In Colombia there are 12.5 million young people between the ages of 14 and 28. This is 25% of the total population. In 2019, 2.7 million of them did not have access to work or study, but the pandemic added 500.000 to that statistic.

Pablo may or may have not been a child soldier. His story is shady, full of holes and secrecy, but it is for sure that he comes from a region of Colombia with a lot of internal conflict = war. When he started coming to the program, he was jittery; a helicopter flying over would make him tense and suspicious. He had nervous twitches and a knee that wouldn’t stop jumping. In group settings he wouldn’t make eye contact and would sit in a corner, not participating. But now, we see a different Pablo. He has a smile on his face, and likes to give everyone hugs. He likes to teach classes on making jewelry and is working on selling some of his artwork. He flees when we are about to start our house church gathering… but ten minutes later comes back with some silly excuse and gradually sits closer to where the action is.