Integration is a pending issue for many families in vulnerable environments in which social exclusion and poverty are endemic problems that threaten not only the present, but the future of minors living these contexts. For this reason, putting in their hands the tools to deepen their education through school reinforcement, healthy leisure alternatives or the promotion of health and hygiene initiatives is invaluable support in offering them new opportunities.
The Fundación “la Caixa”, through its CaixaProinfancia program, carries out these actions throughout the Iberian Peninsula, covering the entire Spanish territory, and Portugal. Just last year, these initiatives benefited more than 58,000 children under 35,000 families who share precisely this context of extreme vulnerability.
To start these projects, CaixaProinfancia collaborates with local entities that know the environment and the problems of each area. This is how these projects are capable of positively impact the lives of these families by attending to their particularities. This is how these young people manage to turn their expectations around and find their way.
Music and sports as ‘way out’
One of them is Munic. He is a teenager born in Sabadell, the youngest of three siblings from a family with Gambian roots. In his case, he soon made contact with the Ludo Margarita Bedós entity in this Catalan city where he found “an escape route” to a reality in which, if I had not had this option, “I would have been at my house or in the park all day”.
In his case, the relationship with music is a story of love and almost a vocation that began, however, avoiding the style that he would embrace later: trap. “I remember that my brother listened to cock fights, but I did not understand it and I even got angry and asked him to remove it,” he recalls. However, it was precisely from these sounds that he ended up finding his place thanks to a workshop “in Ludo”, as he affectionately calls this association that helped him so much: “I did a workshop there with a singer from Sabadell and we began to write songs. At the beginning, I raised issues about how I was emotionally, about my situation, and it was a ‘way out’, a way out of my problems“.” This workshop helped me a lot to know that I could use music as an escape route, it has helped me a lot “, concludes the young man.
But his time in ‘la Ludo’ was not only to get his musical vision but a way of connect with other adolescents like him and learn not only in didactics, but also in values, based on his experiences with the rest of his classmates: “It was going there and being with my friends, doing homework together, playing … a lot of activities and things that I wouldn’t have had otherwise”. “I am grateful to have been with so many different people because learning from those who are not like me has meant a lot in my life” as well.
Munic’s will makes a difference in these cases too. The willingness to learn, to progress, and to take advantage of all the opportunities that come their way also help. And of course, knowing when to ask for help, something Munic says is “brave”. In the case of this young man, another of the barriers that he has broken down with his attitude is his approach to American football, a “totally different” sport that caught his attention, among other things, because it requires “a lot of discipline”: cool, “he thought.
However, like all principles, it was difficult for him to get into the dynamic because “I didn’t know anything and it was very bad” but, far from being discouraged, it was clear to him: “I told myself that I had to improve, get on my feet and be better than yesterday”. And to learn, he also had to delegate to those who could provide him with new knowledge, “have the guts to say okay, I need help in this and in this because there is a time when you just can’t.”
A close reference for minors
This experience in sports and music, in addition to helping them to integrate and support their education, has also helped Munic to deepen his personal development, in “working on oneself, knowing where you come from, who you are and where you are going, may you never lose that essence of being yourself. ” This philosophy of life is one of the reasons why he also wanted to return part of what he received and for this reason, he is currently also a volunteer with Ludo Margarita Bedós “giving trap workshops at a school and also returning the favor, giving a service to these children.”
Munic’s story is an example for all of them. It is a close reference that exemplifies the relevance of the program developed by the “la Caixa” Foundation to help these minors. It is a challenge in which, as the entity emphasizes, a comprehensive look at the problem it addresses is implemented in order to provide educational resources and opportunities outside of school that add to the search for a better future for all of them.
It is a task in which networking also serves to reach all types of casuistry and empower these families with fewer resources through commitment, trust and collaboration to train and help in their job integration. According to data from CaixaProinfancia, 76% of the participants improve their school performance. In addition, it is also possible to involve families more in the educational processes of their children, since 78% of them increase the monitoring of tasks, attendance and participation of parents in school.
The success of these initiatives justifies their implementation and the investment that Fundación “la Caixa” dedicates year after year: in 2020 the program was endowed with 62 million euros between direct financial aid and services (educational reinforcement, free time, psychotherapeutic care, etc.) and since 2007, the year CaixaProinfancia was established, 624 million euros have been allocated to eradicate child poverty in our country.
‘Improving childhood to conquer the future: CaixaProinfancia’s plan for the most vulnerable minors’ is a content prepared by Marcas Ñ, the Branded Content section of EL ESPAÑOL, to “La Caixa” Foundation.
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