The New York Times article, “Displaced Residents Grapple With Hurdles of Going Home,” discusses how thousands of Colombian families have been displaced in the town of Mampuján due to 25 years of violent land takeovers by paramilitary groups.
Mampuján is just ten hours away from Medillin, so this article resonated with our organization. It points to a more deeply rooted problem in Colombia. It illustrates the devastation that occurs when violent groups infiltrate an area and use intimidation to gain dominion.
It creates a state of disarray in which the ability to recover becomes mind-blowing. This is how so many families have become impoverished, resulting in an influx of street children. These street children of Colombia are left without proper food, education, health care, and shelter.
According the United Nations, 65% of the population in Colombia is below the international poverty line. When Colombian families don’t have homes or a means of income, proper parenting becomes compromised. Colombian children aren’t adequately fed or supervised, and education is often non-existent. This typically results in Colombia children being exposed to physical and sexual abuse, and violence.
The article breeds hope as it explains how the government is implementing a nationwide program to bring back tens of thousands of displaced farmers to rural communities, like the one in Mampuján, that have been oppressed for decades by paramilitary groups, guerrillas and drug traffickers. Faith is tested when it becomes apparent just how complicated the logistics of retrieving land for these displaced families actually is.
Paper work is lacking for long-abandoned homes, the process is slow and fear still looms. The wound is deep. But as our organization knows well, healing is possible. We can save the street children of Colombia with your help. There is power in numbers.
We love the story in the article of how 32-year-old activist Mayerlis Angarita visits remote villages encouraging people to make land claims, despite threats on her life. It’s truly inspiring. And we revel in glimmers of hope.
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