Two of Alianza's kids!
Paige is GlobalGiving's Champion for Customer Bliss in our office in Washington, DC. During a trip to Colombia, she had the chance to visit some of GlobalGiving's projects. Here is her postcard from the field.
Visiting Cartagena, it’s easy to never see outside the walled, beautiful old city. But this is a small part of a larger story in this ancient, sprawling city. Olaya is a slum about 30 minutes from the old city and home to some of Cartagena’s most dangerous “bandas” or gangs. One minute we’re driving through high rises and high-end hotels, the next we’ve swerved south and east along the lagoon and down a couple dirt roads to Tiempo de Juegos’ offices just outside the main road.
Tiempo de Juego in Cartagena is slightly different set-up than their program in Cazuca, Bogotá. To make an even more impressive difference in the community they have partnered with Colombianitos to create Alianza - a collaborative effort to help teach the children of Olaya the importance of mutual respect, education, and thinking towards the future.
We arrived at the offices after practices had already finished for the day, but a couple of the kids were still hanging out around the office in their jerseys, kicking around a soccer ball. Leon, the Cartagena program leader, and I chatted about where the program is going. Alianza runs a variety of programs including table tennis, education programs, and after school tutoring. Education is all important to the programs – in order to participate, kids have to have a certificate from their school saying they attend – and Leon’s pride in this showed when some of the kids who are now attending vocational schools showed up. He introduced them proudly saying “this is why we do our work.”
After our chat, we wander through the neighborhood to visit the dusty but brightly painted field where the practices happen for the students in the mornings and late afternoons. Alianza’s name had been painted on the wall, and a small tree gives some much needed shade from the intense afternoon heat. After watching the kids kick around the ball a bit, we wander back to the office. I turned to one of the kids and asked,” Are you in school?”
“Do you like school? What is your favorite class?”
“Yes I do! Math is my favorite class.”
All in all, Alianza and Tiempo de Juego is doing interesting and impactful work in Olaya, and giving kids a safe and fun place to learn and grow.
Tiempo de Juego's football field
Meeting in the Alianza office