Let the Children Live
LCL works mainly in Medellín. Johnny Glennie (one of our founders) went out and worked there for several months in 1996 and Tom Stephens spent a month there more recently.
The charity was founded by Father Peter Walters in 1982, and he became involved with street children because they helped him when he became temporarily stranded in Colombia. It is Colombians who are taking the lead in helping street children, and the focus is both on those already living on the street, and on pioneering programmes aimed at preventing other children from joining them.
Have a look at the LCL website www.letthechildrenlive.org and read the pages about the “gamines” (the disposable ones), and also the pages about “Funvini”. This is LCL’s main partner in Colombia. Funvini’s programmes are implemented through street-educators who make initial contact with street children, and through Casa Walsingham (Walsingham House). This is situated strategically between the city centre and the northern slum areas (barrios marginales). A much needed development programme was carried out at Casa Walsingham, to enable Funvini to provide more facilities there – and the money we donated helped with that expansion.
LCL have told us that their work is continuing, and they have programmes for about 600 children in Medellín. It includes:
• a number who work on the street, together with their younger brothers and sisters who live in the violent shanty-towns that sprawl up the sides of the Andes
• those who come to Casa Walsingham, and
• some who sleep on the street. The tremendous problems faced by the Colombian government mean that there is little money to spare for these children, making the LCL work immensely important.