In the aftermath of the 2001 financial collapse in Argentina, the organisation Etf, also known as ‘Buenos Aires Children’s Fund’, was originally founded by neighbours in Buenos Aires city Russell Johnson, Marita Dure and Sarah Jones. At this time there was a rapid growth in groups of families to recycle rubbish -‘Los Cartoneros’- including with child labour. Many of the children were living on less than US$ 1 per day. We were all compelled to contribute something. Marita introduced us to a marginalised neighbourhood of shanty town origin in La Matanza, on the outskirts of the city.
Etf signified ‘ellos tendrán futuro’ which means ‘they will have a future’ in English. At first we complimented the work of others, such as the government funded canteens (soup kitchens). We helped to provide nutritious food and organised parties at Christmas, Easter and for Child’s Day. Later, working with community leaders such as Cintia Arrieta, and with the support of friends and family around the world, we moved on to hold dance, craft and cooking workshops, school support, create a space to play, ‘sew and grow’ vegetable gardens, organise away trips and provide a small micro (revolving) fund aimed at plans to increase women’s income and their children’s recreational support. Ten years later conditions in the community have significantly improved, but there is still an enormous challenge to move from poverty to prosperity in the longer term, through healthy living, quality education and sustainable jobs, particularly for women, and a peaceful space for children to play and grow-up.
In 2015 Etf has linked with the work of Mr. William Kwende to learn from his work and also bring our experiences to help design the The Sahel Hub, W. Africa, alongside a new design for the Etf Buenos Aires Hub. We are also discussing other options to support community projects in developed and developing countries alike. We no longer feel it is just to say ‘they will have a future’ – it should be ‘we have a future’.
Etf Hubs continues to be supported by fundraising activities of our network of supporters and most recently the closed door Buenos Aires restaurant ‘Delicias de Alicia’. All our projects aim for self-help and self –financing within the communities themselves.