Developing Childrens' Talents in Altos de Menga
“Transforming the lives of children and adolescents in terms of their way of thinking about their future life prospects is an opportunity that The LEO Fund is helping us achieve. This in an important moment for our organization, because we needed financial support to continue with our work,” said Lonis Miley Murillo Ibargüen, the director of the Fundación Talentos Altos de Menga, with emotion in her voice.
The Altos de Menga neighborhood is located in the western region of Cali, Colombia. Challenged with high poverty rates, a lack of access to traditional city services such as sewer, water, power, and schools children living within the community are at extreme risk for gang violence. Youth and adolescents are often forced to participate in narcotics sales or trafficking. Additionally, adolescent girls within the neighborhood experience high rates of teen pregnancy.
These realities contribute to elevated school dropout rates that not only directly impact the children and their future life prospects, but steal the community’s future as a whole. According to Ismael Murillo Mosquera, an 11-year-old participant in the program, the need for a community activism program that supports children and teens by providing access to an educational support system is critical.
Under the direction and guidance of program head Lonis Miley Murillo Ibargüen, the Fundación Talentos program creates a safe place for children to receive homework assistance, participate in art and music classes, all while developing their individual talents in an attempt to create more positive life opportunities.
“In our program, children are taught to contribute to their community using the knowledge and skills that we are helping them develop," said Lonis. "Additionally, thanks to The LEO Fund, we are also working with their parents, because our goal is to teach them not just to take from a community but also to contribute to it.”
Through the grant award received by Fundación Talentos Altos de Menga, Lonis and her team will be able to develop additional classes and expand training programs for the youth and their parents. Grant monies will be utilized to purchase computers for homework and internet access, and new musical equipment to expand cultural programs. Additionally, a remodel of the facility’s physical structure will allow for up to forty more students the ability to participate in this incredible program.
Your financial support to The LEO Fund assists in social justice and community development programs such as this, positively impacting the lives of others. Please consider a donation to The LEO Fund so that we can sustain and grow our partnerships with these amazing community leaders.