Opened in 1992, the FXB House in Montevideo, Uruguay, works to respond to the growing impoverishment of the local population and its harmful consequences on children. Many children had to resort to the streets for survival, living off food scraps found in the garbage bins of extremely dangerous slums. Victims of stigmatization, discrimination, violence and sexual exploitation, these children are constantly exposed to HIV and STIs. To address this and the lack of opportunities for these young people, FXB set up an educational project that helps vulnerable children and adolescents find productive ways of confronting the problems posed by poverty. The project also builds brighter futures through vocational training and provides HIV prevention information, which is particularly valuable for the these communities. Young people are offered psychological and emotional support, appropriate levels of sex education, lessons in children’s rights and basic life skills. This all helps to restore young people’s dignity and sense of self-worth.
Following a long lobbying struggle initiated by FXB founder and president emerita Albina du Boisrouvray, many families from the FXB House managed to obtain decent housing. As part of helping these families continue to live in a rural environment, FXB encouraged the development of farming activities that can lead to self-sufficiency. This prompted improvements in health for everyone in the program, especially children. Program participants younger than 25 were more than twice as likely to have a job compared to their peers in Montevideo. FXB also took part in an initiative led by UNICEF to add a line to the national budget that referred to monetary support for families caring for orphans.
On Dec. 31, 2009, FXB ended its involvement in the project, as locals learned to maintain the FXB House. It is now managed by a local association.