In the past, we've featured profiles of organisations that help children in post-conflict countries, but what about children living in countries where conflict is a part of their everyday lives? How can sport help and empower these children?
Colombianitos is one such organisation that works in Colombia with both boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 18. These children, often from impoverished communities, have felt the effects of Colombia's lengthy internal conflict in many different ways. Some children have fought as soldiers, others are victims of violence and landmines or are forced to leave their homes as a result of the conflict. Many end up living in overcrowded urban slums which are usually dangerous places to live. It is very common for children not to go to school and slide into a life filled with drugs and crime.
Colombianitos provides a safe space for these children to come together and learn skills and values like self-control, decision-making, conflict resolution and confidence through the medium of football. The children learn to be ambitious again, to aspire and hope for new and better things out of life.
Around 4,000 girls and boys are currently enrolled in Colombianitos's programmes which also incorporate learning through recreational activities like music.