"Any child or young adult who gets the chance to study and develop his or her life proyect, is one less that joins the violent war in my country"
"Give me an opportunity’’ started as a civil initiative at the end of 2007, as part of the organization: Constructors of Peace (COP), led by the educator Hugo Florez and professional volunteers, with the international support of the Dutch foundation ‘’Support Reconciliation Colombia’’, represented by Liduine Zumpolle, active in demobilization, reconciliation and social reintegration of former guerrillas (Manos por la Paz International) .
The two organizations decided to join forces, because of the communal goal of promoting peace in an endemic violent country, that is: working from different angles: one focusing on prevention (Constructors of Peace), the other one oriented on social restoration (accompanying former violent individuals in their process of social reintegration).
During the past three years, the international combination of efforts developed into a successful youth project that includes around two hundred persons, young men and women, living mostly in the poor areas of South Bogota, originating from refugee, and often broken families.
Apart from the social inclusion and prevention aspect, professionally they managed to reach a high level (all profs are voluntaries) and were as such recognized at national and international level. This as a result of the close social accompanying and effective medical, nutritional and educational attention (see the additional attached information on the history of COP).
Essential is, that these youngsters, thoroughly educated in peaceful solution of conflicts, have become convinced diffusors of this nonviolent practice in their social surroundings.
At the same time they were given an opportunity to create a positive life perspective. Several of former drug addicts now are successful students at academic institutions, school absence disappeared among the participants, and violence in their neighborhoods diminished considerably. In this way, COP contributes to the construction of a positive new generation of Colombians.
However, since the start, practically 100 % of the funding had to come from the international community, predominantly from individual friends in Holland, in order to start and maintain the growing development of the private initiative that can be seen as a pilot project of individual international cooperation. Until now, no any institutional help could be obtained from Colombian itself, being the country a very socially and politically exclusive society (we lack even an own club house and training field, so are forced to use those of at a military battalion…).
At this moment, we lack the funds for the incremented needs for 2012 of around 200 participants in Constructors of Peace.
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