As you travel down the dirt street into the Palmas del Mirador community on the outskirts of Cali, Colombia, the intricate narrow paths between the small houses and tiny shops grab your attention. The consistent flow of people coming down the hill causes your eyes to look up, revealing hundreds of homes. Walking up the hill, weaving between the crumbling clay brick homes and split wood or rusty metal shacks, the open doorways and gaps in the walls of these homes provide little protection or privacy as parents, teens, and children often share one room, one bed, and little hope. When you reach the top of the hill and look back, you see a fantastic view of the city of Cali, full of progress and opportunity, which seems impossibly farther than the one-hour bus ride it takes to get there.
It is in this setting that God has raised up an incredible opportunity for AMG to inspire hope, restore lives, and transform a community by meeting the deepest needs of children and families.
Palmas del Mirador is a very poor community which, despite being densely populated already, continues to grow more crowded as many people from rural parts of Colombia, along with displaced Venezuelans who have been forced to flee devastation in their country, settle there. The employment opportunities are limited. Those able to find work usually commute to the east side of Cali, earning $13–$15 per week, and are typically informally employed in construction or housekeeping. In order to try to make ends meet, multiple families often share a single home, and still do not have enough to adequately feed everyone.
Unfortunately, the pressure of daily survival has led to a weak family structure and many adults and children have resorted to drug use. Children are often unsupervised, which results in their victimization. Sadly, victims often become victimizers.
Another main issue facing families in Palmas del Mirador is the lack of education. Most adults in the community have less than a sixth-grade education. Children in the area can often be found hanging out in the streets during the day as school enrollment and transportation have been too difficult for these families to manage.
Despite the difficult circumstances, we know the greatest need of any individual is to know Christ as Savior. Because of this, AMG is starting a new child and youth development center in Palmas del Mirador to share the love and hope of Jesus, and give precious little ones the opportunity to escape their dire circumstances. Starting with 50 sponsored children, AMG national leaders will operate a six-day a week program tailored to meet the deep needs of this community. These faithful leaders will carry out a comprehensive plan that includes Bible lessons and discipleship, nutritional food, and educational access assistance and tutoring – in a safe and loving environment.
We believe things are about to change in Palmas del Mirador with the power of the Gospel. And, we are excited the Lord has opened the door for us to serve this new community and new country. Would you consider being one of the first to sponsor a child in need through our new child and youth development ministry in Colombia? Together, we can meet the deepest needs of the children in a way that will inspire hope, break the cycle of poverty, and transform the Palmas del Mirador community in Jesus’ name – one life at a time.