Colombia

A NETWORK OF TOY LIBRARIES TO FIGHT VIOLENCE AND POVERTY

Context

The conflict in Colombia will have caused 5.7 million people to be displaced. Most of them are peasants, the villagers have crammed into the cities (Bogotá has grown from 5 to 10 million inhabitants) where violence is still affecting children on a daily basis. 80% of these families are housed in extremely precarious conditions, in shanty towns and so-called "invasion" districts... Drugs and crime reign there and children are the first victims... Negotiations with the FARC guerrillas have been interrupted, perpetuating tensions in this country.

Mission Enfance fights against the violence inflicted upon children, in Bogota, but also in other regions of Colombia, through the setting up of toy libraries. In these animation centres, children learn, through games, the rules of life in society and the respect they owe to themselves and to others. In twenty-two years, the association has created a real network with seven centres, each time focusing on the problems encountered by the children : Violence in La Uvita (Boyaca). Racial denigration in Condoto in the Choco, among Afro-descendants, the former slaves of the conquistadores. Forgetting and poverty for the Amazon Indians in Leticia, Puerto Narino and Zaragosa.

 

Goal

Help children in shantytowns or isolated areas on the borders of Colombia to live their childhood, to get out of violence, and to create a generation of responsible adults.

Operation of 6 toy libraries (toy librarians' salaries, toy supplies, staff training, maintenance and fitting out of buildings) and for the past two years, we have focused on travelling toy libraries among the Amazonian Indians, in Boyaca and in Choco. This is to reach the most isolated children in Colombia. In 2022, Mission Enfance will explore the opening of a new toy library in an underprivileged region, the Choco.

This project is conducted under the direction and control of our local coordinator, Françoise Bardon. Each child is followed by facilitators who help him or her to evacuate the violence experienced daily in the family. In Bogotá, for example, football, basketball and table tennis championships are organised to attract the 13-year-olds who hang around in the streets. Children also benefit from a school support programme and a baby toy library welcomes children under 4 years old and their parents.


Our partners :

The Municipalities and Departments of Colombia participate in the action, by providing premises or toys, or by taking charge of the staff outside the Mission Enfance team.

Mission Enfance is the project leader and manager, through its local association Mission Paraiso.

 

Taking action in Colombia

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