Visit to Colombia January 2012

Some of the FOCO board members visited Colombia in January. The purpose was to visit Hogares Club Michin , and the Knitting Machine program, meet with Michin’s admin staff, visit with the students and plan  for the future.

We are excited to report that Michin is doing a great job in administrating not only the Knitting Machine program but the whole organization is amazing.

In a nutshell  they are an independent non-profit organization whose objective is to keep orphan and abandoned kids off the streets, give them a place to live with dignity, provide a family infracstructure so they can go to school, learn life skills, have fun and become good productive, educated citizens.

They have seven houses in a low income class neighborhood,  kids are  assigned to the houses according to age and gender for the older ones.  Each house has an admin and support staff, laundry, homework, meals, everything in each house.  Close by is the public school to which the children can walk. There is a nursery too!  Aside from everyday activities, the children are engaged in workshops, available are a bakery, (they make the most amazing roscones, more on that later), a woodshop , the instructor is a master woodworker, and the knitting workshop with our adorable Dora.

Children have access to healthcare, dentistry in both acute and prophylactic modes. Anyone who is a parent or has been around kids knows quite well what happens if one kid gets sick, pretty quick a family of 5 falls ill, think 17o kids!  As I said, distributed in 7 separate houses but each house might have an average of  30 kids, plus the staff.

One of the homes is reserved for battered women and their kids. Those women are either brought to shelter by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) or they seek shelter on their own.  This program is new, and demand is increasing day by day.

Michin houses an average of 170, one hundred have no legal connection to their families and can be adopted If they age out of the program, they have to leave, unless they are in school, and close to graduation. The close to age out population is our main concern, they have to have a skill that allows them to make a living and be able to tend for themselves. Machine knitting, woodworking, bakery are their options right now.

In a future post, I will tell you more about how the homes work. Show some pictures of activities, and tell you about our future goals.

One of the most fulfilling experiences of the trip, was chatting with the staff and finding that their goals and dreams for these kids are the same as  the Mission of Friends of Colombian Orphans.

We need your help, we have big goals, we can do it! We have to help these kids!  We have gone far from  where we started, we will keep on going.

Can you help?  Don’t be shy $5 or more, anything will help.

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