Colombia is the center of a long-standing conflict surrounding drug traffic and terrorist movements. There is a war going on, with the highest kidnapping rate in the world (85% of all kidnappings world-wide!), a violent death every 15 minutes (compare this to the USA, having 3 times the population, and a violent death every 30 minutes), and hundreds of homeless as a result of the war between the guerillas and the paramilitary.
At the end of 2005, Healing Colombia began working with the government, in their psychosocial programs for narco-terrorists who had been demobilized and/or laid down their arms. Currently, there are roughly 40,000 of these folks in Colombia, the largest group of this kind in the world.
Seventy per cent of these ex-guerillas are between 12 and 25 years of age. From the moment these young people demobilize, they are recognized as “new citizens” and required to pass through a series of workshops that help them readjust to society. The program includes classes on citizenship, civil rights and literacy forums, as well as 9 sessions of psychosocial modules.
Healing Colombia is responsible for the Music Therapy forum. As would be expected, many inner wounds trouble these ex-guerrillas, and although it’s not easy, they’ve voluntarily made the decision to disarm, both physically and mentally. Group therapy, music and affection allow them to reveal their true feelings. Once they admit their mistakes, they are given a chance to begin again. As it turns out, many became part of the guerilla movement as children or teens and have been the victims of abuse and tyranny. We see them as simple human beings who certainly deserve another chance.
Healing Colombia also helps to organize the graduation ceremony where the graduates of this two-year program receive a diploma.