Stories from change-makers in Colombia
As a teenage girl living in Colombia, Rosa sees and experiences the effects of gender inequality firsthand.
“In my community, people rarely listen to what young girls think,” Rosa says. “Some men have the type of ego that makes them think they have power over women, that they can mistreat them — either psychologically or physically. Most of the men in my community treat women well, but there is always some guy who wants to mistreat woman.”
Rosa is a participant in Plan’s Champions of Change program. That means she now knows how to fight and advocate for equality.
“I’ve learned how to take care of and protect myself, how to take control of my life and how to help others that maybe still don’t know how to do that. There are a lot of girls here who think that becoming a mother very young is a good idea. Often, they think that the best way to keep their boyfriend is to get pregnant. It is possible to change their minds though, because it used to be much worse than it is now.
We as girls and women have our own thoughts, can make decisions and can do the same things that men do. We are not objects, but human beings just like them. It is inspiring when groups of women come together to fight for a cause because in those situations, you can see the strength and the fight that women have. And the more their voices get heard, the more power and the more force women will have.”
“To me, it’s very sad that in the 21st century men still believe that women should stay at home, do all the chores and not study certain subjects,” Yasmira says. “As a woman, when you want to give your opinion on something, you find barriers in your way. And almost always, those barriers are put up by men.”
Yasmira is on a council that works with the local government and stands up for the needs of their community. Champions of Change has allowed Yasmira to realize how strong her voice is.
“I’ve changed. I’m more confident and I have dreams and ambitions that I never had before,” Yasmira says.
Yasmira plans to continue fighting for women and equality long-term. “My goal is to become a lawyer, and my aim is to defend women who have survived sexual abuse. I am determined to show the world that when you work alongside survivors, you can lift them up and help them make meaningful change. I want to show survivors that they are more than their stories and pain — that they can and they will achieve great things.”
That’s important in Colombia, because the country has a long and violent history of conflict. Marta knows this all too well. When she was four years old, her mother was murdered in a crossfire between rival gangs. And at just 17 years old, Marta was widowed when her husband met the same fate. Marta was pregnant at the time, and soon after was displaced from their home.
Colombia is on the road to peace now, but life is still difficult for many struggling in poverty, especially young women like Marta.
But now she’s armed with entrepreneurship skills and confidence. The Plan training program included start-up capital, which Marta used to buy her cart — a cargo bike with a large metal cooler attached to the handlebars.
Marta is able to make a living through her business, and even just bought a small house with her new husband.
Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Colombia since 1962.
Our work in Colombia
Office & operations
Plan International Colombia’s country office is in Bogotá, with programs in Caribe, Chocó, Cauca-Valle and Tumaco
Health, education, housing, environmental sustainability
Number of sponsored children
As of June 2020, people like you sponsor 17,483 children in Colombia through Plan International.
Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.
The full circle of Fate
When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.
But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:
Send them birthday gifts and cards.
Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.
Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.
— Visit them (when travel restrictions are lifted), with individual travel assistance from us.
Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.Meet a child to sponsor