Sponsor a child in Colombia
Half a century of conflict has forced Colombian families from their homes and into poverty. Many children are abandoned by parents who cannot afford to care for them. Often, these children are forced into crime or labour.
You can help orphaned and abandoned children in Colombia by sponsoring a child:
A country ruptured by half a century of conflict
Over the past fifty years, war has brought murder, torture, civilian kidnappings and fear to Colombia. One in ten people living in Colombia today have been uprooted from their homes and livelihoods and forced to move elsewhere. As a consequence, poverty is high, and it is thought that 40% of the population lives below the national poverty line.
Huge gulfs exist between conditions in the city and those in the countryside. While in urban areas, water and sanitation are adequate, in rural parts, over a quarter are without clean drinking water.
Children without a home
- Though the situation may be better in the city, many children live on the streets, making a living from begging, labour and crime.
- Of the huge numbers that are orphaned or abandoned, many are recruited by street gangs which specialise in violence and drug abuse.
- Children who still have their parents often end up working to support the entire family, perhaps washing car windscreens, selling merchandise on the street, or collecting reusable items from waste tips.
- Children are not safe from the war. Thousands of child soldiers are trained to kill or be killed in Colombia's internal conflict.
Our Work in Colombia
Today, SOS Children supports hundreds of children in Colombia. We house orphaned and abandoned children in our Villages, and support families in the wider community. By offering children a loving family and somewhere secure to live, we help them succeed in adult life. Through vocational and academic training, we are breaking the cycle which has trapped generations in poverty and creating a better life for many of Colombia's children.
In 1971, we opened our first village in Colombia, in the country's capital of Bogota. Here, children who cannot live with their own family are given a new start in an SOS family home. Meanwhile, our Family Strengthening Programmes keep families together, helping parents earn a decent wage while their children benefit from day care.
In 1985 a volcanic eruption buried the city of Amero under a sea of mud and led us to build our second SOS Children's Village in Ibagué, the capital of the province of Tolima and about 30 miles south of the disaster area.
The SOS School provides primary and secondary education for children from both the Village and the wider community, ensuring our children remain very much a part of Ibagué society. A clinic at the Village is also open to local people, helping to maintain a healthy community. Likewise, children from the Village and the community at large learn side by side at our vocational training and social centre.
Our work in Rionegro began in 1996. Out in the community, our Family Strengthening Programmes work to hold families together, helping parents manage financial hardship without abandoning their children. With our help, many young mothers have been able to enter work and support their children, ensuring that these young people grow up in a loving family setting and enjoy a better childhood.
Our SOS Youth Programme gives young people a sense of purpose in life, offering training or the opportunity to benefit from higher education.
Our Village in the Venezualan border city of Floridablanca has been active since 1999. Children are cared for by loving SOS mothers in a a family home.
Where violence in the home or poverty has so often led to child abandonment, our Family Strengthening Programmes hold families together, allowing children to enjoy schooling, friendship and play while their parents earn a living. We provide day-care to parents so they can go out and work, their children in safe hands.
In 2003, we opened our fifth Colombian Village in the small town of Ipiales in the south of the country, near the border with Ecuador. In the community, childminding and day-care allows parents to earn a living while their children spend the day in safe hands. Our SOS Youth Programme enables children to learn a trade or go on to higher education, ensuring a better future for Ipiales.
SOS Children's Village Cali opened in 2009. It has 14 family houses and includes an SOS Social Centre that runs a Family Strengthening Programme.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Colombia: Marco's Story
Marco, now an independent young man, grew up in SOS Children’s Village Bogotá:
“The most unexpected thing for a child is to lose your mother. Such innocence came out of me when I lost my mother, when I was only five years old.
"At that moment, to arrive in this green palace, SOS Children's Village Bogotá, gave me the necessary peace and tranquility to go ahead. I still remember my first image of the village. I think all the children who have lived in this village remember it... When I arrived ... I first saw the park, a beautiful green park with a nice playground. In my short life of five years, I don't remember having been to a park.
"My stay in the village was something particular. I always loved the green areas around the houses. It was like magic.
"Today, I have a job. I just finished my studies of social communication and journalism and this is something that makes me feel very satisfied. My story of growing up in the village is something I appreciate and acknowledge in every respect. My love for this place is so great that today I would like to go back to be a child. Not only do the people but the gardens themselves continue calling me..."
Aldeas Infantiles SOS Colombia
Cra 45A No. 94-87
Barrio La Castellana
058882 Bogotá D.C., Colombia
Tel: +57/1/634 80 49
Fax: +57/1/533 68 25