Update on MADRE’s Work in Colombia
Taller de Vida began Year Three of Reinventing Life Through Art in 2006-07, and used the generous contributions from Global Giving members to complete Stage Four of the project. Activities included:
MADRE provided technical assistance and funding to facilitate a series of trainings on filming and editing videos. The young people working with Taller de Vida have already created several videos and requested technical assistance on editing them. In response, MADRE arranged a one-week visit to Taller de Vida for a volunteer active in our Sisters Without Borders (SWB) program.
This partner, who previously trained members of our sister organization CHIRAPAQ in Peru, conducted trainings that focused specifically on films that document the situation of young people in armed conflict, their experiences of displacement, and their hopes and dreams. He worked with 23 young people in the Taller de Vida center in Usme (a district near Bogotá that, as a consequence of the ongoing war, consistently receives the second-highest number of displaced persons in the country). Trainings took place in the morning and afternoon; morning sessions served teens ages 17-20 years old, and the afternoon sessions were for participants ages 11-20.
Purchase of Equipment for the Videography Program
MADRE provided new equipment for the innovative videography program being carried out by Taller de Vida. The equipment and software for video editing were brought to Colombia by our SWB volunteer, an expert in film recording and editing, who taught Taller de Vida staff and participants to use it.
• (1) Apple Computer - 15” screen – with Final Cut Pro for editing videos
• (1) External Hard drive LACIE 250gb
• (1) Camcorder SONY HVR-A1U
• (1) Camcorder Panasonic PV-GS300
• (2) Batteries
• (2) UV Protector filter
• (20) Cassettes DVM – 60 minutes
• (1) Tripod Velbon Sherpa
MADRE has also provided support for the purchase of two computers for the Taller de Vida children’s library, and helped strengthen the activities implemented in the Youth Center in Usme (including theatre, dance, music, and photography workshops).
Impact and Beneficiaries
Reinventing Life Through Art continues to serve Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, and mestizo (Spanish-descent) youth between the ages of 13 and 19 who live in the poorest neighborhoods of Bogotá and are at high risk for aggressive (often forced) recruitment by Colombian military and paramilitary forces. Direct beneficiaries number about 1,500 and indirect beneficiaries total approximately 4,000. In the past three years, hundreds of children (including many former child soldiers and many children who narrowly escaped forced recruitment) have participated in Reinventing Life Through Art, where they have developed new skills, worked with Taller de Vida’s psychologists and social workers to heal from the trauma they have endured, and found new hope for themselves and their families.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the project involves alumni returning to Taller de Vida to mentor newcomers. A source of hope for both new and former students, Reinventing Life Through Art helps vulnerable young people create life-sustaining relationships, develop concrete skills, count on safe outlets for their frustration, improve their ability to generate income, heal from trauma, and support others in those processes. The project creates a cycle of positive reinforcement, as new members of the group see the successes of former students, and graduates see new young people entering the project and turning their lives around with Taller de Vida’s support. We thank Global Giving members for your important support for this necessary project and hope that you will continue your support.