Children
 Colombia
Project #11246

Give at-risk Colombian children a safe home

by Fundacion Ninos de los Andes
Being possitive to begin their handcraft workshop.
Being possitive to begin their handcraft workshop.

Do you believe in coincidences? Or even better, in destiny? Well, I just have the most amazing story to tell you. The day I started my internship at the Fundación Niños de los Andes, my boss told me everything they do for the kids. She told me about every house they have, the amount of kids they help, and some of their successful projects. I thought I was going to be able to see that with my own eyes in the following days, as I got more involved with the foundation. Surprisingly, I didn’t need a few days to see that. The exact same day, when I left the Foundation and took a taxi, I got hit with an amazing coincidence. The taxi driver, with a big smile on his face and a nostalgic tone told me “I haven’t been here in quite a while”. I immediately asked if he have worked in the foundation, and he replied with a “No, I lived in one of their houses with my brother for 3 years”. Then he started to tell me his story.

They were teenagers living on the streets, who needed a place to stay, when they arrived at the foundation. There they had a place to eat, to study, to play, and most importantly, a place to find their dreams, set their goals, and make their first steps to follow those goals. Very proud, he told me “I left the Foundation being a baker. I’m now driving a taxi, but I’m currently saving money to create my own Baking Store”.

The next following days, as I got more involved I could see what the taxi driver told me. With the help of a group of Industrial Design students, the Foundation created two projects during the second term of 2016. The first one called “Healthy art”, in which the kids learned to develop pieces whose main base is the weaving (cup holders, keychains and jewelry). They also got engaged in the development of their own brand: artesano.  On the other hand, they created the “If you dream it you’ll make it” project, which is the appropriation an implementation of a diary of dreams as part of the daily living of the kids and teenagers. With these projects the Foundation allowed spaces to enrich the proccesses of these kids and teeangers, through an innovative and avant-garde look, obtained from the industrial design.

Now, I could realize the great impact the Foundation have on these kids. They, not only give them food, a house and education. They teach them things that they can do when they leave the Foundation. The taxi driver left the Foundation being a baker, and now he is following that dream. One of these kids, may leave the foundation as a craftsman, and hopefully, as another coincidence, this kid could share his story with another intern, another person, or even better, with the world. I know the Foundation is immensely grateful with each one of their donors. Without you, the Foundation wouldn’t be able to help as many kids as they are now helping. With your donations, this year they were able to buy better materials, learning elements and didactic resources for these projects, and with that, to let the kids find their talents.

With that being said, I finish my report with a few words from the project leader: “We could now tell you that in 2016 we helped in our residential programs approximately 1412 kids and teenagers. This achievement we got, is also yours, since last year we got more Global Givers involved and we raised, thanks to your donations, 11,796 USD. Thanks to our fundraising efforts and your generous response, GlobalGiving gave us a badge as a “Top-Ranked organization” in 2016, that validates the suitability of our work and supports the trust you have placed on us”.

Creating their bracelet design.
Creating their bracelet design.
Weaving has a high therapeutic value.
Weaving has a high therapeutic value.
Step by step becoming craftsmen.
Step by step becoming craftsmen.
A good feeling makes learning easy.
A good feeling makes learning easy.
Seeing their products moves them to keep going.
Seeing their products moves them to keep going.
"Artesano" allows them to sell their products.
"Artesano" allows them to sell their products.
Papa Jaime inspires them to dream a better future
Papa Jaime inspires them to dream a better future

In Colombia, according to the National Ministry of Education, only 47% of those who graduate from high school have access to higher education and one of the main causes of drop-out is that 60% of them come from families with incomes below US$460 per month.

Aware of this situation, at Fundación Niños de los Andes we continue building relationships with universities and technical institutes in order to get scholarships and financial support for our kids to improve their education. This is how this year we achieved to make an agreement with Politécnico Grancolombiano, an academic institution who will offer us an annual scholarship in exchange for internship places for their last semester students in different careers at the Foundation.We recognize that education plays a critical role in the progress and well-being of our society. For this reason, in addition to the values education program that we teach to the young people in our centers, we make an effort to offer them the possibility to acquire tools and skills to start their working lives autonomously.

Success stories like the one of Fabian*(today 38) continue to inspire us to work for the youth

When he was 7, he ran away from home because of the mistreatment resulting from poverty. After several years living in the streets, stealing and doing drugs, Fabian* came to the Foundation and after time in his process of rehab he got a scholarship from American Field Service AFS to study one year in France. It was like opening my eyes to an unsuspected world, where I was welcomed by my host family with the love and care they gave their own children”, he said. At the time he came back, through a member of our Board of Directors, outstanding Director at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana he got a scholarship to study Law at this institution. His academic effort and his incredible story of personal growth made him worthy of the prize “Colombiano Ejemplar” (Exemplary Colombian), given by an important newspaper in Colombia. After years of dedication, Fabian* achieved to become a lawyer with postgraduate studies in Administrative Law, got married and had three children. Today, he works as Legal Director at an important road construction company and we couldn’t be prouder of him. His leadership among his family, community and friends has allowed them to accomplish a real social inclusion.

*His name has been changed for protecting his identity. 

Cultivating Skills

This year in our St Patrick's centre we have looked after 40 kids. During their time at St Patrick's we help the kids to prepare themselves for living independent lives. Amongst these 40 kids, we have helped 4 teenagers to embark on university careers in different higher education institutions, thanks to the scholarships offered by ASCUN (Colombian Universities Asociation) and thanks to contributions from our friends and allies committed to improving the quality of our kids' education. Therefore, with more funds raised we could help more and more boys and girls to have access to higher education, which would change their lives forever. 

According to the National Ministry of Education, while the minimum wage increased 42% between 2007 and 2014, the average price of college tuition increased between 80% and 120%, making it increasingly difficult for young people from low-income families to access to higher education.

We Continue Making Dreams Come True

Up to this day, we have achieved to have two young people studying Business Administration, one studying Psychology and another one studying Plastic Arts. Other kids are studying in technical training programs in different areas, such as Business Management, Computer Assembly and Health at Work; which is a very good option when we are not able to enroll them in university courses. Also, 14 of our boys are finishing high school and other two work as caddies. “I never thought I had the opportunity to go to college. Thanks to Fundación Niños de los Andes I am fulfilling my dream of being an artist. Maybe someday I could exhibit my work in a gallery and live from my art”. Said Miller*, Art student. 19 years old.

Through to your support and your generous donation you have shown that you believe in the power of common effort to improve the quality of life of young people who have been deprived of opportunities. To continue our work of fulfilling real dreams we want to invite you to participate in the #GivingTuesday, GlobalGiving year end campaign through which they are offering a 50% match on donations made on November 29th, courtesy of generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We hope you don’t miss the chance to help our boys and make a difference in their lives donating on November 29th at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/colombia-at-risk-children/?show=recurring

Thank you very much for supporting this project. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact Patricia González, Community Relations Manager, at funiandes@yahoo.com.

At the age of 7, Fabian* ran away from home.
At the age of 7, Fabian* ran away from home.
Too young for such an important award.
Too young for such an important award.
To get this degree was not an easy job.
To get this degree was not an easy job.
A loving family who broke old patterns.
A loving family who broke old patterns.
Their graduation, first achieved dream!
Their graduation, first achieved dream!
Supporting their homeworks
Supporting their homeworks

"I was born in Colombia, but at the age of 4 my family moved to Germany. However, I always felt a strong connection to my native country. So, when I finished high school, I decided to go to Colombia and work as a volunteer with Fundación Niños de los Andes for six months in the "Nuevo Amanecer" program, which mission is to embrace and protect children and teenagers victims of neglect and abandonment. As you are aware, this program takes place in a beautiful house that is home to 60 children between the ages of 7 to 18 and the professional team involved becomes the loving parents of these 60 lucky people.

I remember my first day of work. The children received me with hugs, jokes and curiously asked me stuff. However, the next days weren't so easy because they didn't understand what I was doing there. Then, I realized they were always so sensitive because of the bad experiences they went through. My functions in the house were basically supporting the psychosocial team, but the moments of conversation with the children are the ones that will always be in my heart because they taught me stuff you can't learn in any other place of the world. The happiness and faith in the kid's faces impressed me and inspired me all the time. Seeing them so motivated and full of energy in spite of what they had lived, was what most impressed me.

I will never forget the story of a 15 year-old boy that was abandoned by his mother at the age of 5 in a terrible way. Since he was born, she had battered him and she even used to take him out of the house every night, so he had to sleep outside. The only person who protected him was his grandmother, but when she passed away he had no one left. “One day, my mother and my step-father took me to play soccer. In a moment, my step-father kicked the ball far away and they asked me to bring it back, but when I turned around my parents were gone”, he said, “but here I have learned to forgive and empower myself to be a happy person on my own”.

It took me a while to really understand everything he went through. However, the truth is that this story is just one of many others among the children living in the Nuevo Amanecer house. Many of them have been physically, psychologically or even sexually abused for close people. This is a serious issue in Colombia, where the home is being a great epicenter of violence: 42.36% of the sexual aggressions are committed by a relative of the victim, according to Forensis, the National Institute of Legal Medicine. In addition, 80% of sexual violence victims are children and teenagers.

Nevertheless, the special magic of this program is the capacity of changing the children's mind. They usually arrive to the foundation aggressive and full of anger, but after a while, they start changing, become more reflexive and loving. This is the result of the foundation's work based on the "Ser" philosophy, created by Papá Jaime, the organization's founder. This method teaches people how to act from love and happiness instead from fear or hate. I admire this way to think and, personally, I learned a lot with these workshops.

I finished my jurney as the most beautiful experience in my life; these memories will be in my heart forever. I learned to see the world and my country in a different way. The chance to meet these children taught me that helping people is the best way to make your life meaningful and every person has the ability to make a difference in the lives of others.

I cannot express with words the deep gratitude I feel with this Foundation that makes a huge humanitarian work by providing protective environments to the children and their families.

Thank you very much for supporting this project. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact Patricia González, Community Relations Manager, at funiandes@yahoo.com.

 

Working in a safe  enviroment
Working in a safe enviroment
The pleasure of serving with love
The pleasure of serving with love
Is not easy but it can be!
Is not easy but it can be!
Papa Jaime teach them to act from love
Papa Jaime teach them to act from love
A farewell gift  from everyone!
A farewell gift from everyone!

Links:

They deserve a better future!
They deserve a better future!

Dear friends,

During 2015 close to 2,000 children and adolescents were welcomed in our protection programs.390 of them were separated from their parents by violation of their rights, abuse, neglect or domestic violence. They do not understand completely the reason to be at the institution and always want to return to their families’ home.1,545 teenagers began a recovery process due to the  abuse of psychoactive substances and were sent back to their families after their recuperation.

These are hard-to-face situations for them, but our purpose at Fundación Niños de los Andes, is to achieve the greatest benefit in the nutritional, health, academic, psychological, and emotional areas trough the services we offer thanks to your support.  

Looking for better opportunities to the communities we serve, on Wednesday, June 15GlobalGiving.org will be holding a Bonus Day to encourage the support of our donors.Every donation will be matched up to 50% by Globalgiving. In addition, the organization with the largest number of donors and the one that raises the most amount of money will be given a bonus for 1,000 USD$

That is  why we invite you to support us making your contribution on June 15 so we can get  an additional benefit for the children. We encourage you to get donations in early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.

Thank you for facilitating our daily work with the Colombian children at risk, your enormous commitment with Niños de los Andes its remarkable and inspirational for us!

 

 

 

Luis David* talking to Vincent about his life
Luis David* talking to Vincent about his life

In a country like ours where only 45% of the population in age of access to higher education can do so, we want to share with you a story to hold together an achievement recently obtained by one of our youth: His entry to the Universidad Piloto de Colombia to study psychology. Fundación Niños de los Andes recognises that education is the main tool for tackling inequality, violence and poverty.

With six brothers, Luis David* (22) grew up to 10 years in a home with a father with severe alcohol problems and a sick mother who could barely feed her children; on several occasions he had to steal to bring food for all of them. The situation worsened and his parents in the desperation to get sustenance, committed illegal acts that led them to prison. He and his brothers were taken to state protection homes, where they spent part of his childhood and adolescence. The absence of his family at a teen ayer, led him to a depressive crisis which paved away for drugs consumption, but with the support of his eldest brother managed to overcome it. Since then he dreamed of studying psychology.

Since his arrival to St. Patrick's home, he was characterized by their extroverted, creative character and excellent interpersonal relationships. After his bachelor’s degree, the Foundation initiated a process to find a scholarship but was impossible since he was overage and did not meet the requirements. By the time his dream was frustrated but his positive attitude remained firm n his dream.

In his persistence to find a scholarship, he told about his dream to one of our benefactors, who were visiting our headquarters. "My dream is to study organizational psychology, because I like working with people, I love the idea of creating projects, search profiles required by the company and find the right person for each position who  can perform optimally, guaranteeing wellbeing and improving their life quality "  Luis David *said. Caroline, who works in France with an association, formed by a group of committed people who have helped the Foundation for morethan15years, brought his story and managed to get the money to finance the first two semesters. Today, Luis David* has successfully finished 4 months of disciplined study at the University.

We asked him for a few words for this report. He said: Currently I live in St. Patrick’s home where I feel welcomed and protected.  I am also very grateful for all the support they give me to continue with my life project.  I want to be a good father and a great husband but first of all I want to be happy, end my career of psychology, practicing my skills in a work that allows me, I want to get married and have two beautiful children, and to be an example for my brothers, motivating them to help our mother."

Thanks to the contributions of our benefactors, from 30 young people who currently we serve on St. Patrick, 8 young are linked to higher education programs,  technical and technological, and 4 of them are preparing (pro bono) their state tests in the Universidad de los Andes, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country.

We encourage you to continue being part of this uplifting project, helping these young people achieve their dreams through equal and quality education.

*His name has been changed for protecting his identity. 

Ready for his interview at the University
Ready for his interview at the University
Dusacre family from France delivering his aid
Dusacre family from France delivering his aid
St. Patrick
St. Patrick's children waiting for opportunities.
Fundation
Fundation's Director Diana supporting his dream
 

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Organization Information

Fundacion Ninos de los Andes

Location: Bogota, Cundinamarca - Colombia
Website: http:/​/​www.ninandes.org
Project Leader:
Patricia Gonzalez
Bogota, Colombia
$61,102 raised of $100,000 goal
 
392 donations
$38,898 to go
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