Worthy Cause in Antioquia: Fundacion Diocesana Compartir Uraba
While Medellin has seen a huge reduction in the amount of gang violence that plagued the city during the Medellin Cartel era of more than 20 years ago, drug-trafficking and gang violence still continues to claim victims in Colombia and elsewhere — with the mostly rural Uraba region of northern Antioquia presenting an especially acute situation.
Among the noblest of those coming to the aid of the victims is Fundacion Diocesana Compartir Uraba (www.compartiruraba.org) — Diocesan Share Foundation — a Catholic charity which since its founding 20 years ago has now grown to serve hundreds of orphans and widows who have been victimized by violent drug gangs in Uraba.
Asked for a project update, foundation director Sister Carolina Maria Agudelo told Medellin Herald on September 10 that despite having made big strides in helping victims in Uraba, much more remains to be done.
“Fortunately, with our early childhood program we are making great progress, with 1,100 children under five years old getting our services, and for which we have funding that covers 90% of our costs,” Sister Carolina told us.
“But we still have pre-teens, other young people and mothers, widows, displaced people and vulnerable groups for whom we have a difficult struggle to serve their needs,” she added.
Since its founding 20 years ago, Fundacion Diocesana Compartir Uraba has developed numerous programs and services including childhood education, mental health counseling, infant care, day care, afternoon care, job skills development, productive projects and decent-housing projects.
“Our area of institutional coverage extends to the municipalities of Apartado, Carepa, Chigorodó, Mutatá, Turbo, Necoclí, San Pedro, Arboletes, Riosucio (Chocó) and the districts of Currulao and Nueva Colonia de Turbo, where both widows and orphans and other victims of violence receive comprehensive care,” according to the foundation.
The day care program includes “education, organization, health, nutrition and environmental” components, according to the foundation.
“In the education component, boys and girls receive help with the school learning process, through activities such as academic support sessions and education in faith through the study of the word of God,” according to the foundation.
“Due to the problems children have from the loss of a father and families, they have difficulties in academic performance and in understanding the meaning of life. Since we emphasize the faith component in study, this helps decrease dropout rates.
“The organizational component seeks to create spaces where children can create identity and organization. By forming groups such as artistic, cultural, sports and reading, friendships are developed that help strengthen physical and mental health.
“Food supplements include providing lunch and a snack every day. This is one of the most important aspects of the program, since many children are unable to obtain daily food requirements in their homes.”
Job-training programs at the foundation includes technical training and development of organizational skills, according to the foundation.
The “Padrinos” sponsorship program (COP60,000 per month, equivalent to about US$20 per month) enables donors to help a child get classroom education, food, clothing, psychological and social support, recreation, school uniforms and school supplies, according to the foundation.
While the foundation already has sponsors and donors from major corporations in Colombia as well as the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), it also welcomes donations from individuals.
Donations can be made directly to Fundacion Diocesana Compartir Uraba via its Bancolombia checking account (account number: 64502968017), according to foundation director Sister Carolina Maria Agudelo.
For more information on Padrinos sponsorship:
Telephone (57) (4) 828-2507
Fax: (57) (4) 828-0138
Carrera 98 No. 100-51 Apartadó, Antioquia, Colombia