Last year, Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, visited our affiliated project, the Centro de Orientacion, in Manizales, Colombia.
“It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.
During their trip, they met with a family of two of our sponsored children who were living in a difficult and dangerous situation — and one from which they desperately wanted to escape.
“The home was in terrible condition. The children showed us a hole in the floor where the shack flooded every time it rained. They were at risk of the entire structure being destroyed in the rain. It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.
“When we returned to the United States, Luis spoke with our volunteer coordinator, Pilar, at Centro de Orientacion, to find out if the home could be repaired. She came back to him with the news that it couldn’t because the family didn’t own the property and therefore couldn’t make improvements on it. We were sure at the time there was nothing that we as an organization could do help improve their home.”
“What we didn’t realize at the time, is that Pilar was determined to get this family out of [harm’s way]. She contacted the local government to find out about housing options for the family, and within a few months, they were able to move. Once they relocated, Children Incorporated was able to provide support with household items as well as funding for some smaller necessary items so they could enjoy their new and safe home.”
Situated in the northwestern corner of South America, Colombia is rich in natural beauty, comprising rugged Andean mountains, lowland plains, sprawling Amazon rainforest, and coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Archeological evidence suggests that humans have called this land home for thousands of years. Its modern history begins at the end of the fifteenth century, when Christopher Columbus and the first Spanish explorers arrived in the region, subsequently establishing the area’s first successful Spanish settlement in 1508. Spanish colonization continued for over 400 years.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Colombia gained its independence and established itself as South America’s first constitutional government. However, political instability in the mid-to-late-twentieth century led to the uprising of guerilla groups which have wreaked havoc through all manner of social injustice. Tragically, their targets are most often children. Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.
Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.
About Our affiliated projects
The Rondon Center serves as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community in Bogotá. The center’s mission is to provide a safe environment for the children of working mothers. By looking after the children’s immediate needs while providing the foundation for a brighter future, the center helps deserving families rise above the difficult circumstances from which they come.
Located in the large, industrial city of Medellín, Centro Primavera fills multiple roles, serving as a daycare and an afterschool enrichment center. While children receive nutritious food, medical care, and skills training, working mothers savor the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe, well cared for, and receiving the guidance and encouragement they need to become productive citizens.
Centro de Orientación
Centro de Orientación offers a source of hope in the large, central-highland city of Manizales. Established by an order of nuns, the center offers a place of protection and safety for impoverished mothers and their children. The facility functions as a community center to rehabilitate mothers who have fallen victim to the ravages of poverty, while helping their children become mature, confident, and educated young adults.
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN COLOMBIA?
You can sponsor a child in Colombia in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Colombia that is available for sponsorship.