Food • Arts & Culture • Sheffield Life • Branding & Media

Guest blog by Emma Wass, who is a trainee broadcast journalist at the University of Sheffield, presenter/producer at Sheffield Live! 93.2fm and publicity officer for theatre company The Company

I had an amazing trip to Mexico last year with my friend Cecilia and completely fell in love with the country and people. During my stay I visited a friend from university, Andy, who was volunteering at a home for street children in Mexico City, Casa Alianza. Mexico City is one of the most overpopulated cities in the world, with over 20 million inhabitants.

So I got to know about Casa Alianza through Andy, and even met some of the teenage boys one day when I went with them to a football match. They were so friendly, enthusiastic and interested in me and the UK, asking dozens of questions, I was really touched. Andy had told me some of the boys’ back stories, and I suppose I had expected them to be much more introvert, unhappy and quiet. They were completely the opposite; a great credit to the charity and the work they do.

The children found on the streets are from a variety of backgrounds. Some are orphans, others have been abandoned by their families, others are victims of abuse. Casa Alianza gradually gets the children off the streets and into their residential programme, and then helps with their rehabilitation and education. Some children are reintegrated back into their families, others go back to school or find work.

I was urged to raise money for them at the end of last year because they had a fire and the home was completely destroyed. The children are all still in temporary accommodation and they have a long way to go before they have enough funds to rebuild Casa Alianza.

So I’ve organised a fun, Latin-themed night at local tapas bar and restaurant Cubana on Sunday 13th March to raise money. 50% of the ticket sales for ¡Noche Latina! will go directly to Casa Alianza. Tickets include a tapas dinner, a welcome cocktail, Salsa, Merengue and Rueda lessons (no experience required!) and a DJ for the evening. There will also be a raffle, which is included in your ticket, and we have some great prizes so far, including 2 tickets to see Sweeney Todd at the Lyceum theatre.

Tickets (£20) can be bought through my Sponduly site: www.sponduly.com/casaalianza.htm.

Any problems or queries please contact me directly on 07738 249412 or email emmawass@hotmail.co.uk.

This is a charity that is little known in the UK, and I want that to change. Casa Alianza has four homes throughout Central America which really are lifelines for hundreds, even thousands of children each year. You can find out more about the charity on their website www.casa-alianza.org.uk.

Follow Emma on Twitter: http://twitter.com/emmawass

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