Hello, I’m Giovanni, I’m 18 years old, I come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I want to show you what I do, my home and how I live. Come on in!
Today we are in a place which is very special for us because it’s the apartment of a young man who has been part of Casa Alianza’s programme for more than seven years. We are visiting him and we are happy to have you here. Casa Alianza has been working in Mexico for 30 years. It’s part of an international organisation whose mission is to deal with abandonment. Unfortunately, some of the migration, for the different causes it occurs, is part of this abandonment in which adolescents find themselves The care model tends to deal with all these needs from the moment we find them.
In the case of unaccompanied children from other countries, it is very important to apply this model with its last phase, to really give them a tool with which they can remain in this country, and which makes them really feel part of this country, so they know they can work for this country and never again feel like strangers in a place. So this model gives them the tools to really start an independent life of their own. Well, this is my dining room. Here is where I eat when I get out of work. And this is my fridge, here I have my stuff, my food, I have my stuff.
I am learning how to cook but I am not very good at it yet.
This is my bike. I don’t like to take public transportation. So I decided to buy a bike. And to go to work, I go by bike. Besides, it’s much healthier. So it’s great. And this is my tiny kitchen. Here is where I cook. Here is my stove, here I wash my dishes, here I have my towels and my mops. I have everything. And let’s go to the fun part of my house which is my room. This is– this is my bed, I sleep here, it’s quite comfortable. Here is where my clothes are. Here are my coats, sweaters and everything.
More than just covering the basic needs of these young people with clothes, food and a place to live it is necessary to establish contact with the person and their needs. It’s like going deeper and finding what it is that is needed, because obviously covering those basic needs is the fastest and easiest, but coming to an understanding of the person, finding what it is that will make this person feel significant in this country, what it is that will make them feel safe and welcome, I think that needs a longer process and it is where I think the challenge lies, and where we have to invest most efforts.
Because the success this young person or the institution who wants to support them, will manage to achieve in anything else depends on this process. The foundation, with the purpose to insert them in a society in which they can be self-sufficient, financially and most of all emotionally, gives them the opportunity to rent a place at their own expense. Today we are visiting the house of one of the young people who prepared himself to get to this phase. Within the foundation, I coordinate the programme of independent life, and I am in charge of the children’s process to enable their successful social inclusion, promoting their social abilities and preparing them for independent life.
Together with a team of two other people, we work with the children through workshops that prepare them for their job search. We also prepare them to insert them in some training, so they can start saving money to cover all these costs. It is very important. It is an important step toward adult life because now they can take responsibility for themselves. So all the accompaniment the foundation gives them, as well as the monitoring it does, makes the young people feel safer about their undertaking. Living alone is not easy for them.
In the residential phases, they have been living together with a group of friends and with staff that look after them, and in this moment, in this phase, they are now practically alone. “Alone” meaning that they are the ones in charge of their daily activities. They will cook for themselves, even if it’s getting late, they’ll see they have to eat, if they don’t have food left, and so on. It’s very important because we are in constant communication with them, to see how they are doing. See how they are doing, what is difficult for them, so we can orient them and listen to them so they don’t feel alone in this life change that they are experiencing.
Well, I am going to explain to you more or less the process that you have to go through to become independent from the foundation. For starters, the foundation supports you until you are 18 years of age. Right now, I am 18 years old. But for you to get this privilege, because I really see it is a great privilege, to get here and become independent while still receiving the support of the foundation, one; you have to have a formal job, that they give to you they look for a job for you.
And you have to gather some kind of savings that they request that they request you to have, to be able to buy your dining room, your TV, all of that, and with those savings, well, you’ll be able to buy all of that. And then you come here. Really, I have felt rather comfortable. Arriving here has been impressive because when you get here they still offer support because they offer, they still give you medical support, they still give you medical support, they give you pills, they give you medication if you need it. And something I think is very important is the psychological area, because this is a drastic change and because you have eventually become used to…
For example, in my case, I was in the foundation for many years, I was there about six years. That drastic change, to start from nowhere and be able to suddenly become independent. It is very difficult. And it hits you psychologically very hard. Because it’s not the same to get here and, well, you don’t see anyone. Because I was used to coming home and seeing everyone, playing, dancing, and all of that. And now I get home and no, I get home and there is no one. I have to cook for myself, and all of that.
And that’s exactly what this area is for, so you can get used to all of this gradually, because it’s a change that, man, it changes a lot. And also, every 15 days they come to check on me, to see if I’m alright, if I have food, if I have water, if I have electricity, if I’m living well, and if my home is clean. What else? Well, really, I think that’s all they do, but I think it’s a lot. I can’t ask for more, so, well… that is all! Thank you.