MADRE provides critical services for Colombian youth who are at risk of being recruited as child-soldiers, giving them the support they need to create alternatives to a life of combat and violence.
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.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
Blog Entry from MADRE Volunteer Miguel Macias
More about Taller de Vida