Young people are prevented from being dragged into a life of violence and crime when they are supported to create an income for themselves, improve relationships with families and participate in their local communities.

Young people are learning skills at YMCA Bogota to earn themselves a vital income, and leave a life of violence behind. Photo: Elena Marin-Yanez/YCI Young people are learning skills at YMCA Bogota to earn themselves a vital income, and leave a life of violence behind.

Over the next three years we will work with Bogotá YMCA to reach 3,000 young people in one of the poorest districts of the Colombian capital, providing them with personal support and the training needed to start small businesses, so they are able to transform their lives.

Colombia’s 50 year conflict continues to make the country an extremely hard place for young people to grow up in. Six million Colombians live in extreme poverty, and a further 21 million are poor. Young Colombians are faced with high levels of crime and violence in Bogota’s most deprived neighbourhoods, as well as struggling to find jobs and education.

What we are doing to help

Bogotá YMCA will be supporting young people aged 15-24 who are vulnerable to involvement, or currently involved, in drugs, crime and violence, as well as school drop-outs and young people forced to live on the streets. Through our work they will be able to learn the skills they need to start a small business, and to protect their sexual and reproductive health.

Those young people already involved in drug and alcohol abuse will be able to get the care they need as our work removes their barriers to accessing health services. Young people and their family members will receive counselling to help them overcome the traumas pushed on them by conflict and rebuild their relationships with each other. The YMCA will also train youth peer educators who will go out into schools and communities to teach other young people and children about living in harmony with one another.

The project will increase knowledge in communities about ways to protect young people from violence and crime and lobby decision makers to act on their responsibilities to protect young people in Colombia.

What we hope to achieve

  • Vastly increased income opportunities for 300 young people through livelihoods training and support, enabling them to start a small business so they can provide for themselves.
  • 3,000 children and young people in schools will have increased resilience and protection from involvement in violence, drugs and crime.
  • Raised community awareness of the issues faced by young people growing up in Bogotá, and the alternatives available to them

More about our work here

Young people are learning skills at YMCA Bogota to earn themselves a vital income, and leave a life of violence behind. Photo: Elena Marin-Yanez/YCI

Colombia

After five decades of civil war, a ceasefire and talks between the government and Farc rebels brought hope for peace in Colombia. But with the country narrowly rejecting the terms of the peace deal in a referendum, the future remains uncertain.

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