Since the establishment of Aros de Esperanza in January 2008, the basketball project has quickly grown from a project in just one neighbourhood in Medellín to a project in eight neighbourhoods, reaching in total over four hundred and fifty girls.
Medellín is divided in sixteen Communities. A river divides Medellín in two parts; on both sides of the river lay eight Communities.
Currently Aros de Esperanza works in seven Communities of Medellín (in each Community in one neighbourhood) and also in one neighbourhood of the adjacent municipality Bello. In 2007 Guido namely decided for safety reasons to go and live in Bello, and no longer in Medellín.
Next to Guido's neighbourhood in Bello lies a very poor neighbourhood consisting of many wooden shacks (see also photos below). Therefore it was decided to also include this neighbourhood in the project of Aros de Esperanza.
The names of our eight neighbourhoods are the following:
- neighbourhood Blanquizal: Community San Javier — programme started on January 15, 2008
- neighbourhood Efe Gómez: Community 12 de Octubre — programme started on January 29, 2008
- neighbourhood Cristo Rey: Community Guayabal — programme started on February 11, 2008 (ended Dec 2012)
- neighbourhood Hato Viejo: Community Bello — programme started on May 1, 2008
- neighbourhood San Pedro: Community Aranjuez — programme started on July 7, 2009
- neighbourhood Popular Uno: Community Popular — programme started on April 4, 2010
- neighbourhood 8 de Marzo: Community Buenos Aires — programme started on May 28, 2010
- neighbourhood El Jardín: Community Manrique — programme started on October 25, 2011
- neighbourhood Aures: Community Robledo — programme started on February 14 2013
Overview locations of our neighbourhoods:
- Community Popular (1) - Popular 1
- Community Manrique (3) - El Jardín
- Community Aranjuez (4) - San Pedro
- Community Doce de Octubre (6) - Efe Gómez
- Community Robledo (7) - Aures
- Community Buenos Aires (9) - 8 de Marzo
- Community San Javier (13) - Blanquizal
- Community Guayabal (15) - Cristo Rey
- Neighbourhood Hato Viejo in Bello lies next to Castilla (5)
Please see below a summary (including photos) of several of our neighbourhoods and basketball fields where we work:
Neighbourhood Blanquizal: this neighbourhood is a mix of small little wooden houses and a ghetto of socially subsidised flats. In the neighbourhood Blanquizal namely live many persons who have fled from the country side because of the violence between guerrillas and anti-guerrilla movements. These persons have been re-located in the social flats built by the Government. For these residencies they pay a relatively low amount in rent. However, the homes are very small while many of the fled families consist of many persons, which lead to all kinds of internal problems within the families.
Neighbourhood Blanquizal - first neighbourhood where we started
Basketball field neighbourhood Blanquizal - the birthplace of Aros de Esperanza!
Neighbourhood Efe Gómez: this neighbourhood lies high in the mountain tops of Medellín. Facing Efe Gómez (at the same height) at the other side of the valley lies our neighbourhood Popular 1 .
Basketball field neighbourhood Efe Gómez
Neighbourhood Efe Gómez
As in all our neighbourhoods, there are also always many gang members and marihuana users hanging around our basketball field in the neighbourhood Efe Gómez. Around 6pm, when it is getting dark, this group of youth in Efe Gómez will quickly grow into a group of 40 to 50 persons. The marihuana smoke which then enters the field is unbearable!
Training session neighbourhood Efe Gómez. In the stands the always present marihuana users.
Neighbourhood Hato Viejo: this neighbourhood lies in the municipality of Bello, residence of Guido and also the domicile of our office. The municipality of Bello is located directly next to Medellín. On the photo below you can see the neighbourhood where Guido lives (houses far right at the top). His neighbourhood lies only 50 metres from a very poor neighbourhood with a lot of humble houses.
Neighbourhood Hato Viejo
Many houses in Hato Viejo (made up of wooden planks and iron plates) are built on a slope. With every rain shower the danger exist that these houses will be destroyed by a mud avalanche. The house in the left top corner of the photo below is located in the street where Guido lives.
For the training sessions of Hato Viejo the basketball field of Guido's neighbourhood is being used, which lies just 80 metres from the house and office.
Neighbourhood Popular 1: this neighbourhood is always plagued by many gang conflicts due to which we already had to halt our programme there on several occasions. For example, our official begin in this neighbourhood we even had to postpone by ten months due to all the violence!
Neighbourhood Popular 1
Due to safety reasons we train in the neighbourhood Popular 1 behind the high walls of school. But even at this location our players still have to dive away behind the stand every now and then when stray bullets come flying over due to a gang conflict.
Neighbourhood 8 de Marzo: this neighbourhood is a very poor neighbourhood located high in the mountains of Medellín. Almost all our players live there in small wooden houses. The neighbourhood was founded in the nineties by a group of women who were tired of all the ongoing violence in the central neighbourhoods of Medellín. The name 8 de Marzo means in English March 8, which is the date of the International Women's Day. So it is very appropriate that Aros de Esperanza is working in this neighbourhood!
Neighbourhood 8 de Marzo
The neighbourhood 8 de Marzo does not have a genuine basketball field but just a field located in the middle of the road, which also steeply declines from one side to the other. During training sessions and league matches we shut off the street with a tape, so that cars first have to stop before they are allowed to pass through.
Unfortunately by now the gang violence has also become a big problem in the neighbourhood 8 de Marzo. For example, from July to October 2011 we had to use a small sandy field without basketball backboards and rings because our usual basketball field was located right in the middle of the line of fire of two rival gangs.
More photos of all our neighbourhoods you can find in the photo albums and news articles of our website.