Children Change Colombia Christmas appeal
“My name is Yamile. Where I’m from, we don’t have electricity or running water. Education is poor and there’s no university. The government makes millions extracting oil from our land, but they don’t invest in our communities.
"Young people feel abandoned. Lots of my classmates have dropped out of school to earn £5 a day picking coca leaves. I have friends suffering from depression, and suicide rates are high because children don’t see a future for themselves.
"We want to do more with our lives. But we need something to aspire to, and that requires investment in education.
"For the last four years I’ve been part of a wonderful project at my school where we learn about our rights. I’ve gained the confidence to deal with problems and demand what I’m entitled to.”
This Christmas, please donate to help young people like Yamile do more with their lives than pick coca leaves.
Children can find the answers
Extreme poverty levels in rural Colombia are more than twice as high as in urban centres. Added to the pressures of grinding poverty, many rural families face persistent violence and extortion by illegal armed groups and drugs gangs.
In Putumayo, where Yamile lives, the lack of educational and employment opportunities has meant that the only way many local people can make a living is by illegally farming coca.
Yamile is a youth leader from our partner Casa Amazonia and her story shows that, with the right support, young people can help to find the answers to these problems. And they are not afraid to insist that the authorities take action.
Earlier this year, in our youth forum, Yamile put her demand for better education directly to a Colombian Presidential candidate.
Casa Amazonia helps children and young people to protect themselves from violence and exploitation, and build a better future for themselves and their communities…and it’s working! They have already helped children to convince the government to provide full secondary education in schools in Putumayo.
£7 would help 40 children to begin to cope with difficult emotions by paying for a traditional music and dance session.
£26 would pay for a child to rediscover the joy of education and create a future for themselves away from the coca fields, as Yamile did.
£48 would provide intensive training for two community leaders, teaching them how to help local children protect themselves from the violence of drugs gangs.
£106 would pay for 12 young people from Putumayo to develop leadership skills so that they can take their demands for change to local and national decision-makers.
Children are changing Colombia but they need your help, so please donate today!
Read the full Christmas Appeal here.