Facts About Friends of Colombian Orphans:
- Hogares Club Michin, an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia, has been partnering with Friends of Colombian Orphans for 5 years. Friends of Colombian Orphans (FOCO) fundraises in the USA and the UK in order to buy knitting machines and pay for yarn, machine maintenance and a teacher at the orphanage as part of their vocational training program. As a nonprofit based in the USA, the four people who operate the charity ( three in the USA and one in the UK) do not take salaries. 100% of donations go to supporting the program. You can learn more about Hogares Club Michin please visit the website
- There are 7 machines: six are for items made with thin yarn. The 7th machine is for thicker/bulkier items. All machines are professional grade and cost FOCO $1300 each. Colombia has a strong knitwear culture: FOCO’s and Club Michin’s shared goal is to empower teens who otherwise might not have a future in the city of Bogota without this kind of training when they age out of the orphanage at age 18. The other shared goal is to grow big enough to create a cooperative where graduates of the program can come back to knit and make a living.
- The afternoon classes accommodate up to 13 students. While half the students work on the machines, the other half learn crucial handwork techniques, such as finishing.
- Club Michin has been running classes morning and afternoons. Students attend a total of three hours, 4 days a week. The morning classes accommodate up to 8 students: they are devoted to new learners who need more one on one help, and to children younger than 14 who are being introduced to the art of machine knitting , in the hope that they may choose to become serious students in the program when they get older.
- As important as learning the basics of knitting is, there is other components to the program that is just as crucial. It is an opportunity to teach and reinforce personal and interpersonal skills in a work setting, and to help those teens transitioning from institutionalized living to the outside world learn social and behavioral skills that will serve them well in the future. Being in the program also bolsters self-esteem: our program is working with kids who have had NOTHING in their lives, neither material goods nor affection. They get to see that they are capable of doing great things! Thank you for helping us reinforce this.
- So far in 2013 and 2014, 8 teens have worked on knitted items for Elephant Branded, a nonprofit in the UK that has graciously agreed to partner with us. The students are paid for their time dedicated to knitting items for Elephant Branded. Money is put into a savings account for them for when they age out of the orphanage. The teens have the option to take out some of the money for personal use. For example, one knitter took out money to buy a goodbye present for his brother who was being adopted. Empowering these teens is what FOCO is all about.
Thank you for your support!