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National partner profile: Argentina

Hecho Club Social

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Team Argentina is organised by Hecho Club Social, the street football subsidiary of Buenos Aires street paper Hecho.

HCS offers socially marginalised people the opportunity to practice sports and be part of a group three times a week, in an environment where diversity is encouraged and everyone is accepted. Their goals are for players to increase self-esteem, develop a sense of belonging, strengthen relationships, and recover a positive outlook in life.

HCS has recently entered in partnership with La Fundación Aerolíneas, Argentinian social enterprise offering affordable flights. The company’s General Manager, Mariano Recalde, expressed a firm commitment to rewarding the players who will be representing Argentina in the Homeless World Cup.

In order to promote football as a tool for social integration, HCS created the Street Soccer Urban League for Social Inclusion. They organise monthly tournaments from March to December, with participation from 30 NGOs and other organisations that work with vulnerable and homeless people. In addition to football, HCS also run a comprehensive programme that supports players and ex-players in other areas of their lives.

Working in tandem with football coaches, psychologists, social workers, and sociologists, they provide services to help participants reintegrate into society. Agreements with local schools allow players to return to education. HCS also work closely with local government authorities to ensure shelter for their players. They are currently also planning to acquire a building that will house 10 players for a period of up to one year.

When players are ready to enter employment, HCS provide character references to aid job search. Some former players are directly employed by HCS as coaches, or in their sports clothing social enterprise.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Hecho Club Social is a space that provides inclusion and integration to people at their most vulnerable. A space that they can call their own, where they can be happy, comfortable, and accepted as they are.

The football of HCS is inclusive, players are united regardless of social class, footballing ability, or social group. Everyone is welcome. HCS also stand for discipline, commitment, tolerance, solidarity, teamwork, and responsibility. By developing these qualities on the pitch, players learn to incorporate them in all other aspects of their lives.

Ultimately, HCS aim to contribute to a better Argentina that is fair and equal for all, and where everyone has the opportunity to turn their life around.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To organise and take part in more national and international tournaments

Social Inclusion

To promote non-discrimination and respect for everyone - related activities include, for example, weekly participation in the local LGBT League

Women's Programmes

To travel to Peru with the women’s team to promote the launch of the Peruvian HCS women’s street football league and to promote women’s football in general

Infrastructure Development

To build a permanent street football pitch for weekly training sessions

Additional information

Football Activities

HCS run three football sessions per week for men, two per week for women, three per week for young people, as well as monthly tournaments. They also send teams to international street football tournaments.

Team selection

HCS select a pool of candidates for their men’s and women’s teams a year prior to the Homeless World Cup and train them for a year.

Non-football services

HCS hold workshops in disease prevention, job skills, education, housing, and citizenship, and provide a wide range of social support services for participants.

Participants challenges

Participants are typically homeless, suffering from substance abuse, migrants, refugees, former prisoners, or living in poor conditions.

Country challenges

The Argentine Catholic University estimates that 11 million people live in poverty in Argentina. An additional challenge is inflation - between 2007 and 2013, prices in Argentina climbed by 337.6%, with food and beverage prices increasing by 597% (MercoPress, 2013).

Homlessness definition

The Argentinian Ministry of Social Development defines a homeless person as a person without access to housing that meets the criteria of commonly accepted human habitation. These people are forced to sleep on the street, in precarious buildings, and in emergency accommodation (Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 2008).

Homelessness Statistics

Every night, there are 15,000 reported homeless people in Buenos Aires, 4,500 of whom are children (Red Solidaria, 2013). However, there are millions of people who are "vulnerably accommodated" in slums, run-down hotels, and squats (The Guardian, 2000).

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