We know that there are many things people may do in order to help others. And, it seems, as if helping others was a task that never comes to an end. This should also be appreciated. It helps us feed our spirit. It keeps us alive, young, strong, wanting to fight, to improve.
That is how we arrived at “Propósito Perfecto” (perfect purpose). And, the name of this initiative, to my taste and at first impression, sounds a bit exagerated. But, the objective they have is simply to help. To help Colombian children, children who have been affected by violence, wether it be in the family or armed conflict.
Affected by the armed conflict
So, in terms of the armed conflict in Colombia we must say that it has created many ravages and victims, and the most affected are the child population.
Children who experience violence in their environments can present alterations of thought, withdrawal, anxiety, depression, behavior problems, attention and concentration.
The numbers are very scary. Firstly, the recruitment age is 13.5 years and they severe ties with them by age 17.
Second, from 1999 to 2016, the ICBF (Instituto Colombianos de Bienestar Familiar) helped around 6,000 minors who survived forced recruitment of armed groups.
The UN found that during 2018 more than 400 serious violations were carried out against children and teens. Violations that include murder, mutilation, kidnapping, sexual violence, denial of humanitarian assistance and also attacks on schools and hospitals.
Children who experience violence in their environments may have alterations in their thinking process, withdrawal, anxiety, depression, behavior, attention and concentration problems.
Other effects are: paranoia, backwardness in learning, fear of bathing or dressing alone, violent games, insomnia, nightmares, apathy and aggression.
On the other hand, in terms of intrafamily violence the situation is not much more encouraging. Domestic violence against children and adolescents remains a practice in Colombia.
Although it seemed like a thing of the past, there are still parents and caregivers who resort to beatings, bites, pinches and screams to reprimand children. Not counting the frequency with which situations occur in which they tie, lock or wet with cold water.
Many kids get burned by their own parents and with other marks of abuse. They also have other signs of abuse on their bodies.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest problems in this scenario is that society normalized physical and psychological abuse as a correct element in the upbringing. However, the implications are serious for the future. Children grow up with hatreds.
With a purpose
This projects mission is to reach the most vulnerable children in a state of violence and scarce resources in our cities and country (Colombia). The idea is to “give them” a different day. A day of recreation, refreshments, gifts and everything that can help them.
The vision of PERFECT PURPOSE is to reach where others haven’t been able to do so. To all those distant, hidden and forgotten places and to show them that they have a perfect purpose in their lives.
Helping children is the only way to ensure a dignified life for them.
So, we got down to work. It was the moment of reporting. And, that’s how this talk began, between messages and extra tasks, anxieties, car whistles and coffee.
Solkes: Why was this social initiative created?
Paola Vergara: It was created from the bottom of our heart. We saw the sad reality of our country. Our children have been mistreated every day, abused in all possible ways… without mercy. We believe we can can make a difference and showing them that they are not alone …that we take a bad day and turn it into a great one.
Solkes: Any reason for the name of the initiative?
Paola Vergara: The name of this project comes from the idea that we are born with a unique good purpose, with talents, gifts which are perfect and there is nothing more beautiful than knowing that if there are happy children there will be healthy adults in their self-esteem, less violence, less abusers.
Willington Martínez and Paola Vergara are the minds behind Próposito Perfecto. Willington and Paola work as independents. And, they have an interesting life story, to put it in a simple way, although it is not.
As Vergara told me, she experienced intrafamily violence at an early age.
On the other hand, Martinez grew up surrounded by the violence of the streets. Until he was 17, he lived in a very humble neighborhood, Siloe. He grew up surrounded by gangs.
Every day he left his house and there were dead people on the streets. He grew up in the middle of drugs. Although he never consumed, he witnessed the transactions.
He witnessed how many of his friends became hired assassins and drug dealers, among many other things.
Perhaps, one of the things that struck me the most when talking with Paola was her simplicity and humility. The work that they try to do, it’s without any hidden agendas, they want to offer boys and girls a little of tranquility, serenity and optimism.
Perfect Purpose has several objectives to work towards too. In the short term, they want more donors, sponsors, logistics personnel and everyone who has gifts, talents with children, to join this cause.
In the medium term they want to continue carrying out this type of events every time in more distant places and in a vulnerable state. Finally, in the long term they want to have a whole logistics team, transportation means, so that at least every 3 months they could be able to travel and set up the events.
Unfortunately, the regions where most of the rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are located face a greater presence of armed groups.
They, like many of us, want a world and a Colombia without poverty, exclusion and inequality.
Finally, we must emphasize that we need the solidarity of people to boost that childhood and their families.
They, Perfect Purpose, are a clear example to follow. With Vergara’s words in my mind, words that left me speechless. I remembered that it is not necessary to have studies or degrees to help others. The only thing that is needed is heart, dedication and dedication.