I have this typical family image in my memory: parents watching the 7 pm news and kids coming and going out of their room while playing.
Due to life circumstances, in more than one occasion I saw an image of a man that picked up children from the streets of our city (Bogotá), helping them get out of the misery state they were in.
I can clearly recall the impact it had in me as a child.
Pain and admiration
A mixture of pain while seeing kids my age in horrible circumstances. A feeling of great admiration because this man was helping them, doing anything in his power to help others. Giving his love, warmth and a hand to improve their life.
Three decades have gone by since I came across the 7pm news, now nearly 40 years old, life has given me the opportunity of meeting the man we all know as Papá Jaime (father Jaime).
He, who is “stuffed” with generosity and kindness, has allowed me to come closer to his history and his wonderful foundation.
Fundación Niños de los Andes
Papá Jaime created the Fundación Niños de los Andes (Andes Children Foundation), a nonprofit organisation in 1980.
The idea was to help children that are in vulnerables situations and abandonment who were exposed to great psychological and physical risks.
Currently, the foundation has different supports programs depending on the child’s case.
They help children with drug problems. They help children who have been taken away from their family because of abuse.
They offer them a place to live, they work trying to overcome the problems and creating a healthy life situation where they could go back to their family or a foster family.
The staff is always willing to help them with health care, therapeutic attentions, education, ludic and playful activities.
They have a special “going out” program intended for those who want to go out and work having in mind Papá Jaime’s quote “don’t give them fish, teach the how to catch it”.
All thanks to the love and support they get in order to find themselves. They fin inner peace and lust for life, many of them get too achieve their dreams and goals.
Now a days, the kids that have left Fundación Niños de los Andes are a source of inspiration for others. Once they find happiness and their path, they are “hooked” to love and are filled with gratefulness, sharing their experiences and what they learned with other kids in need.
A global impact
The impact this Non Profit Organisation has in our society is huge.
Firstly, they protect children. Secondly because of the methodology they impart to shape them and help them achieve their best. They are always sowing seeds that benefit others.
Their impact is so massive that children, men and women can learn and benefit form this institution. Reminding us that we can lend a hand and give back to society.
Thanks to Papá Jaime and Patricia González for creating this amazing institution, for their generosity, for their willingness and for their endless love. I have no doubt whatsoever that God and life will give it back to them.