When the game changes the look: the other side of the Sename
While the country looks from the critical eyes of the work of the National Service of Minors (Sename), Fundación Fútbol Más takes charge of the need to generate improvements in the childhood of Chile. This is the story of the beginning of our work at CREAD Alborada, in La Araucanía. Here is the story of five hours in which the word “childhood” and “play” make more sense than ever.
Everything started on a rainy day in May, in Temuco. The smell of wood coming from the chimneys in La Araucanía is usually pleasant for those who come from another region. It is 8 o’clock in the morning and it still does not dawn in the city. The entrance to the Center of Specialized Repair of Direct Administration (CREAD) Alborada del Sename is ready to receive the guests. It is May 14 and the 36 children of the center are ready to receive the authorities, journalists and guests. It’s the day that Fútbol Más Residencias becomes a reality.
The history of Fútbol Más and the children of Sename begins in September 2017, when a group of teenagers and young people from CREAD Pudahuel are part of a pilot socio-sporting workshop, an instance in which through workshops where the protagonist is football and the game, children learn skills and values as important to their lives as teamwork, respect, responsibility and coexistence. Many skills that already have, but that by their contexts had not been able to enhance.
The day we all play
It is 10 o’clock in the morning and the CREAD reception is already full of authorities. The Seremis of Justice, Social Development, Sport, a Police man and several more adults fill the gymnasium of CREAD Alborada. “Thanks for being here, we believe that what is happening in this center will change the lives of the girls and boys,” says the master of ceremonies, who gives the “official go” to the inauguration of the workshops of Fútbol Más Residences, program that is no longer a pilot, but a reality. A physical education teacher and a psychologist, through the game, will try to teach skills and values to girls and boys so that they can use them today and especially tomorrow, when they have to face a new life at the age of 18, outside of walls of the center.
The most important moment is lived when the Seremi, the invited adults and the Police stand up from their seats and come in to play with the children. A ball and a hula hoop are the tool that unites them. They work as a team and play. In a moment the tie and polished shoes of the authorities are transformed into running shoes. The magic happens. Children smile and adults smile with them.
The event ends and the children ask if they are invited to the cocktail party. “Seriously uncle. That bacán. We never go to cocktails, “says little Camilo. “Of course yes, today you are the most important”, answers one of the facilitators of Fútbol Más.
When the feet run through CREAD
It is one o’clock in the afternoon and there is only the football team More coming from Santiago. “We want to thank you for what we saw. Children are really the best thermometer. They know when someone wants them. They know and feel when someone speaks to them from affection, which is something that is always missing. They understand it and give themselves with confidence when they feel they are important for someone, “says one of CREAD Alborada’s caregivers.
We toured the houses that make up the center, it’s time for lunch. First we go to the girls. We go to his house and they greet us. It is the moment of the meal and the aroma of the carbonada receives and stimulates our smell. They greet and joke. “Hey man, you really do not want to eat with us,” says Jenny, one of them.
Then, in the home of the older children, the dynamics repeat themselves. Lunch, carbonada, salad of lettuce, cucumber and bread accompany the table. The TV on and everyone’s shoes in a corner receive us. “That bacán was today the game with adults. After playing, I had four glasses of coffee in the cocktail, “says Rodrigo.
At the end of the route we arrive at the last house, where the youngest ones are, from 6 years old. In it girls and boys coexist. One of them, Roberto, plays with a computer keyboard that hits the floor. He laughs and he is happy. He is restless. “He is the smallest and most unruly, he always steals the hearts of those who come,” says one of the center’s caregivers.
It’s 2 in the afternoon and it’s time to say goodbye. Outside the CREAD it has stopped raining and the clouds continue to cover the Temuco sky. The smell of firewood is still present in the street, in front of CREAD Alborada. It is impossible to forget the smell of carbon, the smile of girls and boys, but it is not impossible to think that this smile will continue to be present from Monday to Friday in their lives. They know, their caretakers also, that every day, from Monday to Friday, just at 5 o’clock in the afternoon when they arrive at their football workshop. More will have the opportunity to play, to run after a ball, and to dream that in every kick and in every game they are learning that life is hard today, but that it can be much harder tomorrow when they are there, outside.
* In this story the identity of the children has been changed for the protection of their rights.
* The arrival of Fundación Fútbol Más and its Residencias program is possible thanks to the support and financing of Fundacíón Gras.
9 de July de 2019
4 de April de 2019