Children & Youth
Aware that the education and income levels of one generation highly influence the conditions of life achieved by the next, we break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, decrease the risk factor for different types of abuse, and promote lasting social cohesion. By encouraging and supporting efforts that ensure children and youths' access to an education that empowers them as individuals, the next generation is able to perform with responsibility, productivity and solidarity in their community and today’s world.
Understanding that development and sustainable transformation requires long term commitment has led us to engage in ensuring children and youth living in conditions of poverty have access to a quality Christian education that equips them to understand the truth about life, the world, and their place in it. The reach of our actions extend from early childhood care, through elementary, and continue through high school, enabling access to employment and higher education. In this way, we play a significant role in helping vulnerable children and their families gain perspective and increase their opportunities for living a fulfilling life. Our teaching model, “School with a Purpose” links learning to students’ everyday life, promoting an effective engagement of family, school and community. Students are empowered to think analytically and build knowledge, increasing their capacity to become generators of innovative change, that will in turn positively contribute to the transformation of their social and cultural reality. The model focuses on leading the children to discover their identity and sense of worth, strengthen thinking processes and skills, building knowledge, developing abilities, and discovering new methods, techniques and spaces, that will enable them to live a life with ‘purpose’. Our model is implemented through the God is Love schools, located in marginal areas of Colombia.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ciudad Bolivar is one of the largest impoverished sectors of Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. Home to over 600,000 people, the area developed over 35 years ago as a slum. Sadly, its history has been overshadowed by violence, criminality and poverty. Ciudad Bolivar has been a significant receptor of internally displaced populations.
Although displacement has significantly decreased, and many of the youngsters who inhabit Ciudad Bolivar have been born in the city, the generational effects of systematic neglect and lack of resources have been passed down to the new generations. Unemployment and informal employment rates are high. The area faces serious challenges with regards to domestic violence and abuse. Children are too often victims of neglect and abandonment. Both children and adolescents, who spend much of their time alone while their parents strive to make a living, are easy prey to juvenile gangs which recruit children as young as eight years old. Children lacking love, acceptance, and a sense of belonging, find in these groups a so called family and power.
The God is Love School located in Lucero Alto was founded by Lindsay and Denise Christie in 1992 with 60 students. It now reaches out to over 900 children and youngsters, of this area of Bogota, providing Christian education from pre-school to high school levels. . Through our innovative and holistic ‘School with a Purpose’ teaching model we contribute to building a culture of hope, peace and productivity.
Some places on earth show poverty and misery in such a cruel way that it becomes difficult to find the right words to describe them. One of these is El Pozon, a slum in the suburbs of Cartagena de Indias, where more than 50,000 inhabitants survive one day at a time. Hundreds of families arrived here fleeing violence in the rural areas, and others are known as ‘historically poor’, a sad statement that speaks clearly of the vicious intergenerational poverty cycle in which millions remain trapped. Neglect and abuse, among others, make El Pozon a perfect breeding ground for recruiting young girls and boys, who in their eagerness to find jobs and have a better life, find themselves trapped in commercial sexual exploitation or gangs at the hands of drug traffickers or unscrupulous criminals. The inhabitants try to find their daily income in informal jobs, such as street sales or washing clothes. Those with better opportunities find jobs as construction helpers, motorcycle or bicycle taxi drivers, artisans, tourism promoters, and others, all which offer a low income. Job offers are scarce, as are the possibilities to access a quality and relevant education.
In 2001, the God is Love school was built in response to the high number of children who were out of the education system in the city of Cartagena (16,000 - Source: Secretary of Education, Cartagena). The school activities began with preschool education (daycare and kindergarten), with capacity for 200 children. Two years later, together with its partners, CDA built a primary school with capacity for 400 boys and girls. In 2009, the construction and equipping of a secondary school was completed, increasing the overall capacity to 1250 students. The school is currently ISO 9001-2008 accredited.
Altos de Cazuca
The God is Love School in Altos de Cazuca in Soacha, Cundinamarca responds to a significant need generated by the migration of victims of forced displacement to this part of the country. The project began in a very small squatter house in 1992, with 100 hundred students, and grew as investments were possible. The school currently has capacity for 950 students. The main purpose of opening a school in this squatter’s community was to offer access to an education based on Christian values and principles that would allow changing the heart and mindset of children, and through them, reach their families and influence the community. This was a response to the attack suffered by the Christie family in 1981, when a group of guerrilla rebels entered their home with the intention of killing them. With the desire to break the cycle of poverty and violence that has trapped millions in Colombia, this God is Love School was the first seed of CDA’s Education program. The continuing search for education quality and relevance led the organization, at the beginning of 2001, to open its doors to children with special education needs, promoting an inclusive education. The school is currently ISO 9001-2008 accredited.
With the desire to break the cycle of poverty and violence that has trapped millions in Colombia, this God is Love School was the first seed planted, which gave birth to CDA’s Education program. The continuing search for education quality and relevance led the organization, at the beginning of 2001, to open its doors to children with special education needs, promoting since then an inclusive education.
Las Americas School
The conditions under which children at ‘Las Americas’ slum in Barranquilla attended school was precarious. Lack of access to nutritious food, a context characterized by dilapidated shacks, high levels of family violence and increasing criminality was affecting the goal of helping children realize their full potential and participate meaningfully in society. With this context in mind, CDA set out in 2006 to improve the conditions and quality of education provided to children of this area. Barranquilla, Colombia’s largest industrial port city, is situated beautifully on the northwestern coast; a city which is home to one of the largest carnivals in the world, yet reflects the reality of a nation marked by inequality; a city where, despite better security and economic improvement, poverty for too many persists as a vicious cycle that in turn nurtures conflict, violence and insecurity.
The beautiful new school building was completed in 2011, housing over 375 students from preschool up through high school.
School With a Purpose
Altos de Cazuca
CONVIVENTIA USA / © 2013 by MyMediaEditor.com