Colombia: Sentenced to a second chance

Colombia education, Club Amigo Soacha BICE Enfance sans barreaux
Colombia
Bogota
Colombia: Sentenced to
a second chance
120
students supported
7
students got their Baccalaureate in 2017
2 years
The time required to achieve the Baccalaureate level
In Colombia, convicted minors can hope for a better future thanks to an adapted school curriculum and day-to-day support. A report from the suburbs of Bogota, with adolescents followed by the Amigo Soacha Club.

In Colombia, as in other Latin American countries, minors are still given prison sentences when they are convicted in court. The association International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), supported by AFD via its NGO Initiative, is trying to change this situation by advocating for minors not to be systematically shut up in prisons and to continue to live “a childhood without bars”.

To achieve this, BICE has partnered with the Tertiary Capuchins who, since 1988, have been managing juvenile counselling centers in Colombia. In terms of training, including academic training, the Tertiary Capuchins work with the Centro de Formación de Promotores Juveniles (CENFOR), which has developed adapted school curricula.

In a deprived neighborhood of Soacha, a town on the outskirts of Bogota, the association El Club Amigo Soacha offers an alternative to imprisonment to 120 young people whose life courses are often complex and violent.
In this center, education is the cornerstone of the programs proposed to adolescents. CENFOR has developed “à la carte” academic programs for these young people, who have sometimes been out of school for several years.

Colombia, Education, group picture, classroom, Hemar
Colombia, education, Jineth, Hemar
JINETH HAS REDISCOVERED A LIKING FOR SCHOOL
After leaving school at 14 and living on the street for two years, Jineth Marina Niño Ocaño got his Baccalaureate and now wants to become a family judge. “Teachers here have believed in me, I’ve never felt stigmatized, I’ve never been bored and I’ve rediscovered a liking for school, the desire to study”.
Colombia, education, Brayan, Hemar
BRAYAN IS NO LONGER A STREET CHILD, HE WANTS TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT!
Brayan Felipe Campos Alvarado was expelled from school when he was 8 and was a member of the many street children “pandillas” gangs. “I used to think that we were alone in life. I now know that my teachers are there to help me. I have gone back to high school. I’m quite good at maths and I want to become an architect. I want to build houses with swimming pools! I would still be stupid without the lessons I follow here! Without my lessons, I would still be hanging around in my neighborhood and up to no good”.
Colombia, education, Carol, Hemar
CAROL IS GIVING HERSELF THE MEANS TO FULFIL HER DREAM
Carol Dayana Cifuentes Jimenez is not yet 18 and recognizes that she has been in bad company. “But all that is behind me! I want to pull through and become a criminologist, have an honest life! I know that I can do it, because at the center, the academic level is higher than in public high schools. We understand better because the teaching is personalized”.
Colombia, education, Ivan, Hemar
IVAN IS PUTTING ALL HIS HOPES IN HIS LESSONS TO CHANGE HIS LIFE
Ivan Dario Martinez Sanchez has just turned 16. He will be a father in a few weeks and has been following lessons at the Center for several months. With the help of his teachers, he fights to control his addictions to psychoactive substances. Ivan is especially an inquisitive child: “I love football like everyone, but what I really prefer is history. I want to discover the Egyptian pyramids or Great Wall of China”.
Colombia, education, art teacher, benjamin hemar
SPECIFIC TRAINING

The teaching staff have been specially trained to coach these young people. They are always there to listen to them, motivate them every day via jointly defined rituals. For example, the students start their day by reciting a positive text. It is especially important that no one ever judges anyone, to avoid any kind of stigmatization. Together, teachers and students build a life project, so that the “remedial academic training” is integrated into the future of the young people in question.