After 50 years of civil war, there is now hope for peace in Colombia, but the effects of conflict remain evident. Y Care International is working with YMCA Bogotá
to help stabilise an uncertain future for 3000 young people in the capital.
About the project
Y Care International is working with Bogotá YMCA to reach 3000 young people in one of the poorest districts of the Colombian capital. We are providing them with personal support and the training needed to start small businesses.
The project was designed to enable young people to transform their lives. Bogotá YMCA are 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, to protect their sexual health and learn conflict resolution within the family setting.
The country’s history
Colombia’s 50 year conflict continues to make the country an extremely hard place for young people to grow up in. High levels of crime, violence and sexual exploitation, together with inconsistent access to a good education, make Colombia’s young people vulnerable to becoming involved in these situations.
Young Colombians are faced with high levels of crime and violence in Bogotá’s most deprived neighborhoods, as well as struggling to find jobs and education. Youth unemployment in Colombia is high with almost one in every five young people out of work.
Although Colombia has one of the fastest growing economies in South America, it remains one of the most unequal countries in the world. Almost three million Colombians live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than £1 a day.
How are we helping?
Focusing on the most vulnerable young people, we work with YMCA Bogotá to train and support them to set up businesses or secure employment. This prevents them from being dragged into a life of violence and crime while ensuring they have an income, improve relationships with their families and can participate in their local communities.
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.
What do 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 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.