Becoming a Champion: Jimmy's Story

By Rodrigo Barraza García | May 10, 2018 | The Americas | Freedom from Violence & Exploitation, Youth Empowerment

Thirteen-year-old Jimmy spent much of his childhood sorting through trash to survive. Today he is writing a new story for his life.

His name is Jaime Alexander. But everyone knows him as Jimmy.

Jimmy is 13 years old and lives in Chimalhuacán in the State of Mexico, one of the most dangerous places in the country. And one of the many places in the world where being a child is almost a death sentence.  In Chimalhuacán, you only have two choices: either you grow fast or you die fast.

Poverty and lack of opportunities marked Jimmy’s life from the moment of his birth. Inadequate medical care left Jimmy in a state of permanent deafness. Unable to communicate with the world, he had to invent his own.

Today, Jimmy (right) enjoys spending time with friends.

So the first years of Jimmy’s life went by. At a very young age, he worked as a waste picker to support his family. Living among the garbage. Feared. Isolated. Without any education or health care. Just surviving…

But he knew he was more than that.

And then, Jimmy met APIC UTOPIA.

This organization, founded in 2013, works to offer children and young people of Chimalhuacan what their context denies them: an opportunity.

Children at APIC Utopia practice the martial art of Lima Lama.

Jimmy started taking lessons in Lima Lama, a martial art that taught him how to commit, how to have discipline, how to work in a team. He learned that his body is his own, that his life is his own, and that both can always be improved.

In Jimmy's self portrait, he wears his uniform and the medal of a champion.

He learned to communicate with other children. Other children learned not to fear him just for being different. And now Jimmy has many friends. He talks, plays, and laughs with them. He is heard.

He also learned how to read, to write, to multiply. He began to participate in tournaments. And he began to win them.

The happiest day of Jimmy’s life was when he received his official Lima Lama uniform.

Everyone cried. Everyone applauded. And that is because everyone knew that Jimmy had learned his most important lesson: that he had the right to dream. And now, he is a champion.

Organizations like APIC UTOPIA, work with children like Jimmy every day, helping them to shape their own futures and realize their dreams. We feel very proud to support them.

Alianza para la Integración Comunitaria UTOPIA A.C. (APIC UTOPIA) promotes a healthy childhood for children and youth in and around Mexico City through academic and extracurricular activities that improve participants’ educational attainment, well-being, and chances for success.

GFC supports APIC UTOPIA’s weekly literacy and math workshops for children and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and trash-picking communities, as well as complementary sports activities and personal development workshops on topics such as violence, self-esteem, parent-child relationships, and self-improvement.


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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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