Since 2015 we have been helping provide victims of sexual abuse and trafficking in Guatemala a safe and secure place to play football.
The Guatemala project is our first dedicated girls’ project. It operates with La Alianza, a local charity which works with young girls and mothers who have been victims of sexual violence or sexual trafficking by providing a safe, residential home for them where they are provided with support, counselling and other rehabilitation services. Given the crimes committed against the girls, ongoing legal processes and their vulnerability safe and secure locations to play were very difficult to find.
The project provides access to safe and secure locations where the girls can play football as well as secure transport to such locations. The project also provides the girls with regular coaching and the opportunity to play games against other residential home. Since its inception the project has proven to be an enormous success and made huge contributions to improving the physical and mental health of the many girls who have been involved in the project. Nearly all girls participating in the project have recorded improvements to their health, confidence and, most importantly, their happiness. Their words also bear witness to the importance of the project (* for security reasons names are not published):
- A* (15 years old) – “I do not get angry and I share with girls who talk with me. It stops me being sad and lonely”
- A* (15 years old) – “Playing distracts me, so I do not think about what makes me feel sad”
- B* (16 years old) – “Pressure sometimes is unbearable and football calms me”
- Z* (15 years old) – “It helps me feel better, going out to train makes me happy because I’m able to feel free. It helps me handle my emotions.”
- K* (16 years old) – “It helps me develop myself. I’m learning to live with other and tolerate people because I’m intolerant…Sometimes I am stressed but when I get to play football it helps me”
- S* (16 years old) – “When I am angry I take it out on the ball and so do the other girls. It stops you doing bad things”
The girls have had incredibly traumatic and difficult lives and we feel privileged that regardless of their pass, through our supporter, we can help improve their future.