In the Sogamoso region of Boyaca, Colombia financial crisis and extreme poverty have led children to work in coal mines and charcoal burning to support their families. CEPALC is working with children and their communities to keep kids in school, offer children's rights education, and strengthen support networks to address child labor exploitation. This project also trains kids and youth in communication tools like writing, music, theater, and art to lift up their voices and promote peace.
Due to the high level of poverty in Colombia, many children miss out on completing their education to work to support their families and afford the necessities to live. In rural communities in the Boyaca department, this leads many children to work in coal mines or charcoal burning as a means of life. Not only does this take them away from their right to an education, but the work is also dangerous and leads to long-lasting negative effects on their health and well-being.
This project has three main objectives: 1) Educate communities in children's rights and the importance of defending them. 2) Help children and youth build communication skills through art, music, theater, radio, journalism, etc. to spread messages of peace, gender equality, and children's rights and empower young people to share their stories. 3) Accompany youth organizations and support networks in denouncing child labor exploitation and advocating for children's rights.
CEPALC has worked with similar groups of young people, and we've seen the impact that this education has on their lives. Former students have continued to pursue and prioritize their education, they become empowered leaders in their communities and advocate for children's rights and gender equality. They develop practical skills in writing, journalism, media, and the arts. The 120 children and youth participating in this project will better understand and be empowered by their rights.