area and spreading that to the rest of the family, the school and the community. Besides the 40 children directly impacted, we have reached 350 relatives, the school universe (390 students/teachers) and around 2500 citizen of the city that have participated in events, awareness campaign and actively became ambassadors of our cause (which is everyone's cause). We also got attention from the local and national media what helped us to spread our message, we've won a prize for 'social ambassadors' and we have been declared of public interest by the Parliament of Rosario City.
From the children point of view, today they have an incredible selfesteem that allows them to be fair when judging their own behaviour and mistakes. They do learn from mistakes now, they are not afraid of making them. By embracing the values of sports (respect for each other, teamwork, effort, loyalty and tolerance), they became agents of social change for their families and community. We have children of 12 years old teaching to read and write to their own parents! They developed a strong feeling of belonging, growing their commitment and understanding with the programs in general.
Also, we were able to identify and take action on health issues when needed. The children are motivated and generating the change!
At the moment there are no other organisations competing or collaborating with similar projects. However, in order to achieve our challenge of escalating the project, we aim to articulate with other NGOs in the area. This is a challenging part in the Argentinean context, and we are currently working on the creation of a ‘social league’ with other organisations, with the aim of achieving collaboration in the methodologies and achieve a better impact.