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Visitors since Sept 2009:

Children of the Andes

Who is Children of the Andes?

Children of the Andes (COTA) was established in 1991 to provide support to Colombia’s most disadvantaged children by working in partnership with local NGOs. With their project partners, they aim to provide relief from the effects of violence & poverty and to promote longer-term development through a range of education, health, social care & conflict resolution initiatives. In addition to financial support, COTA also provides technical support in areas related to project development, standards of care, monitoring & capacity building.

They are currently supporting over 20 partner projects ranging from landmine awareness to the rehabilitation & social inclusion of street & working children, specialist education for the disabled, and provision of medical aid & palliative care. To date they have worked with over 30 children’s projects throughout the country, providing funding of over three million pounds.

What have we done to help?

Funds raised from 21 Century Leaders will be going towards Ponte en Mi Lugar. Ponte en Mi Lugar is one of the few services in the capital offering support to street children. For the past 10 years, this family and volunteer-run programme has carried out weekly street missions offering immediate relief to hundreds of children on the street & the opportunity to join Ponte’s day-care and residential programme.

Ponte works from a house in the city centre, offering support to up to 200 children who have spent time on the street or are at risk of doing so. The programme has space for 14 of the most vulnerable children to live permanently at the house.

The children arrive suffering from malnutrition, addictions and other health problems. Many carry the scars of abuse & neglect and can display emotional problems that require round-the-clock attention. Ponte offers a safe, loving environment for these children & their families, who are given the support needed to recover from their experiences & build a brighter future.

Most of the children have never attended school or have dropped out. Thanks to Ponte’s excellent community contacts, most children are successfully integrated into local schools & receive ongoing educational support at the programme to ensure they stay on.

Ponte recognises that to bring about long-term change, they need the commitment & active participation of the children’s families. Nearly all the children at Ponte come from large, single parent families living in extreme conditions of poverty & violence. Through weekly workshops Ponte staff work with families to help address issues such as detection & prevention of child abuse, health, hygiene & conflict resolution. Ponte also offers guidance & support with accessing basic state services and benefits.

Supported by:
JJ Garden, Scissor Sisters