Where We Started
There are numerous barriers globally that limit kids access to education such as political, environmental, social, and economical. However, around the world we recognize the inherent value of education and its impact on the future of society. In Tasajera, Colombia on the northern coast, few opoprtunities exist beyond the traditional fishing industry fed by tourism. Due to their unique location, the community is caught between the sea and a major highway which has serious environmental implications. A cyclical issue of poverty exists due to lack of resources and instability in this town. And when your primary, critical needs cannot be met, it is impossible to focus on and prioritize education if every day is dedicated to survival. At FRCares, we saw a community fighting to provide more for their younger generations. We decided to take action, and create Taller de Cambio or Work for Change.
Tasajera, Colombia lies along the long stretch of highway between the coastal cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta in the Carribbean. While these coastal cities have garnered more international attention in the last several years as tourist hot-spots, Tasajera remained in the shadows. A small coastal fishing village, the majority of families survive off the fishing industry and tourists passing through, few own small businesses that support the community and even fewer are professionals. Despite these circumstances, the people of Tasajera are simple, kind, hard-working people that are trying to uplift their families and community.
The local school mainly caters to students from Tasajera as well as neighboring town Cienaga and even pulls teachers from outside the town as well. They have a high graduation rate with many students continuing on to a technical degree. Most students that graduate and complete a technical degree remain in Tasajera and develop their work life and build their family inside the community.
As with any community, Tasajera is facing several challenges that are impacting the success and progress of their people. First, there are several critical environmental issues such as bad garbage treatment, lack of sewage systems, and zones without restroom facilities which are incredibly harmful to the health of the town’s population. Second, there are low educational levels at a family level which impacts the psychosocial development of the kids. Lastly, there are high rates of teen preganancy due to a lack of sex-education and the absence of health resources.
Our goal in Tasajera is to create Taller de Cambio or Work for Change, a program that supports new opportunties focused on education, art, and sustainability. The project will be broken up into phases with short-term goals at each step of the way. In the first Phase, we will partner with the local school and SENA, the national service for internships and apprenticeships, to offer classes about the environment and arts. The goal at this stage is to get as many community members involved to learn about environmental factors that impact their health and ways to mitigate it including through the use of sustainable art. In the second Phase, we will be partnering with the community members that participated in the classes to develop a product or service based on what they learned previously. The goal in this stage is for the community to propose the product or service that will generate a new source of income and a business opportunity as well as address the educational and enviromental issues in the town. Lastly, in the third Pahse, FRCares will use FRContent services to sclae the product or service to increase visibility and awareness for the community.