Colombia - Giving something back

Giving something back

Friends of Colombia for Social Aid

This UK-based charity is devoted to improving the lives of some of Colombia’s most disadvantaged children by supplying much-needed medical and educational equipment. Each year, it is inundated with requests for help from children’s hospitals and charities and is looking for funding and sponsors in a bid to fulfil the demand. FOSCA is currently working with the Hospital de la Misericordia in Bogotá, the Guardería Hogar Infantil La Esmeralda in Popayán, Liga contra la Epilepsia Capítulo Valle in Cali, the Asociación Benéfi ca Cristiana ABC Prodein in Bogotá, the Liga Colombiana de Hemofilicos y otras Defi ciencies Sanguineas in Bogotá, Guarderia Infantil Niña María in Cazucá, the Hospital San José in Samaná, the Fundación CRAN in Bogotá and the Hospital Club Noel, Cali.

Healing Colombia: Family Care

This small, Bogotá charity is totally youth-focused, working in inner-city areas where Colombia’s problems with poverty, drug-taking and gang crime are most prevalent. In partnership with government institutions, the therapeutic community and other NGOs in Bogotá, it runs programmes for the underprivileged. It also delivers humanitarian aid to Colombia’s poorest communities. Projects include a drug prevention programme in Bogotá’s slums, a drug rehab programme in the Colombian prison system, health and lifestyle counselling, music therapy sessions, sports programmes and other recreational activities and English-language courses.

Healing Colombia is actively seeking a wide range of volunteer workers and is fundraising for donations via the Family Care Foundation in America. Managers Mario Torres and Sophia Dow are also in desperate need of teaching materials, Spanish-speaking counsellors and rehab specialists. They also require musicians to help implement their highly successful music therapy programme.

SOS Children's Villages

SOS has had a presence in Colombia since 1968, and 1971 saw the fi rst arrivals in its Children’s Village in Bogotá. Th e capital attracts large numbers of displaced persons from the country’s rural areas and has a sizeable poor community. As a consequence, the number of orphans in Bogotá is particularly large. Today SOS Children’s Villages has five centres across the country, including those in Bogotá, Ibagué, Rionegro and Bucaramanga. However in a country where over one million children aged 5–17 are working and more than one million have been displaced in the last 15 years, the challenges are tough. As well as providing long-term care for orphaned and abandoned children in Colombia, SOS Children is involved in caring for street children in Bogotá. In the San Vitorino district many children find that stealing and drug dealing are their only means of survival. SOS provides food, shelter and education for these abandoned children, many of whom have never had an education or the support of a family unit. The oldest Bogotá Village is run by the inspirational Fabio Curtidor Argüello and contains 12–18 homes for ‘families’ of ten children in close-knit settings. They are desperate for musical instruments, sports equipment and art materials. They also need funding and sponsors and are keen to attract volunteers for project work, preferably Spanish-speakers. 

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