Transforming neglected regions - Project Talk 2018
Thank you to all who attended and contributed to making the evening a great success!
This year’s talk focused on our work with children at risk in some of the remotest and most neglected regions of Colombia.
We premiered two new films on the night which gave touching insights into the reality of life for young people who are growing up cut off from the resources and opportunities that so many of us take for granted.
As context for the films, our team explained why we are moving into remoter communities. These communities– Buenaventura, rural indigenous communities in Putumayo, and the coastal and jungle areas of Chocó – are on the ‘front line’ of the peace building process in Colombia. This is where lasting peace will be won, or lost.
Following the 2016 Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, many hoped that it would lead to the withdrawal of violent actors from vulnerable communities, particularly those who had been effectively cut off from the rest of Colombia by the conflict. This, in turn, was to bring the resurgence of local democracy and the extension into these communities of security and public services from the state, which had hitherto been unable to enter. This remains the hope. But the course of rebuilding communities was never going to run so smooth.
In many communities, the formal withdrawal of the FARC has led to the incursion of other illegal armed groups. The end of the FARC conflict has brought into sharper focus the persistence of other underlying problems – the continued malign influence of the international drugs trade, and the marginalisation that disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.
Such factors pose real and urgent threats to the safety of thousands of children and young people in remote and neglected communities. It is precisely to these communities that Children Change Colombia is extending its work, in order to empower young people to build resilient communities and to resist the many threats that they continue to face.
We believe it is crucial to give these children the skills and opportunities to make their voices heard. This, alongside making sure adults listen to what children have to say, is the foundation of our work.
So much can start for children when they feel listened to – it boosts their self-esteem, it challenges their sense of hopelessness, and it lets them know that their opinions and ideas are valuable.
As a Children Change Colombia supporter, you play a crucial role in making these children feel listened to. Thank you for reading and sharing their stories and for letting them know you’re on their side!