Colombia is an emerging nation with above-average economic growth. In 2012, Medellín was named the most innovative city in the world, triumphing over cities like New York and Tel Aviv. Many churches offer programs in poor communities, and there are non profit organizations that help the poor and needy, especially children. However, we see that even though there is more help for these kinds of people, there is always a need for more people to help out. We can achieve more by leaving positive, lasting marks on Colombia’s social structure, thereby giving future generations a new perspective.
As is common in emerging countries, the gap between rich and poor is very pronounced, and the middle class is small. Public schools often do not teach good values or provide quality education, and private schools are very expensive. Only the wealthiest people can afford to send their children to private schools, which lead to better opportunities for a professional career. The less privileged, who can’t afford to give their children a better education, have to send them to schools that are not recognized, and as a result, their children frequently have no work after graduation. Their children have to find work that isn’t related to their studies, and they end up earning minimum wage, which is roughly US$320. On that money, one person can barely survive unless they live in one of the working class districts or shantytowns, where most people don’t have any plans for their lives. That is why drugs, prostitution, violence, and gangs are common in those neighbourhoods. In addition to that, Colombia’s armed conflict promotes violence. Drug trafficking has created a culture of quick, easy money, because people want to earn a lot of money with little effort. And so violence has become part of daily life.
Macho-ism is also a problem. Many children grow up without any parents. Girls in particular often don’t receive affirmation as future women and are considered inferior. As a consequence, as soon as girls become teenagers, they look for affirmation from males and love from teenage boys. They’re deceived by sweet words and soon end up pregnant. There are also many girls whose only perspective on life is to have babies. Their disappointment and pain creates the desire to have something of their own . . . something that belongs only to them, something that will fill the void of love in their hearts. The men refuse to take responsibility as fathers and take off, leaving the girls alone.
And so the vicious cycle continues in the working-class districts, producing another generation without hope or vision in life. Mothers are often away from home all day and sometimes at night too, while the children hang out in the streets. The children practically live in the streets and soon get involved in drugs, prostitution, and gangs. They call these children pre-street kids because they’re different from street kids, who live in the streets all the time. We want to give these dysfunctional communities an example of a functional family so that Colombia is influenced in a positive way in the future.