Colombia’s street children are exposed to a distressing daily diet of drugs, prostitution and violence. Kids as young as six sleep on the streets of Medellin and huddle together in a desperate bid to stay warm. Largely ignored by locals and known as “disposables”, their harrowing stories will chill the blood of every parent. They are victims – of the killings, poverty and corruption that surrounds the cocaine business. With so many orphaned by violence, they end up sleeping rough and, with a sad inevitability, soon end up taking drugs and falling into prostitution.
Scottish Daily Record May 20 2008
… The stories of the children’s backgrounds are always sad. No one wants them, for some not even their own families. At worst, they are `Los desachables’: the disposables; at best, the “gamines”, in Espanola pronounced (gah MEE nays). Sent out onto the streets to fend for themselves, they forage in the garbage along with the city’s stray dogs.
To be a poor child in Colombia is as complex as the circumstances that made them. It is to be a runway, a disposable, a child prostitute, or a child abandoned by a family coming into the city from a war zone. In some circumstances, a mother knowing her brood goes hungry sends one child out to the streets in the hopes that even a few pesos will make the difference at that night’s supper table. In other even crueler instances, a child is thrown out onto the street because there will be one less mouth to feed.
Judi McLeod, Canada Free Press, October 25, 2007
When people ask us why we are focused on helping in Colombia and not in our own country, it’s not hard for us to explain. The visible poverty on the streets of Bogota combined with the warm welcome we experience every time we visit, motivates us to continue to fundraise for Friends of Colombian Orphans. If we can provide ONE young man or woman the opportunity to make a living OFF the streets, in a safe environment, we feel like we have succeeded. We are seeing the seeds of success NOW! Our dream of a machine knitting cooperative can become a reality. Our hope is that some day, hundreds of young men and women will have benefited from our program and will have passed on their skill.