BogotŠ , Columbia
More than 8 million
Coffee and earmuffs
In recent years 27 journalists have been murdered in and around Bogata. And
then there are the earthquakes and the volcanic eruptions. A good point if
you are male is that there are slightly more women to choose from than there
are men, but I canít find much else good to say. It is one of the most
violent cities in the world, but the murder rate is at least dropping
according to the statisticians.
Good points, tourism hasnít taken off for some reason so it is uncrowned,
plenty of room, and the coffee is great. Lots and lots of cafes and museums.
Night life seems to be restricted to weekends with lots of discos and cheap
student bars, so you get lots of time to recover from one binge before the
Help children in Bogota with
Colombia is a country of stark contrasts. A
picturesque country, rich in natural resources and with a highly qualified
labour force, it has been described as one of the most attractive, exotic
and mysterious countries in South America.
Yet the beauty of the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and the
stunning coastline stand in direct opposition to extreme deprivation, where
an estimated 70% of families live in extreme poverty, and where violence and
corruption permeates the country. The well-documented drug problems, decades
of violent conflict, civil war and human rights violations have all taken
their toll on Colombia, and on Colombia's children in particular.
The cycle of poverty, unemployment and family disintegration, fuelled by the
lack of an effective social welfare system, threatens the very existence of
the people in Colombia and often leaves children on the streets begging or
stealing in order to survive.
There are currently five SOS Children's Villages in Colombia, one of which
is in the country's capital city, BogotŠ. With facilities including 22
family houses, a community house and a carpenter's workshop, SOS BogotŠ is
the second largest SOS Village in Latin America and was Colombia's first SOS
Village, opening in 1971. Alongside their academic work children are also
able to benefit from learning practical skills and are taught handicrafts in
the village's workshops.
The village provides previously unimaginable opportunities for the children.
Orphans like Jorge and Wilma who joined the village last year, have been
given a fresh start in life. Jorge now dreams of a successful future ahead
of him, and observes how he has been given the chance to see his sister
Wilma "playing, running, and smiling again".