Soccer and school for 1500 Colombian kids at risk

 
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Soccer in Altos de Cazuca
Soccer in Altos de Cazuca

The soccer school of Tiempo dde Juego, which started to grow in 2006, took from the beginning two special characteristics: on one hand, it used a very deferential methodology, in which competition gave way to cooperation; on the other hand, it gave the role of teachers to the very same kids who participated in it, selected naturally for their qualities and their personalities. As a result of these two principles, the community of Cazucá started to look upon this group of kids (who played football in mixed sides) in a certain light: kids who sat down in a circle before and after each game to define the rules, who did not use referees even for a tournament and most curiously of all, followed the instructions of a child equal or younger in age than them, whom they even called “teacher”.

Football for peace (fútbol por la paz) was founded 20 years ago in the communities of Medellín, as a direct result of the death of Andrés Escobar. Students of the Universidad de Antioquia (Alejandro Arenas, Agustín Ortíz and Jürgent Griesbeck) decided to enter Comuna 13, on finding out that the killer of said footballer was from the same community. There, they organised a game between the most dangerous and well-known gangs in all of Medellín, even managing to persuade them to go without arms in order to reach an agreement for harmony, transforming football into the most effective means of reconciling of their respective differences and problems. From then on, football games were played in three steps according to this methodology: first, agreements for harmony were reached in relation to their behaviour and attitude on the football pitch as well as technical agreements changing the rules, again orientated towards peace, from which the banning of sliding challenges and the absence of a referee have become a key part of the model; secondly, the game itself was played, with the presence of women on the football pitch and also the peculiarity that a woman would open the scoring in each half; finally, the players would be reunited for a look back on the game, evaluating compliance with the agreements for harmony which gave points/goals to each player and his/her team – depending on this, scorers were changed and so were the winners.

This methodology has provided the world with a very simple way of making the dreams of many boys and girls a reality by allowing them to play football and enjoy themselves whilst at the same time educating them. This simple model, adopted by Tiempo de Juego since its foundation, has demonstrated a fun and educational way of altering the rules of the sport as well as promoting harmony on the playing fields; conveying values; encouraging social inclusion; and transforming the often harmful realities that the children face in their own communities.

Nowadays, the soccer schools of Tiempo de Juego gather together more than 1000 kids form Cazucá, Santa Marta and Cartagena, who have found in soccer an amazing opportunity to make their dreams come to reality.

Soccer changes lives
Soccer changes lives
Youth leaders of Tiempo de Juego
Youth leaders of Tiempo de Juego
Participants in Nicaragua
Participants in Nicaragua

Tiempo de Juego has been invited to participate in a U.S. Department of State sports diplomacy exchange called Sports United. This event is organized and developed by StreetFootballWorld, a team of non-profit organizations which is globally recognized by institutions such as FIFA and UEFA. This event consists on a “learning tour” involving six network member organizations from the U.S, Nicaragua and Colombia.

A young leader from Tiempo de Juego was selected travel to Nicaragua on January 14th in order to learn how his peers tackle diverse community issues in different contexts, giving him new innovative ideas to face different social challenges. This exchange will provide partner organizations with an opportunity to share expertise in-depth, apply learning from other’s experiences, and ultimately achieve greater impact in their local communities.

Fundación Tiempo de Juego will be hosting the group in Colombia from January 19th until January 24th. The tour ends in June with an exchange that will take place in the United States

Follow our travelers! Share in their experiences and stories:

www.facebook.com/fundaciontiempodejuego

Tiempo de Juego
Tiempo de Juego's young leader in Nicaragua
Organization participants at Nicaragua
Organization participants at Nicaragua
Tiempo de Juego
Tiempo de Juego's sports uniform

On december 20th 2014, Tiempo de Juego celebrated Christmas with all the children and youths that are part of the organization. During this day, and thanks to sponsors such as Ernst and Young, the Bank of Tokyo and GlobalGiving donors, Tiempo de Juego produced and handed in more than 700 sports uniforms to the participants. These uniforms do not only promote children’s constant attendance to the different sports trainings, but they also reinforce children’s sense of belonging to the organization.  The whole community was invited to celebrate with our team members the fact that the organization is getting stronger with every year that goes through. Thanks to the community’s and GlobalGiving donors, in 2014 Tiempo de Juego received several awards and achieved different goals such as:

 

  • TDJ was recognized as the National Sport Organization of the Year by the journal El Espectador
  • Tiempo de Juego received awards from the Ashoka Foundation and the Fundación Ángel Escobar
  • Tiempo de Juego was selected by the FIFA to participate in the Football for Hope Festival which took place in Rio de Janeiro in July 2014th. Organizations of 100 countries around the world applied to this program and, according to their social merits and community working experience, only 32 were chosen to make part of this event.
  • The children and youth that participated in the “Cazucá Dreams On” project organized the I Festival Cazucá Dreams. Around 350 people from different backgrounds attended this cultural event.
  • In April 2014, Tiempo de Juego inaugurated its own recording and production center, “Labzucá”, where youth from the community are now being formed in journalism, audiovisual production and music.
  • Three of Tiempo de Juego’s cultural leaders in the area of music have created their own band (called 12 Pasos Flow) and they are being hired by other entities that value them for their leadership and technical abilities.
  • Fonseca, a well-known national and regional singer, visited Tiempo de Juego and recorded a song with 12 Pasos Flow, bringing positive visibility to Cazucá and changing the imaginaries of what it means to be a resident of this community. To watch the video song please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075lfxJOdUM.

 

Two of Alianza
Two of Alianza's kids!

Paige is GlobalGiving's Champion for Customer Bliss in our office in Washington, DC. During a trip to Colombia, she had the chance to visit some of GlobalGiving's projects. Here is her postcard from the field.

Visiting Cartagena, it’s easy to never see outside the walled, beautiful old city.  But this is a small part of a larger story in this ancient, sprawling city. Olaya is a slum about 30 minutes from the old city and home to some of Cartagena’s most dangerous “bandas” or gangs. One minute we’re driving through high rises and high-end hotels, the next we’ve swerved south and east along the lagoon and down a couple dirt roads to Tiempo de Juegos’ offices just outside the main road.

Tiempo de Juego in Cartagena is slightly different set-up than their program in Cazuca, Bogotá. To make an even more impressive difference in the community they have partnered with Colombianitos to create Alianza - a collaborative effort to help teach the children of Olaya the importance of mutual respect, education, and thinking towards the future.

We arrived at the offices after practices had already finished for the day, but a couple of the kids were still hanging out around the office in their jerseys, kicking around a soccer ball. Leon, the Cartagena program leader, and I chatted about where the program is going. Alianza runs a variety of programs including table tennis, education programs, and after school tutoring. Education is all important to the programs – in order to participate, kids have to have a certificate from their school saying they attend – and Leon’s pride in this showed when some of the kids who are now attending vocational schools showed up. He introduced them proudly saying “this is why we do our work.”

After our chat, we wander through the neighborhood to visit the dusty but brightly painted field where the practices happen for the students in the mornings and late afternoons. Alianza’s name had been painted on the wall, and a small tree gives some much needed shade from the intense afternoon heat. After watching the kids kick around the ball a bit, we wander back to the office. I turned to one of the kids and asked,” Are you in school?”

“Yes”

“Do you like school? What is your favorite class?”

“Yes I do! Math is my favorite class.”

All in all, Alianza and Tiempo de Juego is doing interesting and impactful work in Olaya, and giving kids a safe and fun place to learn and grow. 

Tiempo de Juego
Tiempo de Juego's football field
Meeting in the Alianza office
Meeting in the Alianza office

The young athletes of Tiempo de Juego achieved an outstanding participation in the Athletics Festival organized by the Institute for Sports and Recreations of Soacha.  The event took place on Tuesday 16th in Soacha, a municipality at the outskirts of Bogotá. Three of the children that participate weekly in Tiempo de Juego’s athletic trainings arrived in first, second and fourth place. 

William Jiménez, Regional Coordinator of Tiempo de Juego says: “With these kids, expectations are quite high. Even though most of them have just started their process with us, they have already obtained very positive results". The success of our work is not only thanks to the training per se but, especially, due to the psychological methodology that Tiempo de Juego uses in every sporting activity. This methodology has given visibility to our young athletes. Now they are not only known for their sporting skills but, also, for their strong human values. 

The outstanding results of these athletes are the consequence of Tiempo de Juego’s support, helping children run for their dreams. However, Tiempo de Juego would not have been able to continue working in vulnerable communities if it weren’t for your unconditional help, supporting us –and the children- in this surprising and enriching process.  

 

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Project Leader

Esteban Reyes

Bogota, Colombia

Where is this project located?

Map of Soccer and school for 1500 Colombian kids at risk