Victoria Marín is the director of Altamar, and a large part of the heart and soul of this project since she joined it in 2005. Everyone in the neighborhood knows our superheroine who goes by the name of Peque.
Peque is a teacher and has volunteered on educational projects from a young age. She moved to Malaga for love, a city where she knew nobody and it was Altamar that helped her to learn more about the place. Today she not only runs this center, she is also a friend and companion of many families who have passed through the center over the years.
If we had to summarize what Altamar is all about, we would say that it is a center which was started up by a group of women in 2005 and which has offered support and comprehensive education to almost 100 children up until now, in addition to attending to the needs of their families at risk of exclusion.
Altamar is in the Trinidad and El Perchel neighborhoods, a part of the city where thousands of people are fighting on a daily basis to survive, faced with the instability and the multiple forms of violence imposed by social exclusion.
María and her children are the beneficiaries of the project. Their time at Altamar has led to huge progress for her four children (from 16, 14, 7 and 5 years old) and for María herself. The personalized school support for the children and Peque's companionship has helped her to move beyond and even overcome the consequences of the violence she experienced due to the relationship with the father of her eldest children.
On the second floor of the Guardería San Pablo (San Pablo Childcare center), in a fundación Santa María de La Paz building out of which Altamar operates, children arrive looking forward to receiving support, a meal and lots of affection from Monday to Thursday in the afternoons. The center currently serves 44 children, from 5 to 16 years old, who come from 25 families.
The afternoons in Altamar are simple and divided into three blocks. The children first have a snack, at 5.30pm. “For some of these children this is one of the few meals a day that they are getting”. They alternate between fruit, sandwiches and sometimes baked goods. The second block consists of educational support, at 5.45pm. “The key to this is that it is personalized”, Peque reminds us. The third part is set aside for the workshops, which begin at 6.45pm. In order to run the workshops, they are supported by other associations such as the Alacena de Corralón association which holds cooking workshops.
A number of families supported by Altamar have one or several family members in prison or who are addicted to drugs. Therefore, this project is extremely important in order to ensure that children can escape mentally from the barriers of exclusion and crime. There are five monitors and lots of volunteers on hand to give them the attention they need. People helping out in simple ways. They all form an integral part of the process. “All of them”, Peque assures us, “leave with a sparkle in their eyes…, and with headaches. It is very intense here and we give out lots of paracetamol”.
Learn about María's story in greater depth, about her daughter Ainoa, about Yolanda who is teaching them how to cook and about Ezequiel, who has got good grades. They tell us about themselves and how they have made the effort to improve their lives.