How it would be if dream became reality …
The Amanecer International Center is a beautiful place surrounded by dramatic mountains and planted with vibrant-coloured flowers. There is a constant buzz of bird and insect life in the air – and now it is full of human life too.
It’s only 2pm but already there is a football match happening on the pitch next to the big hall, played by boys and girls who look like their lives depend on this game. Sitting in the shade, a group of teenagers seem to be working on a gigantic painting or collage and another group is engaged in an animated discussion.
We follow a couple of youngsters down one of the paths leading to a residential area and see them knock on a door. It is opened by a smiling elderly woman who invites them in. The young people seem at home there and set about making coffee before getting out a pack of cards and sitting down with the woman to play. It’s a game with a lot of laughter and obvious affection.
To find out what is going on here, we wonder further downhill to a group of kiosks with thatched rooves and discover a woman energetically sweeping the floor of one of them while talking loudly to her colleague who is preparing food in a nearby hut.
She introduces herself as Monica Ramirez, the Amanecer Foundation’s director and explains that this is the After School programme. As its name suggests, it is designed to cater for children after their school day – which for most children begins at 7am and ends at midday, leaving them the rest of the day free.
“There was nothing for children to do after school in this area,” says Monica. “So this programme fills a gap and provides children with stimulation, opportunities to play games and sports, support with school work and a nutritious snack.”
By constructively occupying their time, they are kept off the streets, out of gangs, off drugs and out of the danger of precocious sexual relationships. At the same time, the young people are encouraged and supported to form friendships with the older residents of Amanecer who are living in isolation, and to spend time in an exchange of fun, experience and learning, to the benefit of both parties.
This is a fictional account of how the Amanecer International Centre would be if its current plans became reality. To find out about its actual situation, click here.