In 1992, Father Jorge Villalobos Ortega, a Mexican priest, arrived in the city of Medellin, Antioquia, and beyond the beauty of his mountains he could see the belts of misery that surrounded the Valley of Aburrá.
He asked a group of young people to whom he lectured on human value: Why are we indifferent to the situation of poverty and violence in Medellin?
In response, the group began to visit the surrounding community in order to experience its reality. The group visited with the families of the Moravia neighborhood, the Morro sector, the old dump of Medellín, in order to better understand the community’s needs. Local residents had an opportunity to share their dreams and ideals with the group.
In 1993, the group opened an educational room and 33 children came to receive an education. It became clear to Father Villalobos and his group that the community needed education and training in order to become the creators of a better future.
A People United and Youth for Peace Foundation
These experiences led to the creation of a People United and Youth For Peace Foundation, a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing education, training and protection to vulnerable children and young people, in order to meet their educational and training needs. The Foundation provides resources, continuous training and social responsibility exercises in order to improve the quality of life in the community.
The Foundation provides protection and education to the most vulnerable population of Medellín and its metropolitan area. Currently, there are five Educational Centers located in the most vulnerable areas of the city, including the Moravia, Santo Domingo (La Esperanza), Manrique (La Honda), Belén (Villa Café) and Robledo (Pajarito) neighborhoods. The Foundation feeds more than 3,200 children, young people and adults. It provides educational opportunities from Early Childhood, Pre-school, Basic Primary, Basic Secondary to Adult Education. It houses 170 children and young people in the Bohio de María Home who have suffered domestic violence, abuse or neglect. These children and young adults receive counseling, education and training and range from 3 months of age to university graduates.
At present, 1399 XO Laptops are being used in the educational centers. The educational component is supported by the Marina Orth Foundation.