Opening doors for youth with martial arts

By Maria Creamer | May 30, 2019 | The Americas | Education, Freedom from Violence & Exploitation, Gender Equity, Youth Empowerment

In Chimalhuacán, Mexico, a backdrop of dusty roads, roaming dogs, and a state landfill surrounds ApIC Utopia A.C.’s martial arts class. In synchronization, children and youth throw punches and high kicks as their coach and curious spectators looks on.

Extracurricular activities for children are not common in communities like Chimalhuacán, Mexico, but ApIC Utopia A.C. is working to change that.

Young boy from the community watching other youth practice martial arts.

We join Chimalhuacán native Jesús Villalobos, Utopia’s Executive Director, as he zigs and zags his forest green Fiat from bustling Mexico City to this remote community. We arrive at the bottom of a hill and directly across from a state landfill; he gears his car into park. “We’re here,” he says.

Jesús and his son lead us up the hill and towards a large group of children and youth participating in a martial arts lesson. This is what we see:

ApIC Utopia A.C. promotes a healthy childhood for children and youth in and around Mexico City. Through academic and extracurricular activities, like martial arts, the organization aims to improve the quality of available education, as well as young people’s wellbeing and chances for success.

“We work with adolescent boys and girls, in conditions of extreme poverty, and our main objective is to give these youth distinct opportunities and experiences outside of what they typically live through. And, on their own, they realize they can create a better world for everyone,” Jesús says.

At GFC, we’re so inspired by Jesús and the way that Utopia’s work is building confidence and new opportunities for young people in Chimalhuacán.

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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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