Colombia has the second largest number of internally displaced people in the world — almost four million.
CIDA is working with partners to protect the rights of vulnerable and displaced children and youth and help them find jobs.
Of the 400 000 people who live in Pasto, a city in the south of Colombia, almost 30 000 have been displaced by armed conflict.
Many young mothers and pregnant teenagers are among those who have fled their villages and found safety in Pasto.
Here are the stories of two young mothers benefitting from one CIDA-funded project:
Angie: "I'm 18. I'm an auxiliary nurse and I was displaced from the municipality of Barbacoas."
Carolina: "I'm 18. I'm originally from the municipality of Cumbitara."
Angie: "I will explain what happened. We had a restaurant."
Interviewer: "And the guerillas went to the restaurant?"
Angie: "Yes. And they came and ate everything, and they didn't pay. They took our cell phones. They said if they found anything they didn't like they would kill us."
Carolina: "There was always a death in the neighbourhood, it was normal. If it wasn't the paramilitaries it was the guerrillas. There were up to seven deaths every eight days. There were attacks. You would be in a shop buying stuff and a shoot-out would start. You'd have to run out with the bullets going everywhere."
Carolina: "They came at 3 in the morning. I was 4 months pregnant. they threw my dad on the floor, even though he was ill, and tied him up. They threw me on the floor too and my mom told them I was pregnant. They said they didn't care, that it wasn't their child. They tied up the father of my child too. They stuck a gun to his head. They told my mother to shut up and not get involved and at the end they told us that we had 5 minutes to leave. I was in a lot of pain and thought I was going to lose the baby."Services offered by the project
Angie: "They taught us about women's rights, when there's abuse where to go. They also talked to us about SENA — the national apprenticeship program."
Carolina: "We had sessions with the psychologist. When I got here to Pasto, I just wanted to die. I just wanted the earth to swallow me up, to dig a hole, to bury myself and never come out again! But thanks to this project, I've got loads of self-esteem now."
Angie: "The World Food Programme (WFP) gave us a lot. Sometimes we had enough money for rice but we didn't have enough for something to go with it — we didn't have enough for beans or lentils and so the WFP gave us beans, lentils, peas. They also gave us bread for the children, flour, oil, and that all helped us a lot."
Carolina: "After the sessions with the psychologist, now I feel like I'm someone important. I feel like I have to get ahead. I have to make sure my son studies. I don't want him to be like I was before, I want him to study and be a doctor."
Carolina: "Thank you and God bless. I hope you continue helping us because we need your support."
This project is one of several that CIDA supports in Colombia to help internally displaced people secure a future — through protection, education and employment.
As a result of this project, these young Colombian mothers can hope for a better future for themselves, and for their children.
In collaboration with: