Fundación Hijos de Amor (the Children of Love Foundation) was created on August 11, 2017. The headquarters was formalized in the community of the Altos de Santa Helena. Altos de Santa Helena was designed to provide housing solutions for the jarillón inhabitants that where displaced.
Like many organizations, it’s founders decided to use as pillars some teachings that for them have been important. As they explained to us, the word of God. And, the affirmation of making a foundation based on the word of God is quite interesting. On this point we will go into detail later.
In 2016, the young people of congregación La Casa del Padre (the La Casa del Padre Congregation), from the city of Cali, encouraged the development of a youth training that suggested working for the city. They had a collective reflection regarding how to invest their talents and time in something valuable. Firstly, seeking to create a safe space for the use of free time focused on children and teens it all came together and that is exactly how the Fundación Hijos de Amor (the Children of Love Foundation) project began.
In order to make it known, a “Unidos por la vida” dissemination action was carried out.Action in which they gave away gifts, refreshments and bibles.
In 2018 they officially started working. A collection of school kits was organized for a campaign called “ESTUDIOS”. The school kits were distributed in different sectors of the city (Altos de Santa Helena, El Retiro neighborhood, and mothers head of household).
We had the opportunity of talking to Ingrid Rocío Calvache, who is in charged of the outreach program done by the foundation.
Laura Viera A: Do you talk a lot about God and his love, why is this so important?
Ingrid Rocío Calvache: Love is the purest source to build something. God is love and only through Him, we can love with freedom and build our life in fullness.
Love is bound to give, only the one who loves gives and the one who is loved receives. There are Four necessary aspects to be healthy (in every sense): love, security, identity, and purpose.
Laura Viera A: Why do children receive help? Do they need to belong to a particular religion or are they all welcome?
Ingrid Rocío Calvache: We do not have any admission filter, the only factor that prevents us from receiving more children, at the moment, is the space we have at headquarters. We have a limit of 30 children in each schedule; morning and afternoon, for a total of 60 children.
Laura Viera A: You have several social projects, I would like you to tell me a little about each of them.
The “Barrio Comunitario” (Community Neighborhood) project was carried out with the creation of a food and clothing warehouse. We placed a lot of emphasise in the clothing warehouse. All was received through donations from generous people of the Iglesia La Casa del Padre and others who, upon learning of the purpose, joined the cause.
Every first Saturday of the month clothing and household items are offered at a very low cost. In return, benefiting the community and with the proceeds to finance in some way the activities carried out with the children. The financial funds from the organization come entierre from contributions, the food bank is on hold for the moment.
The “Jóvenes con propósito y familias felices” (Young people with purpose and happy families) project will start soon. It is meant to strengthen this year’s work with young people and their families.
Similarly, the work done by the organisation, like everything else, has had its difficult moments. But, the most difficult thing has been the creation of a constant work team.
It hurts a child to speal about death in the corner fo their houses, of a father that never came back. We can also see the joy in their faces when receiving cereals with milk.
At this moment, Ingrid Rocío is the only person who is a permanent employee. The other members, who support their work, come and go according to their work schedules and other commitments. The organisation can not offer any payment, so they are all volunteers.
On the other hand, the easiest thing has been to achieve empathy with the children who are part of this beautiful project. As teh days go by, we see progress in their behavior and relationships of affection and sense of belonging have been established by the Foundation.
Laura Viera A: Have you faced absurd or “complicated” realities?
Ingrid Rocío Calvache: At the beginning of the work in the Foundation we had many expectations of what we would experience when we got involved with the children and their families. Something that we strongly perceive, is the fact that the children’s eyes are filled with hope even when they speak about a reality that hurts us in our hearts: violence, deaths, divorces, absent parents. So all this encourages us to continue, there must be a reason why God brought us together.
What we are missing
Calvache assured us that in our country we lack the constitution of true families, not only amongst the poorest people but in our entire society. Parents who really think and live their fatherhood with understanding. We need homes where the security of feeling loved forges lives with identity and purpose, equally lacks awareness of the importance of education as an important way to get ahead.
Family is the fundamental component of every society. It is in this family context, that begins during childhood where skills and values will be acquired.
We need homes where feeling loved forges lives with identity and purpose. Likewise, there is a lack of awareness about the importance of education as an important way to get ahead.
Education opens the doors for a better future. Government support on this issue should be absolute.
Education has meant a source of knowledge for millions of young people around the world.
Most countries understand the benefits education brings, but many do not apply it in the right way. Therefore, finding a way to develop a strategy on education in a country should be obvious. Although it is difficult and mistakes are made, it should be clear that education is the main tool to get ahead.
For starters, education in the 21st century is not the same as in past centuries. It has evolved. Finishing primary school is not enough. The higher levels of education a person has, the more job opportunities they will have.
In this way, the intellectual development of a country increases and poverty decreases. On the other hand, a country improves when its population increases its chances of work, and quality of life.
What we need in order to help
Laura Viera A: Why is it necessary to help minors?
Ingrid Rocío Calvache: As we know, they are the hope of a better country, they are a propitious field for the good to grow and multiply. That is why it is important to support those who are going to sow love in the hearts of our childhood. We recognize that we are not the only ones and that makes us happy. There is hope for our beloved Colombia.
At the moment the foundation only works in Cali. However, they hope that the day will come when their vision and execution will be perfected with the experience of the work and the help that can be taken to other places.
They have several goals. They want to work in effective parenthood. They do this through workshops and other activities with the parents of children who attend the Foundation. Likewise, they want to support children in their academic progress since many have a very low performance.
In the medium term they want to give more structure the work they do. They also, want to improve their headquarters. They need at least one TV, wi-fi network, local acoustics, air conditioning, tablets or PC to work on projects with a technological focuss. They want to complete the establishment of the social projects proposed as a Foundation.
Future plans are too many … but they have some in mind. They want to have a school where they can expand the schedule for children and thus provide everything they require in terms of comprehensive training. In their free time they want to work with extracurricular workshops, ensuring that they spend the least time exposed in the streets where they are exposed to gangs and vices. They want to develop a more intentional work with parents to strengthen the homes, changing the culture of intrafamily violence and strengthen responsible fatherhood.
In the end, the staff behind this organization would like not to depend on the denotations of other to exist.
Meaning, that they would like to have enough rsources to help more children and above all overcome each day our work being more effective.
They are grateful for what we they have achieved during 2018, but hope that 2019 will be an auspicious year to advance in this dream.
The idea that they have is to become transforming agents of realities. They are a group of people who dream of a generation that rises to establish the love of God in their environment.
they want people to not only love their neighbour, but also themselves. They want people to be agents of change, with a healthy mentality, without resentment, selfishness, fear.
The work that the foundation does in Cali is important for the community. We believe that it is necessary to share this vision with other people who wish to contribute to the development of a better country.