The aim of this programme is to help 120 children – 70 boys and 50 girls – from under-resourced communities in Guayaquil to live happier, healthier and safer lives.
The level of violence within these communities continues to be a challenge as well as the use of psychoactive drugs by children as young as 6, 7 and 8 years of age. In these neighbourhoods, children are used to wandering the streets at different times of the day and night and can also be tempted into micro-trafficking as a way to earn “easy” money. These issues often lead to more crime, robberies, gang activity etc. and children, families and communities live in constant fear for their safety.
There is a lack of sheltered playgrounds within these communities and the JUCONI Ecuador programme has developed child-friendly safe areas where children are able to take part in sport, games, have fun and develop healthy relationships with their peers. Trained JUCONI youth workers promote the practice of sport at it is seen as contributing to improving self-control and strengthening positive values such as solidarity, tolerance, discipline, teamwork, self-confidence and personal development.
At the same time, supporting parents is also seen as essential in preventing children from being at risk, so trained JUCONI counsellors offer guidance and support to a total of 104 parents and guardians. Weekly meetings are held to build on their knowledge about individual health and well-being, parenting and to help strengthen their social skills.