Working in the neediest neighbourhoods, Fundación Carvajal has initiated a new sports-based educational programme in an underprivileged district at one end of the national railway.
Trains rattle through the industrial city of Buenaventura, a tough port town on Colombia’s west coast. Despite its name - ‘good fortune’ - life is difficult for youth in this city, which reports record amounts of violence and crime.
Drawing on international resources, and now the support of the Trafigura Foundation, Carvajal has run extensive social and community development programmes in Colombia for over 50 years. The association has recently added a soccer component to its various youth-based initiatives, ‘Golazo’ (‘goal’ in Spanish), a scheme that promotes and reinforces strong, healthy values through sports.
This is a much-needed initiative in a difficult city where adolescents are often recruited into gangs and crime. Golazo offers an alternative, healthy, sports-led community in the form of after-school activities and home support via parents groups, too.
As well as keeping young kids off the streets and out of reach of crime and violence, once a month, the young teens have also access to a psychologist-led workshop where they are encouraged to discuss and re-frame their values.
The ultimate aim of the project is to train children and teenagers in football three times a week, for two hours. The notion of respect, teamwork and camaraderie can be upheld at home, as parents are offered a skills training programme that covers topics such as discipline without violence.