Colombia Fall Update

Country Updates

Colombia Fall Update

Colombia, Tiempo De Paz

COVID-19 restrictions continue in Colombia, and it looks as though the physical centres will have to remain closed for the remainder of the year. While families can now spend more time outside, until September, mobility was severely restricted; children were allowed outside just three times per week for half an hour.
Published November 5, 2020, 2 min read.

“For most families, the main difficulty has been financial and all of the ramifications that come with that,” explained Isabel, one of the coordinators working with the children daily.

For most, government subsidies are providing about 13% of a Medellín minimum wage, Liliana, the program’s director, explained. These families were already struggling. They are poor, mostly single-mother households living in small, rented apartments.

They work primarily service industry jobs, including, for example, at hotels and restaurants – jobs that have been hit hard by COVID-19. “Most of these jobs still have not returned,” Isabel explained.

The Foundation is supporting these children and families as best they can. A major and vital part of the outreach to these families is through the distribution of monthly food baskets – helping families meet their basic needs!

“Many times, I have not had the means to provide breakfast for my children, and the food from the Foundation has arrived at the right moment,” shared Ruth, a mother with two daughters attending the Foundation. “They have given us a computer and internet service so that we can write and see our friends again. The girls attend music class, meet with the psychologist, and learn about respect, tolerance, and spiritual growth through [the Tiempo de Paz Foundation’s] online activities. Through the church, they are learning about God, to pray and say grace before meals and bedtime,” Ruth shared.

One program coordinator shared that while she misses the children terribly, she is thankful that she can connect with them remotely. “It has been very emotional and touching to reconnect with the children,” she shared. Her wall is full of the letters she has received from the children – letters telling her how much they love and miss her. “It gives me perspective and reminds me that God lives and acts beyond our circumstances and is with us through all of this,” she said.

Speaking about the children more broadly, including their pre-COVID experience, the coordinators shared a little about the siblings. Kevin is shy but has truly flourished through the computer and English studies available through the Foundation. Nataly is also quite shy to participle and struggles with her confidence. Sometimes she shakes, and her heart races.

“The safest place my children can be is at the foundation.”

Yet, through the Foundation’s support, Nataly has begun to come out of her shell. She especially enjoys math! At night she shared that she sleeps with her two brothers, Kevin and her 2-year-old brother because she is afraid of the dark. The two children say they love spending time at the Foundation where they get homework support, a healthy meal, learn about God and have the opportunity to express their artistic
side through crafts and music lessons.

Kevin and Nataly live in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Medellin. “The safest place my children can be is at the Foundation,” their mother shared. She also shared that since the children have been attending, she noticed a change in the children’s behaviour and their growth in the areas of respect, kindness, and service. Although the children remain at home, they have been able to continue their growth and friendships through the Foundation’s online programming.
“To this day, God has brought us safely, and that’s good news,” says Director Liliana Isaza.

Still, Maria, the children’s psychologist, shared that this period has been tough on all the kids – they are tired of being in lockdown, and she sees more symptoms of depression and a lack of motivation.

Please pray for...

We ask for your prayers for all of these children.

About Tiempo De Paz

In Medellin, Colombia, the Tiempo de Paz Foundation supports about 100 vulnerable children in community drop-in centres with before & after school care. The children attend four hours each day, as public schools run for only half of the day. They receive nutritional and academic support, enjoy sports and music together, receive counselling, and pray as a community. With three (!) centres now located in three of the city’s toughest neighbourhoods, it’s a safe place for vulnerable children.