Colombia's past has been tarnished by forced displacement of farmers, indigenous peoples and persons of African descent due to the civil war, the violence of criminal gangs and drug trafficking.
Violence during the civil war has led to the displacement of over 8 million Colombians. Colombia currently has the 2nd highest amount of internally displaced persons in the world.
The city of Buga, 70km to the north of Cali, has a population of 100,000 people and a wide variety of living conditions. Buga was faced with the phenomenon of displacement when the city began to see the arrival of peasant farmers from the surrounding countryside in the early 2000s. These displaced persons gathered in the north of the city where there is a lack of schools as well as health and social infrastructure.
Our Emmaus community has been working with vulnerable children, adolescents, adults and victims of the conflict in this part of the city since 2009.
Our Emmaus community's goal is to help the most vulnerable and to contribute towards educating the people of Buga. We are convinced that education is the means to help people out of poverty and thus we have set up an educational programme for children, young people and adults.
20 children aged between 4 and 6 years old have been able to have access to pre-school courses. 30 adolescents who were displaced due to the conflict in the countryside have been brought back into education and the goal is to have these young people get their baccalaureat qualification.
35 young people and adults have been given training in basic IT, sewing, crafts, manicures, pedicures and using the Internet.
We have been raising awareness with children, young people and adults about environmental issues in order to guarantee a better environment for the generations to come.
With the educational and environmental struggle. We have one member of staff, professor Liliana Pinto; one coordinator, Adíela Mercado; 3 volunteers and also the parents.
For the struggle for a peaceful world: we have the support of the lawyer Dr Gerardo Carvajal and 2 volunteers from the association for the Development of Farmers and Displaced Persons (ADSA).
We work with the following external partners:
1 SENA (The National Service for Learning)
2 Social Welfare
3 The Red Cross
Since the launch of the Emmaus community in Buga we have been supporting people in vulnerable situations with our financially self-sufficient and environmentally sustainable social projects. We are thus helping to reduce poverty and the causes of poverty as well as protecting the local and regional environment.
We have encouraged any useful, strategic partnerships with public or private insititutions that share our ideas of dignity, the development of people and protecting the environment.
We promote: education, culture, health and social wellbeing for people in vulnerable situations.
The Dance Training School for girls, children and adults
Increasing the collections done in the city in order to have the resources necessary to strengthen our educational, social and environmental work in the north of the city.
Becoming a PEI (institutional educational project) and proposing formal education for our children and young people.
That boys and girls in the north of the city living in vulnerability and poverty may have better education and support during this period of transition. This would improve their wellbeing and contribute towards their physical, intellectual and social development.
To help single mothers who are not working or in education develop their skills - a model of fairness and sustainability for professional and/or educational integration.
Thanks to our educational initiatives disadvantaged children in the north of the city have had access to school and 45 young people have got their baccalaureat qualification.
Thanks to the partnership with the SENA 27 mothers were trained and have since found work.
Thanks to the awareness raising campaigns about environmental issues led in our school and in the companies where we collect recyclable materials, we have seen a change in behaviour with solid waste. Given time this will have an impact on the environment.
Yes we have had an impact outside of the group as various public and private stakeholders are interested in our initiatives.
One of our community's goals is to help poor children and adolescents have access to schools and another goal is to raise awareness amongst the population about environmental issues. Thus we decided to link this work to the struggle for ‘social and environmental justice’.
Since the creation of our community we have helped more than 450 displaced families living in the north of the city in their re-integration thanks to training and drawing up requests for having land returned. The goal of this work is to participate in the creation of a fairer society thus we also decided to link our initiative to the struggle for 'a peaceful world'.
The biggest need at the moment is to increase our collection work in order to have the resources necessary to strengthen all of our educational, social and environmental work.