It has only been six months since the Peace Circus, came to Putumayo in Colombia. For many, the project has already had a great impact in their lives and one of them is Yuliana, an 8th grade student full of joy and tenderness. She has grown up in a traditional South Colombian family in Putumayo and she has always struggled with being very cautious and shy. For many children who live in this area, the risk of abuse, recruitment to armed groups, as well as other violations of their rights is part of their everyday life.
” Sometimes you have everything in your life, but it does not change the fact that you are exposed to bad things” says Yuliana.
This region, characterized by amazing mountainous landscapes and cold temperatures, was one of the areas most affected by the Colombian civil war. Nowadays, even though the war is officially over, the population and especially children still live in a difficult context that does not allow them a peaceful coexistence. Through the project The Peace Circus, the H&M Foundation in partnership with War Child break the culture of violence and invest in a peaceful future for children.
“In the Circus, you learn how to stay focused on your future, on your dreams and not to allow your dreams to be ruined.”— Yuliana, Peace Circus participant in Putumayo
Education is as a powerful tool to realize children’s full potential and improve people’s lives and every school should be a safe place for children to learn and play. However, in complex contexts like Colombia, schools are a place of apparent promotion of violence and intimidation. Thanks to the Peace Circus, children can participate in a positive and peaceful transformation of their schools and living environments, and they also learn how to prevent new conflicts.
Taking part in the Peace Circus activities is a great incentive for Yuliana to keep on focusing on her biggest dream: becoming a paediatrician. Through the activities, she is learning how to believe in herself and others, and how to overcome her shyness. Even accepting to be interviewed was a great step for Yuliana and a further demonstration of the positive changes occurring in her life thanks to the Peace Circus.