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.
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.
“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.
Pictured above are Kevin and Nataly. They shared that they can’t wait to return to the Church-led outreach, but they are also happy to be connecting online with the other kids.
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.