In Colombia Star of Hope supports two activities; a rehabilitation center for children and adults with disabilities and a food program for children from poor families.
The long-standing civil war between the various guerrilla groups, Government soldiers and paramilitary groups create a tremendous distress among the civilian population in Colombia. It is often the young people who are most affected by war. 750 000 children and young people under 25 have various disabilities as a result of the vi
olence in the country. It is especially hard to get help if you are poor. These are the people Star of Hope targets to assist in Colombia. We partner with CIREC, Centro Integral de Rehabilitación de Colombia, who started the work.
Rehabilitation Centre, CIREC
The rehabilitation Centre is located in Bogotá and is operated by CIREC. It has become one of the nation's leading institutions for prosthesis construction and rehabilitation. They are also working to improve the attitudes towards persons with disabilities. A less begging and more working, is their vision for this part of the work. Close to 150 people per day receive help with new prostheses, physiotherapy and psychological counseling. Since the beginning, nearly 40,000 people have been helped. Their recovery has not only changed lives for themselves, as individuals but whole families have been re-established. Self-worth and faith are now a part of their life once again.
Food programs in Mirandita
Through CIREC we work with village development and food programs. At this point we are focusing on the village Mirandita. Most of the families in Mirandita have had to start over from the beginning after returning from being exiled and they have limited resources for developing effective farming. Coffee, which in the long term can generate money, grows slowly and it takes time before the profit can support a family.
The goal of the project is to have the village become self-sufficient. Most work is directed towards small farms but they also need to find alternative sources of income. The road to and from the village is in bad shape and needs improvement. While the village is being restored, the families receive support in the form of food packages and organizational help to raise the standards in the village. At the heart of the work stands the village's school. It serves as a gathering place and motivates families to stay in the village. To date they have pre-school through grade 5. It is hoped that in the near future the school can offer grade six and above The school is also a safe place where they can begin processing the trauma that most have experienced. They have also started a small vegetable garden next to the school which serves as an agricultural learning opportunity for the children as well as making a contribution to the school lunch.
Facts about CIREC
CIREC is a non-profit private organization and began working in 1976 with integral rehabilitation of people with physical disabilities. Since its inception, more than 40 000 people received support. CIREC was the first organization with a wholistic approach, took note and began working with victims of the armed conflict. Seeds of Hope is part of that work. Catchment areas are almost all of Colombia. Support from Star of Hope caters to the work of integrating people with disabilities in society, changing attitudes and support for people affected by the long-standing civil war