The Foundation Pro Niños de la Calle, through its Family Care Program is currently working with 21 families who have children at risk of living on the streets, giving support to parents and caregivers in developing skills to solve their own problems, get closer to their children and offer them better living conditions. In this Program the Foundation also offers comprehensive care for children so they can handle those situations that put them at risk of living on the streets.
In this article, Pro Niños wants to share the story of Sandra and her family, as told by her. In order to protect her identity, all the names mentioned here are fictitious.
My name is Sandra and I am 34 years old. I enjoy cooking and as a matter of fact, I recently set up a food stand. I would also like to finish my studies, because I only completed primary school, but I want to improve myself and learn more.
I have three children; the oldest, Javier, is 10 years old. It has taken me a lot of work to handle his learning, because of what he has in his little head, in his neurons. It is hard for me to teach him, but I don’t give up, I keep insisting. My other child is Fernando, he is seven years old. He is affectionate and very attentive to his siblings. Ceci the youngest is three years old; she is always talking and talking. The three of them are very special to me.
I decided to approach Pro Niños, first because of my three brothers, the Foundation had supported two of them, who were living on the street and on drugs, but then later my brothers no longer wanted help from them; so the Foundation began working with my son Javier. I was afraid for him, because he always asks me why my brothers sleep on the street. When I reprimand Javier for something, he tells me that he no longer wants to live at home, that he’s going to live in the streets. I then try and explain to him that the street is not a place for anyone, although it is very difficult for me to find the right words for him to understand.
When I was young, it was very difficult to see that my brothers were living on the street because my father took them with him; I was the only one who got away from the situation because I went to live with my grandmother. When my father died, I tried to take care of my brothers, but I couldn’t. This is still painful for me, and I don’t want my child to get into the same situation.
Estelita, who is an educator at Pro Niños, works with me and my children to learn how to stay close and work as a family. I’ve learned to talk with my children and to understand how they feel.
With the support of Pro Niños we’ve had many changes. My son Javier has greatly improved at school thanks to the special attention that he has had from the psychologist and with the help of medication. The foundation also granted him a scholarship and with this he has become more self-sufficient.
What I want now is to learn more and to know how I can get ahead and move forward with my family. Not everyone is born knowing how to be parents; you have to grow along with your children.