Southern Bogotá & Soacha
About Altos de Cazucá (Southern Bogotá) and Altos de Florida (Soacha)
The youth who reside in Altos de Cazucá in Southern Bogotá and Altos de Florida in Soacha have been identified as one of the most vulnerable populations in Colombia. A significant portion of families who live in the area have been displaced by Colombia’s internal armed conflict in the countryside, and the youth generally lack economic security and educational opportunities for an improved life. It is widely recognized that they are disproportionately at risk of continued recruitment by guerillas, paramilitaries, and local gangs in their new settlements. Families displaced by the war face conditions of extreme violence and poverty that often prove to be just as traumatic as the massacres and death threats from which they have fled.
Few have access to social services, and most face severe discrimination in employment, housing, education, and health care. Displaced families have fewer basic needs fulfilled than the poorest income quintile of non-displaced families in Colombia’s cities (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre).
A needs assessment report from the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs outlines the critical need for economic support for youth:
The socio-economic situation in Comunas 4 and 6 (Los Altos de Cazucá and Los Altos de Florida respectively) is one of poverty and misery… The youth have no real solutions for employment and income generation, and as a result fall victim to illegal activity and recruitment by illegal armed actors, in some cases forcefully… The youth are a highly vulnerable group, but there are almost no [social] projects that focus on them as the target population. For this reason, we recommend more income-generating projects for this population.
Developing Minds Foundation is sponsoring a two-year project to provide vocational training and entrepreneurial guidance to 50 youth between the ages of 15 and 25 who currently reside in Altos de Cazucá and Altos de Florida where they live in conditions of poverty and confront violence from illegal armed groups. Developing Minds Foundation
, in collaboration with Fusion International – a locally-run organization which implements and manages the program – will offer these youth desperately needed skills and guidance so they may develop personally and professionally and make positive contributions to their community. More specifically, the project will offer technical training, small business development guidance and mentoring based on identified market needs within the communities (e.g. electronics, computer maintenance, screen printing, auto repair).
About our Implementing Partner – Fusion International
Fusion Colombia is the local division of Fusion International, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington. In the past year, Fusion Colombia has implemented projects with partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Tejaditos Foundation, and SENA (the Colombian government’s job-training agency).
Fusion Colombia currently sits on the United Nations’ Humanitarian Committee of Southern Bogotá and Soacha, where it coordinates humanitarian and development activities with other nonprofits, local governmental agencies and the United Nations. To learn more, go to www.fusion-international.org