Our Bogota, Colombia Chapter works tirelessly to reach out to their community, helping those in need – the displaced, the poor, children working in prostitution, children of women working as sexual street workers, children with parents in jail, and those with medical needs.
One of their most impressive and unique programs involves the Homeless World Cup, a tournament that strives to “promote social integration through sports and to create inventive strategies in fighting homelessness and poverty worldwide.”
The Bogota, Columbia Chapter is recognized by the Homeless World Cup as the official organizers of the Colombian female team. They first participated in 2008 in Melbourne and are currently preparing to compete in Brazil, in September 2010. PTPI World Headquarters was pleased to present the Bogota, Colombia Chapter with a $1,000 matching grant to assist their efforts.
Here are some of the players and their stories, in their own words:
(You can view more photos of the team on PTPI’s Facebook Page.)
Angie, 24 years old
I live alone because I have no family. I have family in prison and I have addiction to alcohol. My life has been very difficult. We have never had a place to live. My dad left us many years ago. Since then we have endured hunger. By walking on the street, I became an alcoholic and drug addict. I thought life had no meaning without a family. My family was separated and I know nothing about them. I do whatever work to survive. As I have no fixed place to sleep, sometimes I have to sleep on the streets. Sometimes friends give me inn. With the help of the Homeless World Cup, I want to organize my life. I like to play football because I have emotional relief.
Flor, 27 years old
I have a mother, stepfather and sister of 14 years. I’ve had family in prison for theft and drugs. I have problems with alcohol. When I was 5 years old my mom was burned with a gas stove. My mom was hospitalized six months. My mom’s face was like a monster and because of that my dad left us. Hence from the eight years I have worked in cleaning houses, selling candies and newspapers in the streets and in recent years in construction. My brothers grew up and left and I have had to work in anything to help my mom. Football I’ve always liked I’d like to be something with the help of football. I want to get a good job to help my family and others. Thanks Homeless World Cup for thinking of us.
Paola, 18 years old
My mom lived with us in a little poor house with tiles and floor of clay. When my brothers had three to five years, my dad left us for another woman. To survive my mother sold food on the streets. I have not been able to study because I have been working with my sister in garbage recycling in the streets. My brother works washing cars. Also we work selling cheap and used crafts, magazines and newspapers on the streets. Football is my passion. My aspiration to continue with soccer and study and to get a good job and hopefully leave the country and meet other people who really want help and not use me. Thanks so much Homeless World Cup.
Andrea, 20 years old
I live in a slum, with my mother, who nine years ago suffered a stroke. Because of the stroke, I and my three brothers (19, 16 and 11 years) were separated with different families. My main difficulty is the lack of employment. I survive through recycling materials. I hope after the Homeless World Cup to receive some instruction and to get some employment. Soccer is my main hobby to have relief of the stress and difficulties. I like to play in a forward position. After the Homeless World Cup I hope to have the opportunity to help my mother and my three brothers
Heiny, 28 years old
We arrived in Bogota from other region of Colombia . My father abandoned our family. As we had no money or place to live, I was given as a servant. I live in the slums with my son of 9 years old. I have survived by working in bars and restaurants as a waitress and prostitute. I have had problems with alcohol I sometimes earn some income working in the market places. I know nothing about the father of my child. I play soccer in defense position. The Homeless World Cup is the hope for myself and my son.
Andreina, 22 years old
My family are some uncles who live in a slum, they allow me to have a bed in a corner of the house. From small I lived with relatives suffering humiliations and mistreatments. When I was 14 years old I was forced to work to support my younger sister. Until now the only thing that I know about my mother is that she lives in some place in Venezuela. I have addiction to alcohol. I have never had the chance to go to a rehabilitation center. I have survived in the streets by doing anything to get some income. I like to play football as goalkeeper. After the Homeless World Cup I expect to get some chance to work.
Rosemary, 25 years old
My family come from other region of Colombia. We lived under a tile roof supported by some bricks and blocks. My mother was deceived and brought to Bogota to be abused by her employers. My dad and my stepmother are 70 years old. My most critical moment was the loss of my mother, after suffering a terrible and painful illness. I started working from 13 years old as a waitress in a restaurant and I was forced to work as prostitute because of the environment around me. I left the house after my mother’s death, because my dad drunkenness. I have lived on the streets of down town Bogota several times since 16 years old. I was once detained at a police station because of theft. I have worked in many things. Sometimes recycling of garbage, other times selling candy and old magazines in the streets. I have addiction problems. I have been putting on the Homeless World Cup all my aspirations, energy and dreams to change my life. Sometime I get some income working as an referee in small championships at the slums of the city and sometimes working in the market places. I like movies and play as soccer defense. Thanks to the Homeless World Cup for thinking of my situation. I hope that through this sport I have the chance to know people to help me.