Nukanti Foundation

FOSTERING COMMUNITIES THROUGH YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

New Volunteer, Orsolya, Reflects

Charlotte JoyceComment

‘The only risk is that you stay’ – says the slogan of the official travel guide of Colombia. And after two months in this country I’m realising how true it is. I arrived here with knowing not much else but the general stereotypes of this country – the sea, dancing and the FARC. Since then, my view has taken a 180 degree turn. Colombia is so much more! Amazing nature, rich culture and the kindest people in the world – and also so much to be done socially, economically as well as politically.

Quinchia, my home and workplace in the middle of the coffee region of Colombia, offers great coffee, sunshine most of the days and beautiful tracks to climb on the surrounding mountains. But it also has a large displaced population, high unemployment and declining health rates.  Just a few years ago Quinchia was a conflict zone. Now it’s calm and safe but still dealing with the aftermath of the conflict. The conflict is still in the people’s minds and is in their memories although it is not spoken about every day.

Together with Teddy, another volunteer, we have been working with the community in Quinchia for over a month. For the conditions mentioned earlier, in the beginning it was difficult to decide where and how to start our work. Finally, we singled out women and the youth population as our target groups.  We think they are the most disadvantaged here and would benefit the most from our projects.

Besides teaching English to them, which is the most common thing a volunteer would do to help, we also organise trainings and workshop on communication, cooperation, project management and leadership skills for youngsters in the last grades of secondary schools in four parts of the Department of Quinchia. We started in Santa Elena last Friday with a workshop on interpersonal communication and that was one of the best days for us here. We had 20-30 students from the local secondary school at the age of 15-17 years old – well mannered, cheerful and eager to learn and experience together with us. What else could a teacher or trainer possibly wish for? That moment really felt like we were making a difference. 

This week we will continue working with the kids in Santa Elena. We will also visit Naranjal’s youngsters with the communication workshop and possibly arrange another meeting with the women’s community as well to pick up where we left off with the event for the International Women’s Day.

To be continued…