Up to 90 children live in a home that would be regarded as assigned for demolition where I have the good fortune to live: there wasn't always glass in all the windows, plastering of walls was obviously an optional extra and the stench from the dog poop in the outside play area was off-putting.
I wasn't expecting to be as affected as I was.
There are upwards of a quarter of a million street children in Mexico City.
They find themselves on the streets for a variety of reasons: their own parents can't look after them (addicts), their parents have died/been killed, they are gay, they have been sexually abused.
And once they are on the streets they run the gamut of drink and drugs, glue sniffing, prostitution. You name it - it's out there.
So this little house (there are others) is a glimmer of hope in an otherwise fairly bleak world for them. And they still manage to open their doors once a week and feed upwards of 300 or more street children who have yet to find somewhere to stay.
The average stay in the home is eight years, during which time the children will be educated and receive various therapies to cope with the traumas they have experienced. A couple of rooms have been set aside to teach them carpentry and computer programming (I had forgotten computers could look that old and clunky). The idea is that they are turned into young adults who will be able to go out into the world and make something of themselves. In some cases though, you could see bouts of glue sniffing had addled their brains and you were left wondering what would become of them.
I took a quilt for a baby and some chocolate coins for the children. It felt fairly pathetic.
I have an idea to send more quilts (at nearly eight thousand feet above sea level, it gets cold in Mexico City) so that at least every child there has something special that belongs just to them. I'm bogged down in the red tape of the mechanics of sending quilts at the moment but if I can find a way, will you help me?
I took my 11 year old daughter with me.
She made a short video.
Update: I have found a way. If you are interested in mailing a quilt to an address in the Netherlands, please let me know.