The Emiliani Project in Medellin, Colombia
The Emiliani Project is a U.S. based non-profit focused on the rescue and care of orphaned and abandoned kids in every country. However, we had to start somewhere and that somewhere is Colombia. The reasons are many, but the problems faced by these children in Colombia are so great, we could not turn our back on the problem.
That problem: poverty. In Colombia, 65% of the population is below the international poverty line according to the United Nations. This compares to 17% in Mexico. 8.2% of Colombians live below the extreme poverty line, defined as living on less than $1.25 per day. There are over 100,000 children living in extreme poverty in the city of Medellin alone. With poverty comes hunger and abuse for these children.
Hunger is expanding faster in Colombia than even the poorest parts of Africa. In fact, 50% of the Colombian population is food insecure. By comparison, the number is 35% in Haiti. In Colombia, 12% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition; and a child dies violently there every 5 minutes.
Physical abuse for these children is also on a sharp rise. A recent report from the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) indicates that the number of complaints of mistreatment of children has almost doubled, from 2006 to 2011, with a 100% rise in cases of sexual abuse. The abuse includes child prostitution, pornography, and sex tourism involving minors. Many suffer other forms of psychological and physical abuse. In 2011 alone, 45,000 children went missing, were exploited for labor, or ended up begging in the streets.
Many of the Colombian children that suffer from hunger and abuse are orphans – there are 600,000 of them in Colombia. These are children who are not adequately cared for by their parents, relatives or government agencies. These children often lack opportunities for education, basic housing, hygiene, and basic medical care. They will likely end up in gangs, sell illegal drugs or goods or turn to prostitution for income; and they will rarely have an opportunity to escape. They are likely to have their own children at a young age and perpetuate the cycle of poverty and violence.
The objective of The Emiliani Project in Colombia is to rescue orphaned and abandoned children living in poverty in the city and put them on a path to a normal, healthy life. Working with a local and experienced charitable foundation – Fundacion Gente Unida – we have established two current initiatives:
- Hogar Bohío de María. The Emiliani Project supports this home of 170 children without families. Visit our Hogar Bohío de María page for more information on how you can help.
- Hogar de Cristo. The Emiliani Project is constructing a brand new home for 160 more orphaned and abandoned children. Vist our Hogar de Cristo page for more information on our new home construction and how you can help.
If you are interested in coming to Medellin, Colombia to work with our children or on the construction of our new home, please visit our Mission Trips page for more information, email us at [email protected], or fill out the form below. You can make a difference.