Scotiabank and the FC Barcelona Foundation develop a programme in Costa Rica to improve the emotional well-being and mental health of 300 boys and girls


José Edmilson and Kendall Watson visited one of the Aldeas Infantiles SOS centres in Costa Rica to learn about the FC Barcelona Foundation and Scotiabank project

The Foundation's programme facilitates access to therapy and promotes the social inclusion of minors

In Costa Rica, many children and young people are affected by youth unemployment, lack of opportunities and an environment of family violence. These problems, accompanied by an uncertain and difficult future, cause significant mental health problems in many of them. It is estimated that 34% of adolescents and young people in Costa Rica, between 13 and 35 years old, suffer from anxiety problems.

Scotiabank and the FC Barcelona Foundation, in collaboration with the NGO Aldeas Infantiles, developed a social inclusion programme in Costa Rica that aims to improve the emotional well-being and mental health of minors. The programme uses sport as a tool for social inclusion through the FC Barcelona Foundation's own socio-educational methodology. Nearly 300 boys, girls and young people from the village of Santa Ana participated in this programme, which has become a key support in facilitating access to therapy for minors.

Strengthen life skills

“These children need complete psychological care. Their main problem is that they have a tendency to violent socialisation. They do not have the necessary skills to socialise with people their own age or older. The FC Barcelona Foundation programme specifically strengthens these social skills and values, in addition to reinforcing many other situations in their daily lives,” explains Rodrigo Morales, a psychologist at Aldeas Infantiles SOS. This NGO provides safe, caring and protective environments to minors who have lost parental care or are at risk of it happening, due to situations that have violated their rights.

The project of Scotiabank and the FC Barcelona Foundation in Aldeas Infantiles Costa Rica has had the participation of the former FC Barcelona player, José Edmílson, and the Costa Rican national team player and Scotiabank Ambassador, Kendall Watson. They have been able to experience first-hand the implementation of the project, which contributes to the improvement of the treatment of mental health problems and emotional well-being of its participants.

Statements by José Edmílson

“The psychological and social work that is done with these children and young people is very important. The games and activities of the Foundation's programme they give them skills that help them to reflect and to be able to better interpret better the different situations that they will encounter throughout life.”

Statements by Kendall Watson

“I have been able to live a totally different experience because usually we only hear about these situations. However, it is different when we experience them. I have been able to better understand the feelings of these minors who participate in the Foundation's programme and how it helps them: through play, they develop strengths such as joy, responsibility, and their desire to excel, grow and be better people. All these kinds of things have fascinated me.”