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Our History

For over 30 years, we have committed to protecting, empowering, and supporting children and young people in Colombia who are at risk of some of the most neglected issues. 

Where did it all begin?

In 1989, the BBC broadcasted a documentary about children living in the sewers in Bogotá, a tragedy that sparked an emotional response around the world. This inspired a group of volunteers and donors in the UK to found our organisation to help these children to leave the streets and to provide them with shelter, clothes, food, and safety.

Over 30 years later, Children Change Colombia remains dedicated to transforming the lives of the most vulnerable children and their families across the country. 

1992
Our first children's home

We built our first children’s home, which housed over 300 children and taught them trades such as carpentry, weaving, baking, and leatherwork. The centre offered a complete education, trade training, health care, and recreational programmes.

1990s
Flying Doctor Service

We supported the Flying Doctor Service in north-west Colombia to fight against life-threatening diseases such as malaria and cholera. The service also provided surgeries for those with disabilities and a Blindness Prevention Programme.

1996
Fe y Alegría youth centre founded

The Fe y Alegría youth centre was founded as a peace-building initiative that sought to use music and dance to engage children in gangs from Usme, Bogotá. The centre went on to implement rap and break dance workshops with street gang members.

2000s
The Cedavida Organisation

We supported the Cedavida Organisation in setting up a ‘peacebuilding community’ in Apartadó, which helped families displaced by conflict to start a new life by providing over 7,700 people with therapeutic, nutritional, educational or vocational help.

2003
Colegio del Cuerpo

We began working with Colegio del Cuerpo, an artistic and educational centre, to launch a social dance project which helped children recover from the trauma of witnessing war and increase their sense of self-worth. Reports showed that the programme also improved school attendance, academic performance, and ability to deal with conflict.

2004
Fundamor Foundation

We started working with the Fundamor Foundation to provide medical, educational, and emotional support to orphaned and abandoned children affected by HIV/AIDS.

2010
Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes (ACJ)

We began our partnership with ACJ (YMCA), who provide recreational workshops in Bogotá for children and their families to learn about their rights and how to protect themselves from sexual exploitation.

2010s
Fundación Carvajal

We partnered with Fundación Carvajal to address low attainment levels in five schools in Buenaventura. The foundation worked with 500 children to develop skills to protect themselves from violence and keep them off the streets.

2013
Tiempo de Juego

We launched a project with Tiempo de Juego in Cazucá, Soacha to promote vital skills and positive role models for children through football and dance, as well as a work creation programme. The projects help to combat child recruitment and prevent young people from joining gangs.

2015
Fundación CRAN

With the support of Fundación CRAN, we began working to reintegrate children and young people who have been part of illegal armed groups back into normal life in Bogotá and Villavicencio.

2016
Fundescodes

We supported Fundescodes in Buenaventura, a strategic area in the Colombian conflict, to protect children’s rights and to support those who have been exposed to violence and suffering in the conflict.

2017
Círculo de Estudios

We partnered with Círculo de Estudios to reduce the risk of conflict-related sexual violence against children and young people in Quibdó and Cartagena.

2019
ACADESAN

We began working with ACADESAN to prevent the use of child labour in illegal mining, deforestation and coca farming in rural Chocó and Valle del Cauca by improving quality of education and tackling high dropout rates.

2021
El Orígen

We began providing better access to education in the northern Caribbean region of Colombia by partnering with El Origen, who work in five schools to help teachers to create fun, educational lessons for an app that works offline, so that children in the most rural regions can still access education.

2022
Misión Gaia

We partnered with Misión Gaia to improve education by providing teacher training, resources and extracurricular activities to improve social skills and vocational training.

2023
Colombia Colores

We launched our first UK-based project, Colombia Colores, to teach children of the diaspora living in London about the richness of Colombian culture through workshops on music, art, dance, nature, language and more.

2024
Scholarship Programme

Thanks to our partnership with Politécnico Gran Colombiano and Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, we launched our scholarship programme, which helps 4 students from la Sierra Nevada to attend university with funding for tuition, personal computers, an internet allowance, travel costs and psychosocial support throughout their five years of study.

What's next?

To this day, we have helped nearly 73,000 children to overcome traumas caused by poverty, armed conflict, displacement, and exclusion from education.

So far, we have raised over £15 million to fund the 71 projects that we have carried out in collaboration with grassroots organisations across Colombia. 

We hope you can join us in the next stage of our journey.

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