Help make the children's hopes a reality this Christmas
What is the most important thing about Christmas? We asked children in Colombia
Their answers are probably much like those of anyone who celebrates at this time of year.
Christmas means peace, prosperity and love.
But for the children we support, these aren’t simply words on a Christmas card. They are very real things that the children have rarely known. They represent basic human rights that are constantly under threat because of where these children live.
These are children who have had their lives and families torn apart by conflict, poverty and abuse. Yet they haven’t given up hope of a different future, and at Christmas this hope is stronger than ever.
Sofia is 14. She lives in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, in a neighbourhood where families survive in extreme poverty. The area is known as a magnet for drug gangs and people traffickers.
“I hope this Christmas will be better. I hope that nobody is hurt and that people learn to share, that there is no hate and no death.”
Maria is 15. She lives in the same neighbourhood as Sofía. They both attend our local partner’s youth centre where they are getting help to overcome past traumas and plan a happy, fulfilling future for themselves.
“I love this time because I can forget everything that’s going on in my daily life. This Christmas I wish that me and my family get somewhere nicer to live, and that next year we have enough money for rent, food and clothes.”
Armando is 16. Last year, he escaped from the armed group that recruited him when he was a young child. Thanks to our partner’s rehabilitation project in Bogotá, he has a foster family and gets therapy and schooling with other young people who have had similar lives. This is the first Christmas in years that Armando will be spending in a safe place.
“I have mates here. We have a good time together. I’ll be spending Christmas with them, and although I can’t be with my [biological] family, I am grateful that I can be with my friends.”
There is no quick fix to the challenges faced by Sofia, Maria and Armando, and thousands of other children like them across Colombia. We are committed to being there for them for as long as it takes.
They can have peace, prosperity and love at Christmas and for the rest of their lives. For this, they need your support.
Please donate today.
Donate for peace: £10 pays for a child to take part in 48 hours of music and dance workshops, keeping them out of the reach of the armed groups that control their neighbourhood.
Donate for prosperity: £25 provides a young person at risk with job hunting and work skills training, and introductions to potential employers in their community.
Donate for love: £86 provides a whole year of professional support for the foster parents of a former child soldier, helping them give the emotional and practical care the child needs to adjust to their new life.
For whatever you can give, thank you.