the communities of huarautambo and astobamba are located at an altitude of 3,600 metres in the central highlands of peru, in the pasco region. renowned for their pre-columbian archaeology, they are separated by a single inca bridge. about 150 families live there.
in 2018, thanks to funding from tinka resources, fútbol más foundation came to this place, immersed in the andes mountains, to empower the communities through play and sport.
the arrival was not easy. it is not easy to intervene or become involved in a territory with an ancestral culture. besides, both communities are characterised by a centuries-old rivalry over territorial issues. however, football brings everything together. it was the leaders of the different community boards who had to give the go-ahead to begin the intervention, which lasted a year and a half.
it began in june of the same year, with the participation of 70 children. the socio-sports workshops were held four times a week, twice a week in the huarautambo field and twice a week in the astobamba field. the first year was one of awareness and engagement of the children with the socio-sports methodology; and of the organisation, with the culture of the sector.
after the first few weeks, the children were already vibrant with the football workshops. their faces had a great smile when they saw the tutors arriving for the sessions. it was even possible to feel the hugs they gave to one another.
as they are accustomed to a climate of competitive play and conflict, the families were particularly grateful for the space provided by fútbol más. “it was a very nice intervention, we were able to see how the communities came together through football. they forgot all confrontation when the ball was in the middle. sharing the spaces helped them a lot”, says jimena chavez, social director of fútbol más foundation in peru.
in 2019, as a result of the good results, the community of san juan de yanacocha joined the project. this second period focused on the training of young leaders. it was a complete training process in which the older members of the team committed themselves to the growth of their community. throughout the year, they worked hard to participate in the national meeting of leaders and leaders that would be held in lima in the last few months. “they arranged everything for themselves to travel, they went to the plaza to sell things, even within their own communities, also when there were community meetings. they were always doing some kind of activity,” recalls jimena. as a result, around 15 young people from huarautambo, astobamba and san juan de yanacocha took part in the meeting, which was attended by more than 65 young people from all over the country, where they were able to exchange experiences and get to know different realities and cultures.
football in polleras
as a way of reclaiming the pitch as a space for all genders, women and girls from pasco stand in front of the ball wearing their polleras: long, colourful skirts representing female empowerment. culturally, skirts signify the strength of andean women, and this is what they want to bring to the pitch to redefine the space.
in fútbol más, this way of playing ball has become a tradition in the matches, much less rough than the traditional way, but with the very same meaning. “there were even times when the teachers wore skirts to break down the stigma that men can’t wear skirts. it was very interesting,” says the social director.
within the few years of intervention, everyone in the communities of huarautambo, astobamba and san juan de yanacocha learned a lot through football: to end gender stereotypes determined by male chauvinism, to value the positive in things, to unite for a common goal, but above all, to listen to and accept each other despite their differences.