REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – The Integral Development of the Family System (Sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, DIF) has launched a new program, “Our Children, Our Future” aimed at providing support for at least 1,000 children who lost one or both parents due to violence in Tamaulipas.

Mariana Gómez de Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, president of the DIF, said many children are living alone because they have no one care for them.

“Today we are looking to bring them into the social, academic, cultural and sports programs that are available,” said Gómez.

DIF started looking for these children and their families a few months back.

“So far we have a rough census about orphans whose ages range between six and ten years old,” Gómez told Rio Grande Guardian during an interview in Reynosa.

She said “Our Children, Our Future” is a program created for those children who have been directly affected by violence in the state, and who are now orphans living with a family member.

“This is why we want to be the support to grandparents, uncles, older brothers, who have been in charge of taking care of these children,” Gomez said. “We are thinking about the urgent need for attention, and we want to support them so they will be able to continue studying and become good adults.”

She also said, “we can’t ignore these children and teenagers who are in need of finding a different pathway from the one they see right now. They need to see some light at the end of the tunnel, and some hope that they can continue growing into good grown men and women.”

Even though there are different programs oriented to fight delinquency and insecurity, most of the time children are left on a side, Gomez said. Particularly children who are the victims of a war between adults and that sometimes – because of what they see – choose to take the wrong path.

One of DIF’s goals is to improve the living conditions of orphans affected by crime, to aid family, emotional, social and affective development, as well as provide comprehensive care to ensure their well-being, and with this, rebuild their social fabric.

During the first phase of the program, attention will be provided for children and teenagers that have already been located because of the services provided by a team composed of psychologists, academicians, lawyers and social workers. These groups will continue looking for other children living under the same circumstances, she said.

“We can’t deny this reality and forget about the hundreds of children who are in desperate need of finding a different way to live, where they can seek opportunities to continue and be good adults and support their state,” Gómez said.

Gómez indicated that through the first stage of “Our Children, Our Future”, the program will attend to more than 1,000 children, providing them with scholarships, uniforms, legal and psychological support, an opportunity to attend a “school of forgiveness”, and care sessions to mourn and grieve over their losses and to reinforce a feeling of hope.