Colombian Child Labor

Colombian Child Labor“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”
— Kofi Annan

You may not see them, but they are there: the invisible children of Colombia working in the dank and dusty mines and quarries. These Colombian children are subjected to workloads far exceeding their youthful physical capabilities. While youth employment is a common practice in most countries and can help young people learn responsibility and skills, this should never come at the cost of a child’s health and education.

Too many Colombian children are working long hours under brutal conditions. The result of such hard work is hugely affecting their bone development, the ultimate possibility of lung and skin problems; and even worse—death.

For some of these children education is non-existent. There is barely enough time in the day for the work they must complete. Statistics also reveal exploitation in the home environment with young girls logging 15 hours of work per week instead of going to school. Yet this is the lifestyle they know and have become accustom to.

With an estimated two million Colombian children laboring deep within mines and quarries, farming acres of agricultural fields, and working numerous other jobs throughout the country the Colombian government recently stepped in to try and help the situation.

Minister Rafael Pardo announced back in November that new policies for the promotion of youth employment would stop Colombian child labor and promote education and reasonable youthful employment. The intention is to avoid children abandoning their studies to seek a living in tunnels and places unfit for young people. This program will be scrutinized by the Youth Employment Committee, which was created to study, review and provide feedback on the issue of Colombian child labor. We can only hope that the program is a success.

Today, we are doing everything possible to rescue Colombian children from unfathomable conditions and get them not only off the streets, but also out of debilitating and demoralizing situations. They need to be cared for and loved and educated and protected in safe and healthy conditions.

Without the strong education we are providing these children, they will never be able to be anything but victims of poverty, prostitution, addiction, violence and more. With your generous support, we are not only feeding Colombian youth physically, but mentally as well; providing them empowerment on every level. Your donations support us in achieving this goal.

Please help the children of Colombia by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter .

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Colombian Education Continues to Improve

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
― Malcolm X

Going to college is becoming more than just an impossible reverie for Colombia children who may not even have been able to conceive graduating high school. According to the article in Colombia Reports entitled, “Colombia govt invests $28M in higher education,” the government has approved more than $28 million for higher education projects in central Colombia.

Bolstering the quality of Colombian education has become a huge focus, and rightfully so for a country that’s aggressively attempting to transform their economy.

According to the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Winds of Change in Higher Education in Colombia and the World: Where Are We Heading?” the number of high school graduates in Colombia increased by 50 percent from 2002 to 2010. It is anticipated that this will increase to another 28 percent by 2014.

The Colombian government is striving to go from 37 percent of college-age students (age 18 to 24) enrolled in higher education to a 50 percent college-age student enrollment rate in only three years.

It is true that a prosperous future for Colombian children is more obtainable with a college education, and the fact that the Colombian government is working tenaciously to improve the Colombian education system gives our organization much hope, but a solid foundation must be formed to get there. Children who aren’t adequately cared for lack the opportunities to obtain even basic education.

The Emiliani Project provides Colombian children that could have easily ended up in gangs or prostitution the opportunity to learn how to read, write, and solve problems so they are adequately prepared for secondary education.

It’s crucial that in addition to a formal education, orphaned and abandoned children are given a safe, stable, nurturing environment with ample encouragement to stay in school.

In order to provide the kind of education and care capable of stifling the vicious cycle of poverty and violence for these children we need your help. We need people to spread the word about our organization’s mission. We need volunteers and donations. How will you help these beautiful Colombian children live a happy, healthy life and realize their dreams?

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Number Of Displaced Colombian Children Surges

According to the article from Colombia Reports entitled, “Colombia ill-equipped to care for displaced children: NGO,” the number of displaced Colombian children surged to 17, 573 in 2012. This far surpasses the amount of children the Colombian government is adequately prepared to care for.

And the numbers are increasing. Beyond malnutrition and sickness, many of these children have suffered extreme emotional trauma stemming from psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The article in Colombia Reports highlights the magnitude of psychological treatment needed as a result of this. “‘The issues of psychological rehabilitation are the most difficult and long-lasting to work with. [Treatment] isn’t the same at two years of age [as it is at] 10. Each child requires a particular and specific treatment,’ said deputy director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute Adriana Gonzalez.”

The massive displacement of Colombian children is primarily due to a continuous armed conflict in the nation. It’s been estimated by the Colombian government that more than 600,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began in 1964. As a result, thousands of Colombian children have been left without homes or family to care for them. These innocent children end up on the streets of Colombia as beggars or worse.

The Emiliani Project needs your help in order to give these innocent children the lives they deserve, complete with a full-time home where they are protected, lovingly cared for and able to receive a formal education.

You can help by simply sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter to help increase awareness and the numbers of those assisting displaced Colombian children.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Emiliani Project: February Newsletter

Recent News

The Emiliani Project has begun the first of three phases of our first project in Medellin, Colombia.  We are building a loving home that will eventually provide safe haven to 160 orphaned and abandoned children .  We have selected a beautiful property just 30 minutes south of Medellin in the city of Caldas.

Phase 1 consists of the renovation of existing structures on the property, the structural and architectural design, and city site and building permits for the home.  We anticipate completing Phase 1 in the spring of 2013.  Phase 2 will consist of the construction of all common areas and sufficient sleeping and classroom space for 64 children.  We hope to begin Phase 2 by the end of 2013.  Phase 3 will consist of the construction of the additional sleeping and classroom space to support 160 children.  The start of Phase 3 will be dependent on our fundraising efforts.

Visit us on Facebook to see the renderings of the most recent designs.

Volunteer Opportunities

We get many requests from people asking how they can help.  There are many things we need, so here are some ideas:

In the U.S.  If you want to help here at home, our biggest need is awareness.  We have to spread the word on what we are doing as it helps tremendously with our fundraising efforts. Some easy ways to help include going to our Facebook page to “Like” it.  Visit our website.  Follow us on Twitter.  Then encourage your friends, family and coworkers to do the same!  Want to think bigger?  Some other ideas include coordinating a fundraiser event on our behalf.  Our team will come to your city and speak to any size group to help.  Get your kids involved. We have a group of high school kids that formed an Emiliani club at their school to help us raise awareness.  Bringing kids into the solution is a great way to encourage them to learn more about how children in other parts of the world live.

In Colombia.  Feel like getting on a plane?  Come to Colombia!  We have many opportunities for you and your family to work with orphans right now through our partner foundation there.  It’s an experience of a lifetime!  We can help you plan a visit that will be easy and safe.  You can even come to the site of our project and see, first hand, what we are doing.  Want to pick up a hammer?  Great!

Fundraising Update

We have already begun development of our home in Medellin, but we are far from reaching our fundraising goals.  We will be releasing our final budget estimate for the project soon, but we need your help now.  If you have already donated, then THANK YOU!  And if you’ve been meaning to make a contribution, please consider making it soon.