NPR Features Salesian Center Helping Former Child Soldiers

Publication Date: 
June 06, 2013

Today, Jasmine is taking cooking classes and plans to expand her culinary skills. Her dream is to one day open her own restaurant. But not long ago, she was a child soldier immersed in a gruesome and violent war. Her inspiring transformation is taking place at the Salesian Center in Cali, Colombia, and caught the attention of National Public Radio which featured the story last week on Morning Edition.

The Salesian Center is home to dozens of young people like Jasmine, all desperate to escape the horrors that robbed them of their childhoods. They are victims of guerrilla groups that recruit and kidnap vulnerable children, forcing the children to become soldiers of war. They are exposed to horrors that would traumatize any human being... especially a young child.

It’s a crisis that has lasted more than four decades, claimed about 5,000 innocent lives a year and has forced nearly 2 million people to abandon their homes.

For the child soldiers who are able to survive and escape the bloodshed, the need for healing and rehabilitation is imperative. That’s why the Salesian Center in Cali is making such a huge impact.

Jasmine and her peers are safe now that they are under the care and guidance of compassionate, loving adults. In addition to receiving basic necessities like food, clothing and housing, these former child soldiers are able to attend classes and learn skills that will enable them to lead happy, productive lives.

It’s a transformational process that’s made possible through the kindness and generosity of special friends like you.

Listen to the NPR segment:

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Due to the changing situation in Colombia, experts predict a surge in the number of child soldiers who will need help. Your gifts to Salesian Missions enable us to operate and expand programs like the Salesian Center in Cali, so young people have a place to heal and rebuild their shattered lives. Thank you for whatever you can give today.

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