Children at Risk

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One of the principal characteristics of a community such as Villa Hayes is that the majority of its population has limited access to economic resources; this situation is made worse by the great number of boys and girls in many of the families, which are mostly led by women as head of household.

The average number of children per woman in the Department is 5.5, a number that is quite high considering the limitations that exist, as well as the little occupational training that adults of productive age have received.

The immediate result of this situation is the proliferation of children in the streets, who for different reasons spend the greater part of the day there, not necessarily working, exposed to the dangers present on the streets and, many times, as a pretext to not attend classes.

Since the Center constitutes an attractive and safe space for children and youth, these spend a great part of their day in its installations seeking to establish their own space. The Center has been developing a pilot project to support a group of six children, training them to carry out minor tasks through which they are able to exercise a sense of responsibility and of solidarity with their peers. It seeks to work, gradually, to strengthen self-esteem and interest in staying in the school system; many of them are already in special programs. In this way, the children's development is accompanied in an environment that is somewhat that of a "family", seeking to form them as youth who are useful to themselves as well as to society.