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Empowering Colombian Youth to Look Beyond Poverty and Violence through Music

Published 05/29/2013 by Global Communities

Empowering Colombian Youth to Look Beyond Poverty and Violence through Music
Los Dioses are six young men from Libertad, San Onofre in the Montes de Maria region of northern Colombia. Marked by violence, massacres and massive population displacement, Montes de Maria was one of the regions most affected by the armed conflict in Colombia.
What makes Los Dioses unique is that despite the challenges they see in their community – poverty, crime, mistrust – they choose to sing songs that encourage other young people to look beyond the circumstances around them. Singing from the heart, their song Soñadores (Dreamers) encourages young people in their community to choose a life beyond drugs, alcohol and gangs.
The song was produced through Afromúsica, an initiative developed to prevent illegal groups from recruiting children and youths by promoting values and leadership through art and music. Through Afromúsica, youth receive support and training in topics, not just related to music and the arts, but in areas such as psychosocial care, leadership and democratic values.
Estebana Garcia, the Academic Coordinator for Libertad High School, has witnessed the impact the initiative is having on his students.  “If these young people would not have received this opportunity, they might have ended up distorting their lives. Through music, they give messages that lead them to improve their quality of lives. Young people in Montes de Maria have many negative influences and few opportunities. Through writing these songs, they become part of their communities and their lives start being example for others. They become leaders and good role models for children and teenagers.”
Afromúsica is implemented by Global Communities through the USAID-funded Colombia Responde program. Learn more about Afromúsica here.