Colombia has suffered so much. People have lost so many friends and relatives because of conflict. Almost 2.5 million Colombians have been killed. “But we don’t need much in this country”, said Maicol, a youth student. And he is true, Colombians aren’t warlike. They just need peace and education opportunities.
“I remember when we walked to school with my older brother. We ran through the countryside and he usually shouted at the cows. Unfortunately, my brother is no longer with me because of the war", said Maicol. The beautiful memories of his childhood in Colombia are marked by the armed conflict that also forced his family to flee to Venezuela when he was six years old.
Maicol and his mother (Maria) slowly rebuilt a new life in Venezuela, where they found opportunities to protect themselves and acceded to job and education opportunities. However, in 2015 Maicol’s family returned to Colombia.
Nine years after having left everything behind, the story repeats again. Maicol and his family came to the country with not much in their hands. Living without a roof neither food, they asked for help. Family ties came together again. The support was immediate. Relatives offered them shelter and food. So, they decided to start their new life in the Barrio Largo settlement in the urban area of Tibu. Now the family lives in a small house made of wood. Without no safe water or electricity, Maicol's house brings them a save heaven to start their lives again… for a third time.
As a consequence of their new displacement, Maicol and her sister (Karen,12) interrupted their education for two years. Lack of opportunities and economic recourses prevented them from continuing their education. "I didn’t study during two years. It was an eternity to me. It was difficult to access to education because of my age. We did not have money to pay for books."
Early 2017, the staff of the “We are Education project” funded by Dubai Cares knocked on the door of Maicol's home. Without hesitation, Maria (Maicol's mother) enrolled them in the project. Maicol and Karen attended motivational classes where they were prepared to go back to school. Dubai Cares program promotes and supports the inclusion of displaced people into formal education systems, so Maicol can benefit from an accredited education that allows him to progress through all levels of the education system.
Today, Maicol enjoys doing his homework with his mother. "I like to study. When I grow up I would like to become a doctor to heal children who have suffered the same trauma as me” Maicol said.