Resilience: the driving force for children in Mexico one year after the earthquake
On September 7th and 19th, Mexico was faced with two strong earthquakes that destroyed everything in its path, affecting in particular the communities within the states of Oaxaca, Morelos, and Mexico City. Many of them found it difficult to face a new reality, without knowing what would happen to the future of their children and communities. This was how the Fútbol Más Foundation, with the collaboration of UNICEF and the support of the FIFA Foundation, began to work on an emergency plan that would benefit hundreds of children, youth and parents of the different communities in Mexico that were affected by the earthquakes. A year after the catastrophe, children share how their resilience has helped them get ahead.
In January 2018, Fútbol Más began an intervention using the ‘Football for Emergencies’ methodology, becoming a relevant actor in the psychosocial recovery of communities affected by earthquakes in Mexico. In this way, and thanks to the support of the communities, the professionals managed to enter the different sectors to work with children and their communities through the implementation of socio-sport workshops benefiting more than 600 children.
Denisse Vyvany, coordinator of Fútbol Más Mexico in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, recalls: “When we arrived to the sector we observed that the houses were destroyed and the schools totally devastated. People were sleeping on the street and the children were very afraid.” With the arrival of Fútbol Más, the children began to get involved with the program to break their routine, without imagining that this event would change their lives. This is how they began to help them rebuild their lives, promoting the teaching of values and community work as well as enhancing resilience in both children and parents.
From San Mateo del Mar, in the state of Oaxaca, Flavia Morales and Leslie Mases, schoolmates of 9 years, share and enjoy each class with the teachers of Fútbol Más. At the beginning it was difficult to get involved because of the environment they were in, but then they understood the importance of playing despite the situation that put them there. “When the earthquake happened, I felt very sad because the houses fell. I was very afraid. But when Fútbol Más arrived we began to play and to leave our houses. We cleaned the court and painted it with our parents,” says Leslie. Flavia adds, “I feel happy because now we can go to play on the field.”
Cruz Aquino and Alejandro Jiménez also participate in Fútbol Más. Both children belong to the community of Juchitán, in the state of Oaxaca. Their participation in the workshops is something that not only benefits them but also their parents. They have managed to get ahead in order to face the new challenge of reconstructing their lives, both emotionally and physically. Now they smile together and appreciate the arrival of the program to the community. “Thanks to Fútbol Más I managed to get ahead, I feel very supported by the teachers,” says Alejandro. In the same way, Cruz comments: “Fútbol Más has changed us a lot. It has changed our way of being and that of our families. Thanks to the teachers, we have felt the change.”
And not only the children felt this change, but also the parents and teachers. “At first the children had a hard time talking about the earthquake. Over time they understood the concept of resilience and applied it in their lives. The truth is that I have seen very large changes. It fills me with joy to hear that thanks to Fútbol Más they are happier in their community,” says Denisse.
The Fútbol Más Foundation’s emergency program will continue to work with the children, training young leaders and building the autonomy of the communities of Mexico until October 31st. They will ensure the continuation of activities and commitment to children, highlighting the recovery of spaces and promoting resilience in their daily lives through sports and community participation, with the intention of making this program sustainable with community work.
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