Victoria, our Events and Community Fundraiser, writes about her experiences from her recent trip to Colombia.
Last year, I travelled for the first time to Colombia. During my trip, I had the privilege of meeting the project staff and the children at all COTA’s partner projects. I got a real sense of the issues and dangers these children face on a daily basis, which was quite an emotional experience for me. Although I knew some of the shocking stories the children had faced, it was much more real being there and hearing their voices, how they have experienced abuse and neglect at home, bullying at school, the dangers of gang violence and sexual abuse in the streets and many other risks, without mentioning the traumas many of them have been faced with as a result of being forced to flee their home towns because of the ongoing conflict.
I will never forget visiting COTA´s project with our partner Renacer in Cartagena and the children I met there, among them 6 year old Mariana. I arrived to a group of 14 happy, smiling boys and girls, but the project leader explained to me how each one of them was in this session because they were at risk of abuse or because they had been victims of sexual abuse, including Mariana.
I admire how strong these children are, despite the traumas they have lived through; they are all so full of positivity. Their determination to move forward and their desire to learn is inspiring, but key to this is the work COTA partners are doing to help them to protect themselves against threats to their wellbeing.
Visiting our partners made me realise how the need in Colombia for the work our partners do is huge, and how our partners are really relying on us so that they can continue to have a positive impact on the lives of the many at risk children that they support.
Please help us to continue to make a difference in the lives of children like Mariana.
Please donate to COTA today. Find out how here.