Champions of Peace
Jefferson is a self-assured and articulate 15-year-old from Buenaventura. He loves football and chess. Now, through our partner Fundescodes, he’s discovered a new passion – film making. With his friends at the project, he makes films that shine a light on the reality of life in their community, one of the most violent and historically neglected in all Colombia.
But Jefferson hasn’t always been the confident young man he is today.
Growing up in a place where conflict, extortion, drugs and domestic abuse are common can have a severe impact on children’s mental health. When Jefferson joined the project a few years ago he was painfully shy; he would stare at the ground and couldn’t make eye contact with the adults who spoke to him.
Even so, he knew he’d found a safe haven. He enjoyed learning about his rights and feeling like he was part of a movement for change in his community.
The project recognised his potential and invited him to join their young leaders group.
Within a year, Jefferson was unrecognisable! He quickly learnt to use a camera and became the go-to person for taking photos and filming interviews at the project. He started to help plan Fundescodes’ public events and took care of attendees on the day.
Last year he was chosen to open Fundescodes’ annual youth forum on children’s rights. In a strong, clear voice he welcomed over 200 children and adults from Buenaventura’s most marginalised communities. His voice defied fear - not only his fear of public speaking, but the fear generated by the pervasive violence of armed groups that has paralysed and silenced his community.
Jefferson is proof that even in the most difficult places, when given a chance and safe surroundings, children can flourish and become the champions of peace in Colombia.
Please help children like Jefferson to do more with their lives than they ever knew was possible.
You can watch Jefferson in action, in a film he made for us last year, by clicking here.