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Support unpriviledge mothers & children

Wana Bana's first donation to Fundacion Cares in Bogota, Colombia

June 12, 2014

Wana Bana's first donation at Fund CaresWana Bana's first donation at Fund CaresWana Bana's first donation at Fund. Cares

Thanks to a last minute opportunity, I went to Colombia and decided to make the first donation. It was not much, as Wana Bana only started a few months ago, but it was enough thanks to the first clients and to a good friend who very generously volunteered to translate the website into Netherlands for free!

Wana Bana's first donation at Fund CaresTogether with one of my best friends, Aura Garcia, arrived to the meeting point where sister Carmina (Cares’ director, a nun that left her Spanish home to come to help the less fortunate in Latin America) was waiting for us. The Colombian Embassy in The Netherlands had arranged the transportation to the place because it is located in one of the most dangerous places in Bogota. At barrio La Favorita, prostitution, drug addiction, poverty and crime are part of the daily routine.

During our trip to the institution, sister Carmina told us more about it: "We take care of 90 children aged between 5 and 18 years old. We assist them after school hours: they go to the district school and after it they come to the institution where we help them to do their homework and receive lessons such as Brazilian Capoeira, English, dance, arts, computers, besides other activities. We also assist them with a team of psychologist, social worker, sociologist and a psych-pedagogue". "The sisters and I are in charge of the direction, administration and coordination of CARES". Sister Camina looks in the window while we are entering the city centre of Bogota and recalls: “When I arrived here, they wanted to close the institution... thanks to the help of three businessman we were able to keep it open for this community."

When we arrived, we saw a child waiting at the door. It is still school hours, so he shouldn't be there. The sister told us quickly the story before we got out of the car: "We are so sad... this child will most probably go to Bienestar Familiar (Colombian Welfare Family Institute) because their parents neglect him: he doesn't go to school and we sometimes clean him because he hasn't had a shower in days. It is very sad, because we want to help him. We feel sometimes so impotent at these kind of situations..."


Wana Bana's first donation at Fund CaresAfter we got out of the car, the boy came to us and gave us a hug without even knowing us and inside the institution he made the most beautiful drawings for Aura and me. I just wanted to cry. I thought to myself: this must be a very difficult job, seeing all these children suffering the most horrifying experiences: drug addicts as parents, sexual abuse, violence... Trying to help them daily but knowing it is not enough...

The sister showed us very proud and enthusiastic the building. My first impression was how clean and organise it is. They have a gym called Paola (after a girl, a former student of the institution, who died streets away from the institution by a gunshot three years ago), a canteen-library, kitchen, study rooms, offices, a computer room. The last room called my attention because there are some computers missing. Sister Carmina told us that some older children stole them.

Finally it was time to meet the children. The building once completely silent was filled with laughter. They all came to say hi the sister with all their affection. She is the godmother of some of them. They were very excited because in some days they are leaving to the annual camping.

 

 

 

Wana Bana's first donation at Fund. CaresWe gave them the school material we have bought and they were very grateful. With it they can do their homework. The sister explained to us: "Children can go to school for free, but they have to pay for the school material to be able to do the homework. That is why we have a program called Plan Godparent. The godmother/father gives to a child monthly fee (not more than 40 euros). With this money we buy school material, cloths, everything the child needs. But is not only money, it is expected from the godparent to develop a relation with the child, because the children need it. In return, they receive monthly an specification of all the costs made for the child, so it is very transparent".

Sister Carmina gave us a beautiful mug and something to eat. I always wonder why the people who less have are the most generous ones. Like all these children, that leaves the institution each afternoon to places where they can't be protected with the hope that tomorrow will be better thanks to CARES and the godparents that gives them a reason to fight for becoming honest citizens.

I am very thankful to have been able to give this aid (in the name of Wana Bana’s clients and benefactors) to the children, for the time the sister Carmina and all the staff gave us, for the help given by the Colombian Embassy in The Netherlands. But I feel unsatisfied. There is so much to do...

I've become aware of this reality and at the same time a CARES ambassador. They are always looking for businesses and godparents that can further increase the social impact they are having in this community, buy donating for example computers or by giving a monthly fee to help with the education of a child.

Interested in more information? Please contact me, or visit CARES website.

 

UN DIA EN CARES from juan franco on Vimeo.