Through the national fund Chile Compromiso de Todos, the non-profit organisation will be able to reach two Sename residences in the commune of Hualpén in the Biobío Region, impacting 45 children and young people.
Since 2017, Fútbol Más Foundation has been working in Sename residences with the aim of contributing to the protection and restitution of the rights of children and young people who have suffered situations of vulnerability. It does so by using play and sport as a strategy for their development, with football being the main learning tool. In addition to placing special emphasis on coexistence within the residences, they seek to involve the entire surrounding community in order to achieve more significant results. Through their socio-sports methodology, this is how they have worked to turn the fields of these homes into safe spaces for children.
For Gustavo Riquelme, Fútbol Más Foundation’s Regional Coordinator in Biobío, the socio-sports methodology, by enhancing skills through play, facilitates the learning that is intended to be achieved. “It is much easier for a child to acquire knowledge, because it has a cognitive, experiential and behavioural impact, that is, the child feels good playing, exercises and at the same time expresses an emotion. Thus, the learning is anchored in his or her brain,” he says. This learning is much more revealing in children living in residential care “because their bonding experiences have been traumatic, and our programme is based on bonding through play,” says the organisation’s sociologist.
The work is carried out by a physical education teacher who has an impact from the field, together with a professional from the social area who carries out the follow-up. They are in charge of accompanying, encouraging and containing the children and young people inside the residences. The organisation’s team uses the spaces within the centres, holding socio-sports workshops from Monday to Friday, in which they work on topics such as children’s rights, assertive expression of emotions, healthy coexistence, safe use of public spaces, diversity, sport and gender, affectivity and sexuality, among others. By being present in the daily dynamics of the children, the Foundation’s professionals fulfil the role of guarantors of rights.
2021 Programme in the Biobío Region
The first experiences of Fútbol Más Foundation in residences started in the Specialised Repair Centres of Direct Administration (CREAD), specifically in CREAD Pudahuel in the Metropolitan Region and CREAD Alborada in La Araucanía, both with the support of Sentido Foundation and Gras Foundation, respectively. Today, thanks to national funds, two residences in the Biobío Region will witness this innovative methodology that is also applied in schools and neighbourhoods.
The Casa Central and Ciudad del Niño residences, of the Fundación Ciudad del Niño Ricardo Espinoza, located in the commune of Hualpén, will benefit from the participation of Fútbol Más this year, financed by the Chile Compromiso de Todos fund. A total of 45 children and young people, from 5 to 17 years old, will be impacted by the programme, which starts in June and will run until December.
The 2021 Plan includes the organisation of social and sports workshops four times a week. Also outreach activities, so that children and young people can connect with other institutions that guarantee their rights in the region, as well as providing them with meaningful experiences for their development. It includes support in stress management for caregivers and professionals in the residences, through self-care sessions focused on sport. Lastly, it also includes the implementation of the game board Todo es Cancha (Everything can be a Playground), a playful and participatory platform that seeks to strengthen the contents of the resilience curriculum through a board game in which both children and tutors participate.
This year, the Foundation wants to focus on linking children and young people with the environment. As they put it, “we plan to carry out activities such as visits to museums and important public spaces in the city, as well as providing them with opportunities for contact with nature and finding inspiration in it to regulate their emotions. All these activities will also allow us to relate to each other in a better way,” says Gustavo Riquelme.
With these projects, Fútbol Más Foundation hopes to make a contribution and have an impact on the lives of children and young people, as well as on Sename’s educators and caregivers. In sum, encouraging a new approach to intervene with children who have experienced situations of vulnerability and to demonstrate that play is a powerful strategy to repair and guarantee their rights.