40 Years of internal armed conflicts has created a situation in which approximately 60% of the population (23 million people) are living well below the poverty line. In the last 15 years, more than 1 million children and their families have been displaced and are living in poverty in the cities. The violence in the country is not only from war itself, but also from the conditions that poverty creates – violence in the streets and abuse in the home. One million children, between the ages of 5 and 17 are working in order to help their families meet their basic needs; as such, sexual exploitation, international trafficking and trade have increased. Although adult literacy is high, the average number of school years completed is only about 3.7 years.
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Building dreams and a better future for youth in Bogotá
20-year-old Valentina has been through a lot as a young adult. She didn't have a healthy upbringing. Her parents were abusive and often argued and fought in front of her and her younger sister, Natalia. For Valentina, YMCA Bogotá was her saving grace.Read Valentina's story
Transforming the lives of youth like Daniela
Daniela was morbidly obese at the age of 10. She would lock herself in her room, and wouldn't talk to anyone but her family and one close friend. It wasn't long after that she experienced bullying in school and cyberbullying as well. Then, her school counsellor sent her to YMCA Bogotá for support.Read Daniela's story