We are hugely grateful to the Karlsson Játiva Charitable Foundation (KJCF) for supporting our Keeping Families Together project in Colombia. The project, through the Latin American Children’s Trust (LACT) Programme, works for the relief of poverty, distress and hardship of children and their families in the Andean region of Latin America.
Colombia faces a number of challenges. Poverty and violence results in thousands of children being separated from their families and placed under protective care, which often leads to living in institutions.
The Keeping Families Together Project has helped to lead the way in care reform in Colombia since its launch two years ago, and it’s been instrumental in protecting and supporting 953 vulnerable children:
- 681 children who were at risk of being separated from their families have been supported through Lumos’s family strengthening services.
- 74 children have been placed temporarily in foster homes instead of in institutional care, like Viviana’s family (see below).
- 198 children formerly in institutional care have received life-changing psychosocial support from professionals supported by Lumos.
Trustee and Founder of KJCF, Mr Erland Karlsson said:
“We have a particular interest in supporting Latin American children and their families, and Lumos’s ‘Keeping Families Together’ programme is making a real difference to these communities.
“Colombia faces a number of challenges. Poverty and violence results in thousands of children being separated from their families and placed under protective care, which often leads to living in institutions. We believe that children should grow up in the safety of a family, which is why we are providing long-term support to Lumos’s programme to reform the system of care in Colombia. By working with the Government, growing foster care and supporting institutions to transition to a family-based model of care, Lumos is making a huge and long-term impact on how children are cared for in Colombia. We hope this model will be used to influence the wider LAC region in future.”
“Our ongoing support of Lumos’ work in Colombia reflects our long-term commitment to the Latin American region.”
Lumos’s Country Director for Colombia, Rosario Del Rio said:
“With the support of organisations like LACT we're bringing about real, lasting change to vulnerable children and their families in Colombia. We plan to share the changes we’re seeing in Colombia with other country Governments in the LAC region, to try to influence care reform on a larger scale. We're so grateful to everyone who supports our work. Every gift is important and appreciated.”
Case study - Foster mother Viviana
“Being able to help a child who is in a vulnerable situation and who needs care, is very gratifying to me,” says Viviana from Bogotá, who is taking part inthe Michín Foundation’s Foster Home Programme supported by Lumos. “I thought that if I have the time, the disposition and the will, why not?”
Through this programme children are placed in temporary foster care so they can experience the care and love of a family environment while arrangements are made for them to be safely reintegrated into their biological family.
Viviana lives in a house in the west of Bogotá, with her husband, her three adult children, a number of pets and, more recently, three young children whom she took into her care as a foster mother. She learned about the programme through a friend and decided to join. Her children were grown, she spent a lot of time alone and she missed caring for others.
For Viviana, the most rewarding part of being a foster mother is knowing that the children will one day return to their own families.
She has found it a steep learning curve with Sofia* (6 months), Carlos* (12 months) and Sebastian* (3 years) all requiring different types of care and routines. But her days are filled with laughter and games, as well as nursery rhymes such as La Vaca Lola and El Sapo Pepe – with a musical accompaniment from the family cats and dog!
“There are many children who need the warmth of a home,” says Viviana. “Family is the most important thing in the world. Everyone needs a parent, to know that they have somewhere to go and someone to talk to.”
* children’s names changed