In Colombia: Help for Child Victims of Drug Wars

Publication Date: 
June 11, 2012

In many countries around the globe, children are victimized by armed conflict, and in Colombia far too many children face this harsh reality. Unbelievably, more than half of the homeless and displaced people in the country are under 18. Children in this situation need more than just food or education—they desperately need specialized care to help them heal the psychological and physical wounds brought on by the drug wars.

Medellin is ground zero of the drug trade in Colombia. The city is extremely violent, destroying families and forcing kids into the streets. Once on the streets, children are even more likely to be victimized. They are often drawn into lives of petty crime and drugs by the very same system that forced them into the streets in the first place.

Some of the kids—the lucky ones—will find their way to Don Bosco City (Ciudad Don Bosco). Salesian missionaries and volunteers walk the streets during the day, befriending these sometimes shy (and often very tough) kids in hopes of encouraging them to come visit for the day. Once at Don Bosco City, the children are fed, allowed to wash, and even get the chance to play for a while. This is the first step toward building trust and a relationship that will likely save their lives.

Some children may choose to return to the street, but for those willing to accept our offer for help, they will be given a place at Don Bosco City. They will receive healthy meals, medical attention, counseling and a safe haven from the hazards of the violent city. What’s more, they will also receive an education that allows them to learn a trade—providing an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty so they never have to return to the streets again.

Since it began in 1965, Don Bosco City has rescued 83,000 boys and girls from the drug-ridden, violent streets of Colombia and given them a real chance to lead safer, happier and more productive lives. Only with the help of caring friends like you can Salesian Missions continue to help needy youth around the globe, including victims of the worldwide drug trade. We hope you will consider a gift today!

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