Supporting Mexico’s children during the pandemic

24 Nov, 2020

To help our Changemakers in these extraordinary times, Family for Every Child has created a Coronavirus Response Fund, supported by donations from our amazing supporters. 22 of our Changemaker organisations have been able to access this fund to help them provide the appropriate support for the communities they serve. Countries and governments around the world have varied in their approach to combating coronavirus, meaning that the need for services and the way they can be delivered has varied by location. All our Changemakers have local expertise, meaning they can develop a response that’s appropriate to their context.

One of Family’s Changemakers to benefit from the fund is JUCONI in Mexico. JUCONI provides support to prevent and heal the consequences of domestic violence, working with youth and families living in extreme poverty and those who have been living on the street. JUCONI provides direct help to 350 children every year, and 80% of those who participate in the JUCONI programme have been reintegrated into society through long-term personalised care and therapeutic interventions.

With the Mexican Government reporting a significant increase in domestic violence during lockdown, JUCONI’s services are a lifeline for the families they work with. There are 11 boys in JUCONI’s residential care home, Casa JUCONI, who are staying in the home rather than returning to their families during the holidays to avoid the risk of infection. In Casa de Jóvenes, JUCONI’s residential care for adolescent males, routines and daily activities have been changed. Work training is now conducted virtually to avoid any external visits. There’s also a bedroom equipped to accommodate any resident who needs to be quarantined.

As one boy in JUCONI’s care explains: “We know that we should not go outside because we can catch the virus, but we have what we need to stay well. We have activities every day; we have workshops, we dance and we play.”

Before JUCONI had to go into lockdown, their team provided information to their community about coronavirus, including the symptoms and preventative measures such as social distancing and hand washing. Once it became necessary to close the day centre, therapeutic work moved from being delivered face-to-face to a new virtual approach by phone and using WhatsApp.

Home visits would usually be scheduled for a certain time and day, and these sessions now take place by phone instead. Keeping the schedule the same, even though the session is over the phone instead of in-person, means that the process is consistent and predictable for families. During these sessions, families are also kept up to date about JUCONI’s coronavirus precautions. If families need more support than their scheduled appointments, this can be provided. In exceptional emergency cases, it may be possible to have a face-to-face session at the JUCONI day centre.

Family sessions, monthly planning and attendance reports are all still in place but completed virtually. Families have been provided with tools to help children express their emotions, including breathing exercise videos. JUCONI’s educators have also been calling families to provide academic support, and have developed innovative ways to help teenagers, such as establishing a virtual reading room to share and read books in.

JUCONI usually delivers a direct care programme, so adapting to lockdown circumstances has required a very different way of working. Their expert knowledge of the communities they serve has enabled them to adapt and continue offering their vital services to families at a time when it may be needed more than ever.

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