The most vulnerable children in Bogota face aggressive recruitment by military and paramilitary groups. For many of these impoverished children, joining an armed group is the only way to get a meal each day. Others are kidnapped and forced to fight. MADRE and its local partner, Taller de Vida, are helping youth in Bogota channel the trauma of displacement and war into healthy self-expression through arts programs, academic tutoring and counseling.
Indigenous and Afro-Colombian youth are learning videography in order to document and heal from their experiences of war and displacement. Participants are also introduced to acting, dancing, capoeira, painting, pottery and photography.
By engaging in positive activities, building self-esteem, having a safe space off the streets, developing skills, and strengthening social networks, young people are protected from the horrors of paramilitary recruitment.