Friday, November 23, 2007

It's easy to forget how fortunate we are and how much we can do...

Today, I was able to return to Fundación Formemos where I worked for several months during 2005 and with which I have continued a close relationship for the last two years. The foundation is set up as a boarding home, a school, a small farm, and a community resource for kids that have been displaced by the armed conflict. There, they teach children from ages 4-18, the skills they need to stay in the rural areas and not displace to the city. The stories of some of the kids are so heart wrenching, it's hard to imagine how they get up, go to school, smile, laugh, and play like any other child. Browsing through their files, there are many girls who have been raped, abandoned, or severely malnourished. One boy is at the foundation because his father is in prison for killing his mother in front of him. Many of the children live at the foundation because their parents are either not around or live too far away, but some come from the surrounding rural area and commute to the foundation in bus, or on foot.
The girl in the picture above is named Dianica. Her mother, Gloria, is mentally disabled and was raped when she was 13. She walks several miles each day to accompany her two girls to the foundation, and, not surprisingly, becomes hysterical if a strange man touches them. The house, if you can call it a house, where she and her two daughters live has no electricity, and only recently has had its dirt floor replaced by a slab of cement. The pictures in the slideshow will give you a closer look, but the conditions are really deplorable.
The social workers at the foundation have worked hard to help Gloria improve as a parent, but she is mentally disabled and unable to get a job. She works at the foundation on the weekends in return for food and schooling for the girls. She's hoping to make a room that has a roof and a floor for the two girls who suffer many health problems due to their living conditions. The social workers at the foundation will take care of all the building arrangements if we can get together the money to make a room for the two girls. Gloria already has some bricks, which will bring the cost down, and Fundación Formemos would handle all the money to make sure it is used properly. If I can raise $500 dollars, we can get Gloria a suitable stove for cooking, and a dignified room for the two girls to sleep.

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