Volunteers in Colombia Foundation leads local initiatives and self-development programs that empower children and women in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities to become educated, self-sufficient, and have self-determination in their own lives.
We meet with community leaders and collectives to learn about the needs of their neighborhood directly from the people who live there.
Several neighborhoods were created by those seeking refugee and an alternative life from the violence and war present in their native Colombian towns– mainly rural areas where paramilitaries, soldiers and guerillas movements were active.
Known as “invasions,” these settlements in Colombia are comprised of new homes built of scraps of wood, even garbage from local dumps. Some people living there for more than 20 years. Although it is not recognized by the Colombian national government, some have been annexed by the local city government. "
The Volunteers in Colombia Foundation works specifically in La Honda, a settlement that is not recognized by the government and is home to indigenous peoples, immigrants and victims of forced displacement who have been driven out of rural Colombia.
People in La Honda have little chance of finding regular employment, and more than half of them work in informal jobs for less than the minimum wage.
Drug addiction, abuse and violence are also common here. Unfortunately, many women and young children are also easy victims of sexual and domestic abuse.
These factors create an environment conducive to poverty, unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, drug addiction, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and a society that views women as inferior.
Education is one of the most effective social equalizers for women around the world. When girls are given equal opportunity and access to education we see improved health outcomes, lower birth rates and more women in the workforce. Women who are actively empowered by education become professionals, business owners, community leaders and educators.
The Volunteers in Colombia Foundation strives to create sustainable communities where children and women are empowered to be resilient changemakers.
Working in unison with the community, we’ve created neighborhood programs that fall under the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, specifically Zero Hunger, Gender Equality and Quality Education. By working with these goals and realizing sustainable projects, we provide the community with opportunities to face a better future.