Operations on the ground have started to open an International School for refugee and vulnerable children in Bogotà, on the same model as Still I Rise International School of Nairobi.
The situation of children is highly critical: estimates speak of 16 percent of adolescents out of upper secondary school (Unicef, 2019), exposed to the continued risk of violence and child labor. It is suspected, however, that this percentage is much higher due to the difficult tracking of refugees and internally displaced persons.
For the past 50 years, the Colombian population has suffered humanitarian consequences of an internal armed conflict (ended by peace agreements in 2016): forced migration, increased numbers of refugees, forced recruitment of children and youth, and sexual and gender-based violence.
During the years of armed conflict, 6,270,000 people have been displaced in the country, a crisis in terms of refugee numbers second only to Syria. Disproportionately affected are Colombians of African descent and indigenous persons.
Colombia hosts 2.5 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, making it the second largest refugee host country in the world. Over 6 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, which resulted in one of the world's largest episodes of forced displacement as a result of the economic collapse and political crisis faced by their country.
Although Colombia has generously offered residency rights, many migrants and refugees still face extreme hardship and have few resources to support themselves. In particular, many children are in dire need of assistance and reintegration into the formal school system.
5,2 million refugees in Colombia
327,000 refugee children from Venezuela*
323,000 children in poverty in Bogota**
* source UNICEF 2019
** source DANE, 2023
Following the successful experience in Kenya with the Still I Rise International School of Nairobi, we are opening an international school for refugee and vulnerable children in Bogota, offering the International Baccalaureate framework totally free of charge.
The International Baccalaureate is a not-for-profit organisation that works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. IB pathways are among the most renowned and expensive in the world, usually offered by schools whose students include the children of those who have chosen high-level diplomatic, political and business careers.