LCL!~~~ Update September 2022
The past two and a half years have been difficult for everyone, including Let The Children Live! yet we came through it better than we had expected. This was due to our supporters’ loyalty and the unexpected arrival of several legacies. Legacies make such a difference and these were literally a God-send.
During 2020 and 2021 we were forced to adapt the way we worked whilst Medelli?n was under Lockdown. The children whom the charity helps generally survive by begging or doing menial jobs in the street. During Lockdown none of this was possible so one of the jobs the charity undertook was to feed families who would otherwise have starved. Many of these were Venezuelan refugees who had fled from their own country where the economy had collapsed and who had no other means of survival, so the charity’s food parcels were vital to them. In total Funvini kept 1,200 people alive with its food parcels during the pandemic.
Funvini’s school for teenagers also ran during the pandemic. Approximately 20 teenage girls and boys from the streets and shanty-towns were attending the school during this time. The girls were teenage mothers and all had missed out on education in the state schools and had no hope of ever obtaining their High School Certificate, which they would need if they were to obtain employment and any hope of a future.
The two-year accelerated course that Funvini offers, delivered by staff who understand the teenagers’ needs—including the need for the girls to bring their babies to school with them—was adapted sufficiently for it to be continued in spite of the Lockdown and some even graduated during that time.
The choir also continued to run during this time, though in difficult circumstances, but nevertheless our staff managed to keep in touch with the choristers and hold practices via Zoom.
The adaptations that Funvini had to make were, of course, costly but nevertheless the charity was able to save some money during this time and plans were made to extend Casa Bannatyne by adding a third floor. The
number of children who can be helped at Funvini’s two centres is limited by lack of space so plans were drawn up to build a library, a multi-purpose class-room, an extra dormitory and bathroom, two offices, two loos and a lift, and to enlarge the Chapel and the dining-room. But prices have been rising in Colombia as much as in Britain, so building and equipping these additional facilities is now likely to cost around £100,000. Our income fell by 30% in the first part of 2022 so we urgently need extra help to enable us to start work on this project as soon as possible. Until then, it is on hold.The economic crisis is already impacting the charity considerably.
Over in Colombia our children are now back at school and coming to Casa Walsingham and Casa Bannatyne. There are several hundred of them, relying on us for their education; their food; their health care and their safety. If they cannot rely on the charity then these children who come from the shanty-towns and streets of the city, may well turn to the gangs as a source of support. Once involved with them they are likely to find themselves involved with drugs, murders and prostitution and there will be little chance of escape, alive.
Our work in Medelli?n is as important as ever, but if we don’t have the money to finance all of it, then cutbacks have to be made and as we have already cut back as far as we can, the next in line would be children. That is something we definitely do not want.
We need prayer. We believe this is God’s work and if He wants it to flourish then He is perfectly capable of helping us get the money we need. But, as in our Lord’s parable of the Friend at Midnight and the Unjust Judge, we have to be persistent. We know that many of our supporters do remember us in their prayers every day and we thank them for that. Please, may we ask you all to pray for us especially at this time, that we might have that which we need to maintain and develop our work in Medelli?n, caring for our boys and girls and offering them the chance of “life in all its fulness”.
If you would like one of our Prayer Cards please contact us in any of the ways suggested below.
It may be that you could obtain an invitation for us to speak and appeal in your local church or Rotary Club. Either Fr Peter or myself would be happy to do this if you felt able to help us. Or maybe you could speak to your local schools to ask if they would like us to tell the children about our work, or perhaps you could run a fund-raising Event for us? A lot of people doing even just a little could make a positive difference.
Further Updates will be put on the ‘Latest’ page of the website from time to time, with ‘Intercessions and Update’ being printed and sent out twice a year.
Suggestions for Prayer
• that Let The Children Live! will receive enough money to be able to maintain the level of its work in Medelli?n.
• that the plans to extend Casa Bannatyne will be enabled to go ahead.
• for Kimberly Aguas Gavides who is 10 months old. She is not growing or developing properly and has various health problems. She has also been bitten by rats on her hands.
• for Maria Guadalupe Graciano, who is 1 year old, and recently suffered Covid for the third time.
• for Angel Camilo Castan?eda Arango, who is 9 years old. He suffered an accident in his home in one of the shanty-towns last Christmas and has been left with physical and neurological damage.
• for all our children and for Fr Peter and all our Colombian staff.
Postal address: Let The Children Live! PO Box 11, Walsingham, Norfolk NR22 6EH
Telephone: 01302 858369