The Issue: drug addiction in managua
The World Bank estimates that 90 percent of street children in Central America sniff glue. The glue, originally used by shoemakers and now commonly used by street children, is made of two chemicals, benzene and toluene, both of which have addictive properties. This drug stimulates the nervous system and produces a ‘high’ that lasts 2-3 hours and serves as outlet to the terrible circumstances & environment they live in. The drug has been shown to have a significant negative impact on mental development and the respiratory system.
Glue is widely identified as a gateway drug to more dangerous and addictive drugs as well as effectively preventing the user from participating in school, developing social networks and integrating and functioning as a member of the greater society.
Our local partner in Nicaragua, Los Quinchos, provides outreach, detox and rehabilitation services for these at risk youth. The experiences from this program highlighted the need for a mechanism to provide for emotional healing, teamwork, camaraderie and self-belief and pride for the participants during the latter stages of the recovery.
Our Response: Youth SOccer tournament
In 2012, Avanse (formerly Charity4LIFE), in collaboration with our local partner in Nicaragua, Los Quinchos, began to support an annual soccer league providing access to sports and recreation to 500 kids annually. The league sends one important message, “no to drugs and yes to sports.”
The soccer league is made up of teams of current and former street kids who play alongside and against regular children. The opportunity for this interaction helps alleviate the social stigma of street kids and has been instrumental in lasting friendships among the children. The healthy competition and sense of belonging and team work instills enormous pride and provides an invaluable sense of self-respect and personal pride. The tournament is used as a tool to improve the communicative, organizational and social skills of current and former street kids
Avanse’s annual funding provides the uniforms, shoes, shin pads and other needed gear for eleven teams of street kids. It also provides funding for the logistics and needs of the entire camp, from the soccer balls to the half-time refreshments, transport for the teams as well as the final trophies & awards.