PA'LANTE KIDS IN SOACHA/CIUDAD BOLIVAR
Soacha is a municipality next to Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. While the official estimate of the population is around 550,000, many estimate this number to be closer to 650,000 given that so many people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the guerrilla warfare in addition to thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime. To put this into context, Soacha's population amounts to that of Portland or Las Vegas.
In Soacha, 67% of the population is living in poverty, which in Colombia is defined as annual income of a little more than $800, or $68 per month.
Since the advent of Covid-19, the situation worsened. In 2020, the mayor estimated that there were more deaths from hunger than from the deadly virus. In an environment like this, kids are constantly exposed to criminal gangs hawking drugs to children.
By providing these kids in Soacha (and contiguous areas such as Ciudad Bolivar) with an opportunity to practice soccer and other sports, Pa'lante is helping them stay away from drugs and other dangers on the streets. Pa’lante also believes that with physical activity we can promote these kids’ enjoyment, and the development of discipline, teamwork and a sense of purpose.
The Pa'lante Project support the efforts of CEPER (Centro de Perfeccionamiento), an organization that coaches soccer and promotes the physical development of kids. We have committed to supporting their ever growing needs and to personally helping with their coaching program.
We are inspired by the work of Nelson Mateus (founder of CEPER), John Paipilla, Ivan Zuluaga and Daniel Daza, who have not only extensive experience as soccer coaches but also, and most importantly, the needed dedication to help kids move forward!