Stories from our partners
Stories from Colombia
We want to introduce you to some of the young people our partners have been working with this year.
Please note that all names have been changed and while the photos on this page are taken from our partner's, they do not include the subjects of these stories for safeguarding purposes'
(Mariana is supported by AJC Bogota)
'Hi, I'm Mariana, I'm 15 years old and I'm in the tenth grade. I live with my mom, dad and my brother. We haven't had an easy life as a family, because of my mom's medical issues. My dad is always busy working so my brother and I have to take her to the hospital. Before my mom got sick she fought with my dad all the time, and sometimes she would hit him. Sometimes I got so sad that I would think about ending my life.
Then one of my teachers introduced me to art, and I got involved with the programmes run by ACJ, such as dance and youth theatre. Since then art has been my refuge, as it means I can express myself freely, and show my family that I have talent.
Ultimately, the workshops and body expression sessions have helped me take ownership of my body, and I now see how valuable I am as a woman'
(Maria is supported by AJC Bogota)
'My name is Maria, and I am 13 years old. Throughout my life I have experienced a lot of sadness which has held me back from growing up and succeeding like the rest of my class. When I was younger I was a victim of sexual abuse by a close relative, and I recently told my mum, who found it hard to understand and didn't know what to do. I saw a psychologist, but I didn't feel like it was helping.
When I heard about AJC through school I started seeing their psychologist for support and had a much better experience. I now feel like I understand things much better and feel like I have support when things are difficult.
I am really grateful because I have the strength to move forward now, and I don't need to go backwards anymore.'
(Niccole is supported by Circulo de Estudios)
'My name is Niccole, I have been in Circulo de Estudio's 'People on the Move' programme for 5 years. My family and I came to Quibdó as displaced persons after fleeing the violence in another part of Colombia. It was very difficult for me to leave home, and I had to say goodbye to my friends, my school and our belongings.
When we arrived in Quibdó we lived in a very unsafe neighbourhood and my mother wouldn't let us leave the house. I was very sad and so bored.
I have always loved to dance. One day, a manager of the programme spoke to my mother about the People on the Move programme, saying I could learn to dance there. As soon as I joined the programme the other children welcomed me with so much affection, and I made friendships that I still keep to this day! In the programme I was able to dance as well as discover new talents, such as acting, drawing and public speaking!
I have now finished high school and I am attending university, so that one day I can start a foundation like Circulo de Estudios which supports families like mine who have been displaced by violence.
I am currently a leader within the programme, and I hope that next year I will be promoted to manager.'