Fundacion Ninos de los Andes

To reinstate and defend the fundamental rights of children and youth who live in the streets and whose rights are vulnerable. To work towards the reinforcement of the family unit and to promote a culture in which citizens' co-responsibility and participation lead to the solution of this social injustice.
Oct 22, 2014

Making a difference to children's lives

Valerie sharing with children from Nuevo Amanecer
Valerie sharing with children from Nuevo Amanecer

Dear Globalgiving friends,

In June this year I went to Bogota, Colombia, to visit the Fundación Niños de los Andes and its Residential Centres. I have worked with, and supported the Foundation, for over 20 years but the last time I had visited was 19 years previously. I was curious to see how the situation had changed, in terms of the plight of children living in a street situation or in abject poverty, and to learn about to the Foundation and its current activities. 

What impressed me most was the positive and happy environment in the Centres. The staff were affectionate and attentive, whilst at the same time imposing a daily discipline The staff obviously cared a great deal for the children. Many had been working with them for years and were qualified as social workers, psychologists, nurses and occupational therapists. Some had even grown up in the Centres themselves and were now employed as cleaners or cooks.   The Centres were spotlessly clean and all the children’s affairs miraculously tidy. As part of the process of learning to live on their own and with others the children have to tidy up after themselves, make their own beds and keep their things in order. 

Over the years since I had last visited it was clear to me that the Foundation’s excellent work with street children had become more widely recognised and valued. The ICBF (the official Colombian Family Welfare Institute) is working with the Foundation in many of its projects and Centres, and has increased its funding over recent years of the Foundation’s work. On the regular inspections of its Centres by the ICBF the Foundation always achieves an excellent rating.

 On my final day, the Foundation had organised an event at Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn) Centre with Ingersoll Rand. This Centre is based on the outskirts of Bogota in the countryside. 60 children and teenagers live there and will stay for up to 4 years. They are mainly groups of siblings who have had to be separated from their parents due to physical abuse or because their parents cannot cope. These children have been exposed to abuse and neglect and have had little access to education. The Foundation’s philosophy is based on a loving care and support, encouraging the kids to have plans and dreams for the future.

 Ingersoll Rand Executives had kindly offered to give up their time and provide the money for materials to paint the dining room at the Centre and to plant a vegetable plot.  The adults soon got busy on the painting and digging.. The kids had been so excited waiting for the arrival of Ingersoll Rand. They had made a big banner which said “Welcome Ingersoll Rand”. The kids stayed close to the adults all afternoon, fascinated by the way they looked, by the different languages spoken (Ingersoll Rand Executives came mainly from the USA and from China) and asking them lots of questions.  Papa Jaime welcomed Ingersoll Rand and thanked them for their generous offer of their time, support and the materials to improve the children’s home. Then everyone got to work with lots of enthusiasm, good humour and tremendous effort. 

A few hours later after the work was done Ingersoll Rand Executives taught the kids how to play basketball. Later, as they boarded their bus back to Bogota, the kids enthusiastically hugged them and climbed on thefence to wave them off. They really appreciated the fact that the grown-ups had cared enough to want to come and help them make their home a nicer place to live.

I took with me a sense of wonder at everything the Foundation has achieved over the last years. The staffs work tirelessly to help the children grow up in the safe environment of the Centres. The children are so happy, positive and curious to learn. Amongst all the suffering and poverty widespread on the streets of Bogota you have the sense that there are people who really care and who want to make a difference. The children in the Centres homes are the lucky ones who can look to a better future with the Foundation’s love and support. There are so many more children out there who need our help. For this reason the Foundation is very grateful for your ongoing support and continues to seek new sources of funding so that it can help more children.

 

 

 

 

So excited waiting for Ingersoll Rand
So excited waiting for Ingersoll Rand's visit.
Executives teach the kids how to sow the land.
Executives teach the kids how to sow the land.
Painting is a special moment for the kids.
Painting is a special moment for the kids.
They love and need to be hugged.
They love and need to be hugged.
Papa Jaime inspires others to volunteer
Papa Jaime inspires others to volunteer
Jul 8, 2014

Preparing young people for a better life

St. Patrick
St. Patrick's House home 30 former homeless boys.

This time we have decided to make a special mention to our “Preparation for Life” program with the adolescents at the Saint Patrick’s Home that involves a transitional period which constitutes the bridge between being in the Foundation and returning to society. Since its opening in 2003, the Saint Patrick’s centre has been home to 675 adolescents, offering them the skills they need to sure up their long-term plans and preparing them psychologically so that they may use their independence to become active and constructive members of society.

Many of the boys have come from the Emergency Centres or other institutions as they have been fully rehabilitated but have no family support. Saint Patrick's centre has a warm and happy atmosphere. It feels like a real “home” and the boys come across as “brothers”. Here there is a major emphasis on educating the boys and setting them on a path that will help them to become fully independent. Some are going to secondary school, others are attending technical college and four of the young men are attending University. The idea is to provide the boys with career advice and employment opportunities as real options for their future.

We are certain that this programme contributes directly to achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals in the context of the fight against poverty, since we firmly believe that skills development and employment opportunities are are one of the most effective solutions. The young people who have graduated from the Foundation, deserve a fair chance of getting a prosper life. We will do our utmost to further this initiative, with hard work and your generous donations.

Former street child, Alexander * (19) is attending University in Bogota where he is studying Agricultural Science. He arrived at St Patrick’s two and a half years ago. He was found abandoned at age 5 and spent many years living in a number of institutions and on the streets. He is doing very well at college and is very bright and ambitious. Jonathan used to go out on Street Patrols where he helped giving out bread and hot chocolate to the kids we visit. He loves to share moments with the people living on the streets he had met. It’s incredible to think that this young man belonged to the street community not that long ago. *His name has been changed for protecting his identity. 

According to the United Nations, 65% of the population in Colombia is below the international poverty line. When Colombian families don’t have homes or a means of income, proper parenting becomes compromised. This can result in Colombian children not being adequately fed or supervised and education is often non-existent. It can also result in Colombian children being exposed to physical and sexual abuse, and violence.

They leave as  true brothers!
They leave as true brothers!
Learning systems is a must.
Learning systems is a must.
Jaime encourages them to make positive changes
Jaime encourages them to make positive changes
Alexander* shares his dream with our Irish sponsor
Alexander* shares his dream with our Irish sponsor
Mar 7, 2014

Each day is a new beginning.

Home is located in a lovely green place.
Home is located in a lovely green place.

We are pleased to start this year with the certainty of being working with the support of our Globalgiving donors who have placed their trust in our work. We appreciate the contributions you have given to help us in our duty of taking in children who live in a situation of high social and family risk, who need a home and deserve a chance to live in dignity.

Thanks to your generous contribution of USD$ 3.785 during 2013 we were able to successfully protect 2.382 girls and boys aged between 0-18 years, in a residential care (24 hours a day) and external care (after school) programs, with actions focused on the restoration of their rights. These children have received an adequate nutrition, attended school, were provided with books and uniforms, participated in cultural and leisure activities and received continued attention by the psychosocial team to encourage their overall development. In the same way, through our Street Patrols, we provided on site assistance and first aid when needed to 780 people, of all ages, living in extreme poverty or who did not have a home and also we offered familiar attention to 410 former street boys and girls and their families, who had completed the programs in Niños de los Andes.

In Colombia there are steel 80.290 boys, girls and teenagers under the state care, victims of neglect, malnutrition, physical abuse, child labor, sexual violence and consumption of psychoactive substances. Most of them have a family that is not able to take care of them or cannot guarantee their fundamental rights, for that reason we hope we can continue to work beside you on strengthening our Foundation, in order to be able to provide lots of those children with the means to reach their full development in an environment of love, understanding and happiness.

They wake up in a clean and safe room.
They wake up in a clean and safe room.
Homework
Homework's are easier with a pc.
Lunch time at New Dawn
Lunch time at New Dawn
Every day  the children are taken to school
Every day the children are taken to school
The kids have been fortunate to have been rescued
The kids have been fortunate to have been rescued

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