• Improving communication skills 1 and 2 •Vocational program•Teenage Mothers•Homework Clinics- Cali School•Las Palmas School•After Shool Program - Tunja • Teresa Toda homes for abandoned girls• De la Cruz School
Why Help the Children of Colombia ?
Inocent children are being affected by the conflict in Colombia and, without help they will become part of the problem. more
Welcome to ColombiaCare
A non-profit organization dedicated at giving Colombian children opportunities for a better future. Since 2003,ColombiaCare has impacted many lives and it continues to do so. See the various projects we have had in the past. Today, we have focused our energies and resources in two very successful programs as described below.
Giving girls a chance... a Soccer program that has changed the future of some girls
Girls in economical depressed areas are the most vulnerable population. We can see the effects in some of the poorest areas of Cali. Girls as young as five years old become responsible for the household chores, including taking care of their younger siblings to allow their parents to go to work. Pregnancy in very young girls is becoming a serious issue in this population. Many times these pregnancies are welcomed by these girls; they see having their own family as their only future and as a means to have something of "their own".
We started the Girls Soccer project in 2009 as an experiment to try something different for these at-risk girls in one of the poorest areas of Cali . The objective was to offer them a broader horizon, and to give them new opportunities, discipline and drive, in a fun and healthy environment. And in the back of our minds, our goal was to avoid early pregnancies.
In addition of soccer training, the project provides support through discussions, seminars and other activities, for a period of three years. This project has been a resounding success. The first group of girls, now young women, continues to practice as a team on their own. The second group is close to finishing their three-year program and the third group is already in their initial training. The friendship, sense of family and mutual support that was developed during the three-year program has had lasting effects. Most of these young women finished their high school education, some are working, others are following technical careers and two are at the University!!! The fact that none of these girls got pregnant, that they finished their high school educations, and that two of them are going to the University, something very rare and unusual in their environment, is the best indicator of the program success.Video
Another beautiful surprise this year was the fact that one young woman from the first group, started to train young girls in her neighborhood. We couldn't ask for a better result than this. In fact, the two groups of young girls play against each other from time to time.
Giving a chance to rural children
Education and opportunities in Colombian small rural communities are very scarce and low quality. Children of these communities are poorly prepared to break the poverty cycle. Those who stay in the rural areas will have little chance to do something other than agricultural, service or construction labor. Those who migrate to the bigger cities are ill-prepared to confront the temptations and dangers of more populated and demanding areas. Gato de Monte, a community of about 100 families in the outskirts of Jamundi about 20 miles south of Cali , is not the exception. ColombiaCare has been working with the community since 2008, and we have completed several projects in this community.
One of our biggest concerns with the children of this community is their lack of concentration and therefore, their academic performance leaves too much to be desired. Earlier in 2013, we initiated two programs for the children to improve their concentration. One on motivational reading and one on drawing and painting. I have to say that we had high hopes with these two programs. Unfortunately, there was a high attrition from the children as the programs went on.
Based on the lessons learned? with these two programs we made many adjustments and defined a third program, a Music program. This time we made the parents sign a commitment form and made them pay a nominal fee. Nineteen children signed for the program. Well, so far so good. The kids already had eight sessions and only two children have missed one session each with a justifiable reason. The children love these classes. In the six years that we have been working with this community I have never seen the children so well behaved, arriving on time, very concentrated and excited. The instructor is also excellent. He is fun but very demanding and the kids are responding.
The children are doing so well, that with the instructor we decided to have them give a small presentation playing Christmas carols in the development where my husband and I live while in Colombia. The children were very motivated with this possibility. They didn't complain with the extra rehearsal time, on the contrary, they wanted more.
At the event the instructor played the melody and the children accompanied with percussion instruments. It was amazing and wonderful to see how well behaved and poised the children were. There were more than 100 people who attended the event and of course the children loved the attention and the applause. Sure, they aren't ready for Carnegie Hall, but see their performance in this little movie. See Video.
We have the feeling, that like in the case of the soccer for the girls, we cracked the code for the motivation and concentration for these children: music!