As you must know, Latin American cities are awash with children who cannot go home, who spend all their days and nights on the street. The act of pushing one’s young children out onto the street (usually caused by the step-father figure with the mother’s tearful acquiescence) has exploded into a world crisis. And nowhere is it so bad as in Latin America - of the world’s 100 million homeless children 40 million of them live in the violent cities of Latin America. This cruel alternative is now so common that it is almost socially acceptable in some societies
But don’t tell that to the children who get abandoned....
We have a sporting proposition we would like to put to them. Because we are not rich and cannot buy or build housing on a scale that would help many, nor employ social workers to act as surrogate parents (both things we are trying to persuade cities and states to do) - we offer them a short term solution; something less than ideal, but more than what they have now.
We go to the villages and contact the best single mothers we can find. Actually, it is to them we make our sporting proposition: “We will sponsor you and your children for so much a month if you will enlarge your family to accommodate four of our homeless children from the city.” (this number can vary depending on the circumstances).
We then try to surround this family with all manner of support - visits from our friends, clothes, help in starting a cottage industry (if they’re up to it), help in dealing with local and regional support opportunities, schools, housing and as much human warmth as we can bring to them.
This is not the solution Latin America has been waiting for to this enormous social problem, but it is the best we can come up with as an immediate and affordable way to help many of the innocent victims of this madness: who won’t be able to wait for the big solution.
Imagine: you are a young child. You have reached the age of awareness and what you are aware of is that you are alone on a pavement in a city, hungry and almost naked. What will you do? - the big people who pass by in their hard shoes do not look friendly, they do not see you as an object of affection, they see you as a problem; a stray cat in a city already over run by stray cats. They do not stoop to pick you up, do not help. There are other children, some of them will become your friends: all of them will compete with you for survival. There are policemen, some of them will hunt you at night. If they find you, they will kill you