By Harrison Garcia Ruiz, CFCA communication center liaison in Bogota, Colombia
Many children in the rural areas of Colombia have to walk long distances to get their education.
One example is Diego, 13, sponsored through CFCA. He must walk an hour and 20 minutes one way to attend school in a town outside Bogota.
Every morning Diego wakes up at 4:30 a.m. He takes a shower, dresses in his school uniform, eats breakfast and starts walking at 5:30 a.m.
He starts classes at 7 a.m. and finishes at 1 p.m. Sometimes he walks all the way back home, but occasionally his mother has the money to give him to take a bus to come back home from school.
Even when Diego takes the bus, he needs to walk 30 minutes to get to his house.
Some of the biggest challenges Diego faces are the rainy season and frosts during the early morning.
The streets are not cemented, and Diego has to wear boots for the mud. He keeps his school shoes in his backpack.
Diego loves to study. His favorite subject is English, and his favorite sport is soccer. He wants to be a professional soccer player someday.
ìI am so thankful and glad for the school supplies that I received at CFCA and for the formation and support CFCA brings to my mother,î Diego said. ìIn this way, my mother is able to teach me good moral values, and she helps me with my homework.î
Diego also credits his mother with helping him focus on his education.
“I help my mother with the chores at home, and she helps me to understand my subjects better and to do my homework,” he said. “We work as a team!”
Diego’s mother, Maria, said she is thankful for her son’s sponsorship. The family’s income from growing and selling flowers is not enough to pay for all their needs.
Maria attends mothers group meetings at the local CFCA office, and there she receives support to overcome the difficulties she and her family face.
“Thanks to CFCA, we get motivation to finish our education and to teach our children how important it is to get a good education,” Maria said. “We discover our skills and our children’s skills, and we develop these skills.”
Also, she can check her children’s school grades, and in this way CFCA staff members encourage mothers to help their children learn how to get good grades in school.
ìI feel that CFCA is with me, and I feel the support of the CFCA mothers groups,” Maria said. “I am learning how to have a better communication with my family. I feel glad because CFCA teaches us how we have to teach our children and how to understand them better.”
Author’s note: After this blog post was published, the CFCA project in Bogota helped get a bicycle for Diego so he no longer has to walk to school.