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Working Hard to Make Life Fun

Dalgis Alandete is a tutor in one of our Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) helping to provide a safe space where children can play and feel supported.

What are some of the problems that Venezuelan children are facing in Colombia?

Venezuelan children don’t have homes to protect them from the rain and there have been reports of kidnappings. Most of their parents are unemployed, so children have to sell water or sweets on the street, or even beg, to make money. Some are also exposed to abuses and exploitation. They are very vulnerable.

What difference does the CFS make?

It’s a nurturing, protected space where children can forget their worries for a little bit, and focus on learning and playing, instead. We use games, art and other activities to help them build their resilience and to teach them how to treat each other well. I spend a lot of time telling them what their rights are – the right to not be mistreated, for instance. We also educate them about risk, such as how they shouldn’t talk to strangers.

What have been some of your success stories?

12-year-old Brayan was an isolated boy who’d often get upset with his parents. In the CFS, he’s become more collaborative and friendly, including with his mum and dad. Angel is 13 and sleeps on the streets with his mother and sisters. He said the CFS sounded “boring”, when I met him, and he was very shy. But now he enjoys painting here and has a strength that is an example to other children and, most importantly, his family.

“The child friendly space is a nurturing space where children can focus on playing and learning.”

What do you like most about your job?

It’s a gift to become someone special to the children. To teach them how valuable they are. They have big dreams; they want to be teachers, lawyers, doctors. I hope they become beautiful, kind adults, too.

What’s your message to the supporters who help fund the CFS?

They have huge hearts and I appreciate that so much. They’re allowing us to bring a lot of humanity to people through our work.

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