A TOY LIBRARY NETWORK TO FIGHT AGAINST VIOLENCE AND POVERTY
The conflict in Colombia will have displaced 5.7 million people. Mostly peasants, villagers have crammed into the cities (Bogotá has grown from 5 to 10 million inhabitants) where violence is still practiced on a daily basis against children. 80% of these families are housed in extremely precarious conditions, in shantytowns and so-called "invasion" neighbourhoods... Drugs and crime reign there and children are the first victims... Negotiations with FARC are interrupted creating renewed tensions in the country.
Mission Enfance fights against violence against children, in Bogota, but also in other regions of Colombia, through the establishment of toy libraries. In these animation centres, children learn, through play, the rules of life in society and the respect they owe to themselves and to others. In twenty years, the association has created a real network with seven centres, each one focusing on the problems encountered by the children: Violence in Santa Marta and 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.
This project is carried out under the direction and control of our local coordinator, Françoise Bardon. Each child is followed by animators who help him/her to evacuate the violence experienced daily in his/her family. In Bogota in particular, football, basketball and ping pong championships are organized to attract 13-year-olds who hang out in the streets. Children also benefit from a tutoring programme and a baby toy library for children under 4 and their parents.
In our network of 6 toy libraries in Colombia, we support the operating costs. Training courses for the toy librarian team are organised every two years. In order to optimise our work, we pay all the toy librarians responsible for each of our centres. The municipalities finance the other staff members and some of the teaching materials.
The Municipalities and Departments of Colombia participate in the action, by contributing premises or endowments of toys.
To help children in the shantytowns and isolated areas on the outskirts of Colombia to live out their childhoods, emerge from violence, and create a generation of responsible adults.
Taking action in Colombia