Arte Pro works with children in extreme vulnerability such as those born in prison or other life-threatening conditions.
Different studies show that there is a high possibility for children and youth in vulnerable situations to repeat aggressive behaviors, violence, abuse, abandonment, and crime, among others in the future. The literature about early interventions shows that this situation can be changed: early intervention in non-cognitive areas has a positive impact over the academic achievement, professional success and reduction of crime in the lives of these children. Additionally it has been demonstrated that including art in our lives has a positive effect on our capacity of introspection, anxiety, depression, and health.
According to UN sources there are as many as 150 million street children in the world today. Chased from home by violence, drug and alcohol abuse, the death of a parent, family conflict, war, natural disaster, or simply socio-economic collapse, many destitute children are forced to eke out a living on the streets—scavenging, begging, dwelling in the slums and polluted cities of the developing world.
Poverty is often defined by one-dimensional measures, such as income. But no one indicator alone can capture the multiple aspects that constitute poverty. Multidimensional poverty is made up of several factors that constitute poor people’s experience of deprivation – such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standard, lack of income (as one of several factors considered), disempowerment, poor quality of work and threat from violence. In 2010, of the 39.7 million children and youth in Mexico, 53.8% (21.4 million) were in multidimensional poverty. There are approximately 1,937,538 homeless children in Mexico from ages 0 to 14, which represents 22% of the population.
THE PENITENTIARY CONTEXT
Children born in penitentiaries in Mexico live with the rest of the prison population in an environment permeated by violence, drugs, and abuse, where they are exposed to conditions that violate the Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners by the United Nations. Everyday, their human rights are violated. There are no public programs that focus on the needs of this vulnerable group.
According to statistics from DIF and UNICEF, there are 20,000 sexually exploited children and youth in Mexico. Sixty-seven percent of women living in downtown Mexico City have worked as prostitutes since their childhood. At least 95% of the men and women that are sexually exploited have a history of reported physical, sexual, and psychological violence. Eighty-eight percent of underage women in this situation have at least three children.
CONSEQUENCES AND EFFECTS
Learning processes during childhood are fundamental for development and have long term effects. What happens during childhood will have lifelong consequences that affect the child’s education, behaviour, crime incidence, and professional success.
Children facing vulnerability and the violation of their human rights, and that grow in settings that impede their integral development, will experience issues related to discrimination, exclusion, and social margination throughout their lives. Domestic violence, poverty, and the lack of knowledge about their human rights raises their chances of other rights being violated.
Exposure to these types of environments can increase the risk of developing antisocial or criminal tendencies in their adult life. (Murray, 2205).
Most of these children live in poverty, which limits and reduces their educational opportunities and exposes them to hostile, aggressive, and unstable conditions that hinder them from developing social skills. (Seymour, C. 2001)
Severe difficulties with social interaction (relationship with others, school work, role playing, development of behavior patterns), along with lack of self-control and self-regulation, are constant problems for these groups.
These children experiment negative emotional consequences, such as fear, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of abandonment, solitude, and guilt. The risk of drug, alcohol, and other addictions rises considerably.
Proper development and education of these children is of essential to counteract many of the socio economic problems within our societies.
Some of our sources:
World Prison Brief / Mexico
National System for Integral Family Development – DIF
National Institute of Statistics and Geography – INEGI