Since 2001, MADRE has been partnering with a great organization in Colombia -- Taller de Vida -- promoting the rights of children to have a decent, safe, and happy life. We’ve mentioned our sister organization on the blog a few already times this week, and we wanted to write a blog entry that gives you a little more detail about the projects that together we have made real.
As stated in the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Article 39 talks about the rehabilitation of child victims -- "Children who have been neglected, abused or exploited should receive special help to physically and psychologically recover and reintegrate into society. Particular attention should be paid to restoring the health, self-respect and dignity of the child". Throughout these years, MADRE and Taller de Vida have worked through the project "Protecting Children of War."
MADRE and Taller de Vida give Colombian children with the support they need to resist exploitation and create alternatives to the on-going violence in Colombia. This includes critical services for children who are at high-risk for being recruited as child-soldiers, giving them the social and psychological support they need.
This partnership provides trauma counseling, art therapy, and recreational programs to young people in Bogotá who have been uprooted from their homes by war and poverty. The organization offers an after-school art education program for displaced children, most of whom are Indigenous and Afro-Colombian youth living in poor communities on the outskirts of Bogotá. The art program helps children develop their artistic talent and learn to express themselves through writing, painting, dance, and acting and helps young people who have experienced the enduring trauma of war envision—and work to create—a more peaceful world.
The video above, produced also in partnership with Youth Radio, shows what this art program for prevention and rehabilitation of children that were involved in the armed conflict looks like in reality. Two of the young men in the video commented on what drove them to start this folk music group.
In Usme, one of the neighborhoods of Bogota (Colombia), five young people that had arrived to the big city from other areas of the country, decided to start a folk music group. But these young people didn’t know how to play instruments and didn’t own them. Then the Non Governmental organization Taller de Vida entered the scene. The five young people joined a street performance group where they learned a lot things including playing drums. But above all, they learned a very important thing: that using art they could fight violence. Finally, these youngsters created a group which the called Kayeke, the name of a typical dish from the Colombian Atlantic coast. The youngsters have gained some recognition and have performed at several art shows in Bogota. They mainly play Atlantic folk music.
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