Costa Atlántica Project
the third week here in Colombia I wanted to give you a run down
of the foundation Juliet and me are working for and what we are
trying to achieve during our two-month placement.
Costa Atlántica Project has been functioning for over 25
years now with support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation coordinated
in association with the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla. In
this time it has contributed to the Integral development of approximately
80,000 children and its families, who participate in the different
programs provided by the foundation.
a glass of juice
ICBF (Instituto Colombiano De Bienestar Familiar) is one of the
main supporters of the Foundation. Its
main objective is to promote and to strengthen the integration and
development of the family, to protect children and guarantee their
rights. The ICBF facilitates the National Family Welfare System
of which the Foundation is a member.
ICBF has assisted in the creation and support of the 'hogares' (pre-school),
through providing funding for resources and feeding of the children
with one main meal and two snacks per day.
Costa Atlántica Project runs the Foundation for the Development
of Children, the Family and the Community. It is a community-based
organisation with the aim of being sustainable helping the development
of people in the area. To really explain what the organisation provides,
a case study is described below.
the foundation works in eight different communities with each location
having slightly different needs and priorities.
of the locations of the pre-schools are simply based at people's
homes in the community while others are located in community buildings.
During the first few weeks we spent most of our time out of the
office seeing the different locations, asking questions of the directors
and assessing what really needs to be done and the priorities.
study: The Zona Negra Children's pre-school
of hope in the depressed heart of the city. Since it started this
pre-school has taken care of approximately 2000 children, and is
located in the south of the city in the Rebolo district. Created
in 1983, operating from four houses close to one another, it had
100 children a day from 8am to 1pm. In 1988, the Company Aguila
Brewery donated the necessary resources for the construction of
a premises on community land.
for 50 eaten by 70
eat a meal
the moment in this home, 70 children aged 2-5 years are taken care
of (reduced from 100 due to the size of the newer building), looked
after during the day with the help of two teachers.
this pre-school, the ICBF has reduced funding so it can only provide
enough money for food per day for 50 children, but the food needs
to be shared between all 70 children.
in a Troubled Area
plays with a gun
area where the pre-school is based is surrounded by many social
problems and is in the one of the more dangerous areas of the city.
Drug addiction, theft and violent deaths have in the past been common.
Fortunately, there is a mutual respect by the community for the
pre-school, which provides some shelter from this troubled surrounding.
pre-school is an essential part of the community as it not only
educates the children, but also provides an aspect of regularity
and stability amongst the daily challenges of the area. Most of
the children who attend have working parents, and the schooling
allows the parents to go out to work knowing their children will
be looked after in a safe environment.
of the Foundation
sit in a line
Foundation aims to provide a solution to the problems and provide
necessities, in turn increasing the education and social action
in the local community. A key aspect is to integrate parents and
the community in the activities that are developed by the foundation
and positively impact the children.
experience in the pre-school is often the only situation that the
children who are taken care of have access to education, nutrition
of our work
trying to see how resources can be used more efficiently as well
as highlighting potential sponsors for the programme, not simply
one-off payments, but sustainable partnerships for the long term.
of the pre-schools
have done a comprehensive study of what the needs of the pre-schools
are. They do vary from school to school but the needs include the
following list of items:
Plastic chairs & tables
Mattresses for the children to sleep on in the afternoon
and donations are also being explored while we are approaching the
manufacturers and suppliers in America and the UK to see if we can
gain support, we are also looking for local support. Another approach
we are taking is to contact schools and try to establish links where
each year, second hand uniforms are sent over with toys and resources.
is currently working on a website to help in publicising our work
and the foundation. See www.freewebs.com/pcaenglish
for more information.
you would like more information or would like to assist us in our
work (whether you're an individual, school or organisation) we would
really appreciate any help you might be able to provide.
Please contact either me or Juilet:
by James Eder
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