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May 28, 2019

The story of Andres (19) and Jeison (16)

Andres (19) and Jeison (16) have been members of YMCA in Guayabal, a rural village in Colombia without prospects and jobs for young people, for several years. YMCA Guayabal tries to solve this problem and supports young people in the production and sale of homemade food.
Since April 2016, Andres (19) and Jeison (16) have been learning how to make dumplings. The two young people have already completed two training courses, each lasting 80 hours.


Andres and Jeison come to the YMCA Guayabal site at 5.30 a.m. each Saturday to bake the dumplings by hand. At 10 am they have to be ready to sell the dumplings in the village or to the visitors in the YMCA centre. Each of them makes a daily profit of around CHF 30. Among other things, they can use it to buy school materials that they urgently need in order to complete their high school studies.
Andres has also recently enrolled in a gastronomy course at the local vocational school, where he can further deepen his knowledge. This course is run and financed by the Colombian government. The number of participants in these courses is very limited and Andres can only participate because he has already acquired practical knowledge in the YMCA course.

May 7, 2019

Education of girls in Haiti - Annual Report 2018

Participants of 2018 summer camp
Participants of 2018 summer camp

2018 was the third year of the current phase of our girls youth center program in Hait. As you can read in the annual report below, the program achieved its goals and made a positive impact in the lifes of the participating girls. This was possible thanks to the generous support from many donors like you. Therefore, we'd like to express our gratitude to you.

Haiti is considered the poorest country on the American continent. More than 80% of the population live on less than USD 2.41 per day. Extreme poverty, political instability and the huge damage caused by past natural disasters are the main factors behind the country's instability.

Young women and girls in particular suffer under these difficult circumstances. They are often victims of violence, have inadequate educational opportunities and are malnourished. As a result, psychological trauma and health problems are almost unavoidable. The Horyzon programme of the local women's organisation YWCA Haiti opposes this negative spiral. It promotes the development, health and economic independence of girls and young women and stands up for their rights.

In 2018, about 195 girls (5-18 years) have visited the Youth Center daily from Monday to Friday, where they have received professional psychological care and have been able to talk openly about their problems. The Youth Center has offered them daily school tuition and training on topics such as hygiene, sexuality, violence prevention, rights and the environment. In addition, this year the girls were able to have a cooked meal every day.

In the past year, 273 young women between the ages of 18 and 35 have learned at the Leadership Academy how to make self-determined decisions and thereby assume an exemplary and leadership function. In weekly intensive courses, they acquired leadership skills and worked on topics such as human rights, work ethics, sexual and health rights.

A highlight was the Summer Camp, which has taken place for the fifth time in 2018. A total of 198 girls were able to take part in leisure activities, discover new talents and hobbies and work up their school material during 6 weeks. For example, in this year's Poetry Slam Workshop the girls have learned how to express themselves better and how to debate. In the Mobi-Cinema, they have been informed about human trafficking in Haiti with a short film and learned how to protect themselves.

Time to do the homework with support of YWCA Haiti
Time to do the homework with support of YWCA Haiti

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Feb 28, 2019

Paza La Paz - Annual report 2018

Youth spreading messages of peace
Youth spreading messages of peace

2018 was the third year of the current phase of our program "Paza La Paz" in Colombia. As you can read in the annual report below, the program achieved its goals and made a positive impact in the lifes of the participating youth. This was possible thanks to the generous support from many donors like you. Therefore, we'd like to express our gratitude to you. 

Even two years after the signing of the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, organized crime is still a daily occurrence. The government, army and police are unable to fill the power vacuum created by the demobilisation. Various so-called bacrimes (Colombian slang for bandas criminales or criminal groups) are fighting for dominance in the poor neighborhoods. This has led to an increase in murders and violent expulsions in some regions. In particular, representatives of human rights organisations, who work for the reparation of victims of the conflict, are threatened.

Horyzon's program "Paza La Paz" reached 1'596 young people in 2018 who otherwise run the risk of becoming involved in criminal activities like arms or drug trafficking. 54% of the participating youth were young women. The program with its four areas "Peaceful Coexistence", "Youth Participation", "Income Generation" and "Institutional Strengthening" was again carried out in poor neighbourhoods of seven cities in Colombia.

The young people are attracted to the program because of attractive activities such as hiphop, breakdance, football or dance and get to know the groups. They quickly realize that the program provides them with a safe place where they are treated with respect, non-violently and where all opinions are heard. This awakens their interest in the training program, which includes a total of 80 hours of seminars.

For example, during 30 hours, all 1'596 youth learned how to work for peaceful coexistence, how to recognize and defuse dangerous situations. This enables them to act as mediators in difficult situations. In addition, 223 of them have completed their training as youth leaders. They now pass on what they have learned to their own groups and thus increase the effect of the program. Through their own activities the youth leaders reached 4'310 peers. Kevin, a youth leader from Cali, says: "Through sport I motivate other young people to get to know all the opportunities that I have got myself thanks to YMCA".  

Furthermore, the participants attended training courses in income generation and youth participation. There the young people learned on the one hand how to earn money legally or how to go back to school. By the end of the year, 25 small-scale income generating projects had been established. On the other hand, the youth learn how to get politically involved in order to positively shape life in their neighbourhoods and to stand up for their rights. As a result, 131 youth were elected in some sort of citizen representation body. 

Training session in peaceful coexistence
Training session in peaceful coexistence

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