You may have been wondering who these ‘Children at High Risk’ are and what the title we give them means. Before I started working here I was actually one of you; wondering who these children are!
Basically they are children in big families living under very impoverished conditions while often being physically and mentally mistreated. Currently most of the children at the home can be placed in this category. To be more specific, here an example of an alumni of the Hogar de Niños:
Fabio* is one of 13 children. Currently his parents are separated. His father is an alcoholic and used to beat his mother as well as him and his brothers and sisters when he got back from work. When Fabio was only 10 years old, his mother finally gathers the courage to leave her husband and have a fresh start. To support the family she started selling vegetables and fruits in the streets. As the income from this job was never enough to support all 13 children, the kids had to start working as soon as they could. Fabio began working at a bakery at the age of 15. He only worked here for a short time thought as the hard work ruined his fragile hands. A man he knew started talking to him about living in a home, where everything would be provided for him and where he could learn useful skills for his future. At first Fabio was very suspicious of this offer and did not want to leave his mother, but after a test run at the home he decided to stay. Soon after two of his brothers also joined the Hogar de Niños. He says he really enjoyed it here and finds what he learned to be of great use to him now. It has helped him set his path for a better future, a future that he is able to control. The kids were taken from a life in poverty with barely enough to eat and a few pieces of scrap above their head, to a place where they are given the power to form their own future.
I am currently giving English classes to Fabio. He is very enthusiastic and hard working in order to reach his goal of being able to fluently speak English. If he had not joined the Hogar de Niños the current outcome would have been very unlikely, and he would probably be selling vegetables under the burning sun on the dangerous and dirty streets of Santa Ana like many of the other youth that never got the opportunities he did.
*The name has been altered to insure the subjects personal privacy.
Day 20 – Santa Ana