DID YOU KNOW?
Music is a cherished part of Columbian culture. The national dance is called the “cumbia.”
Our work in Colombia
In communities in Colombia, we invest in the lives of children and youth to build the healthy environments they need to find a path out of poverty. With your help, our programs can make an impact on their lives and help them envision a future they never thought possible. Below are some of the challenges facing children in Colombia and the ways we work to create lasting change in their communities.
Large Wealth Gap
Poverty in Colombia has improved dramatically over the past 50 years, but a large wealth gap still exists among socioeconomic groups. Most low income people have informal manual labor jobs such as bricklaying, peddlers, lottery ticket salesmen or fishermen.
Our community centers offer programs that address poverty issues at their core. Children learn about managing resources responsibly at a young age through our Social and Financial Education program and continue to build upon that knowledge as they progress through the program. And our Into Employment® program levels the playing field for grads by teaching in-demand job skills relevant to their community.
of Into Employment program participants were placed into jobs with the skills they gained
The importance of employment
Children and youth cannot create a path out of poverty without finding stable, long-term employment. Many children in our program don’t have the basic skills to even begin an employment search. How do you fill out a résumé? Where do you look for jobs? How do you speak to an employer? Our employment readiness programs prepare youth to find employment and create a future for themselves they never thought possible.
Gang violence against children is far too common in Colombia. According to the Institute for Forensic Medicine, it’s estimated that 37.5% of boys and 26.5% of girls suffer some sort of physical violence during adolescence.
Programs like Sport for Development and Music for Development entice children to stay off the streets, while educating them about leadership, teamwork and social responsibility. Youth Council teaches the dangers of gang affiliation and provides strategies to avoid this dangerous lifestyle.
of participants said their Sport for Development program created a safe, caring environment
The importance of empowerment
In many impoverished communities, gang affiliation and a life of crime is the norm. Showing children they have the power to choose another path is crucial. Our programs instill confidence and foster social responsibility so children and youth can believe in themselves and empowered to create lasting change in their life.
Inadequate health care
Despite the government providing public health services, only 35% of the population receives health care. And for those who do, wait times to see a doctor can be long even for the very ill.
We partner with government and private organizations to ensure our children have access to health services and medicines through medical and dental clinics located at our community centers. We also put the focus on prevention — educating children and caregivers about health, hygiene, sexual and reproductive issues and substance abuse.
sponsored children and youth received at least one exam from a Children International clinic
The importance of health care
Health issues are often the main factor plunging families into poverty. Living in poverty can mean inadequate health and dental care, chronic malnutrition, poor hygiene and unsafe sanitation conditions, a lack of education about reproductive health and mental health, and preventable diseases going untreated. As children struggle with illness, they fall behind in school, drop out and many times turn to a life of drugs or gangs, leading to a life imprisoned by poverty. By investing in a child’s health, you’re helping them envision a future they never thought possible.
Poor secondary school attendance
The Colombian public education system attempts to ensure all children receive a secondary education, but few continue past high school. For a child with dreams for a better life, there aren’t avenues to help them pursue their studies such as student loan and scholarship programs. Children International provides those opportunities so children can see beyond secondary school and create a path out of poverty.
Youth Leadership Training and Youth Council teach teamwork, goal-setting and community involvement to help prepare youth for college or a vocational program. The HOPE Scholarship program helps youth continue learning past high school at the college level by providing funds to support their education.
For the second
year in a row,
of tutoring students were able to finish their school year and move up to the next grade level
The importance of education
When we reduce barriers to education, we set children up to thrive. Access to education reduces the likelihood of a child’s involvement in gangs or drugs, and lowers the number of teen pregnancies. Education leads to healthier childhoods and, ultimately, to greater economic prospects as adults.
Your support is crucial to our programs
Are you ready to create change in Colombia?
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Our 67 community centers worldwide are hubs for activity and achievement as well as safe havens for children in our programs. See what’s happening at our community centers.
Serving over 4,500 children, this center has TWO buildings: a community center with a library, dental clinic and more, plus a separate youth center with a sports court, art studio, computer room and other amenities specifically for youth.