Plan Padrino News
Tragedy Strikes In Colombia
A devastating avalanche caused by an overflow of the Combeima River swept through Ibague and destroyed everything that Carlos Andres and his family own. Carlos visited our Model United Nations program last fall as an ambassador for the Plan Padrino program. Plan Padrino is a program that sponsors impoverished kids in the village of Ibague who are willing to work hard and wish to achieve success in school. This program allows for the students to continue their education (education is not free in Colombia) and learn skills, such as English, that will hopefully allow them to overcome the cycle of poverty and help to provide for their families. Carlos told us at Model UN about his favorite parts of coming to the U.S. one was sleeping in his own bed and taking a warm shower for the first time. Before he went back to Colombia he was given some money to buy presents for his family, instead, he saved it and purchased a washing machine for his mother. He did this because his mother makes her living washing clothes by hand, but she is allergic to the detergent that she uses and her hands are usually raw and bloodied from her work. Unfortunately, everything Carlos was able to obtain for his family was destroyed and Carlos, his mother, 10 year old sister, and 5 year old brother are now homeless. The Y needs your help, and Carolina, one of the directors for Plan Padrino, sent us her plea for help. “The YMCA is his only refugee and we wanted you to know the tragedy he is leaving makes him more responsible for his family. We hope you can understand and give us a hand to help our dear Carlos, his mother and two little siblings to recover their hopes in life and provide them again with what they have lost and find them a new place to live. The government has promised them some help but we know it probably won't come in the next 5 or 8 months.”
If you can help Carlos and his family recover from this tragedy, please contact us, or send your donations to the Y office here, and we will wire everything to Ibague.
Photographs From the Flood:
Here is the original letter Carolina sent us:
Dear friends from the YMCA Middle Tennessee and friends from Nashville,
It has been 5 months since we went to Nashville with Carlos and Lorena and it was simply a dream for all of us, but especially for them. They haven't forgotten a single moment they shared with all of you, their life change amazingly in many ways. Unfortunately I have sad news from this part of the world.
Our dear Carlos Andres and his family lost everything two days ago when an avalanche of the Combeima river passed by their house and made the mountain collapsed and dumped with mud into Carlos house, buried all his mother and sibling's belongings and his new bed, his new mattress, his school books, new clothes and shoes he got when he visited Nashville last November, including the washing machine Carlos bought for his mother last Christmas with money that Jessica and Susan gave to him.
His mother saved Carlos and his 10 years old sister and 5 years old brother who used to sleep in Carlos´ room, after she heard the terrible noise coming from the earth and finding her with the water until the hips.
They do not have a place where to live now that their house is destroyed. His mother and two siblings are staying at one of the schools that the government has open for those affected by the avalanche. Carlos is staying in one of his friend's house in the same neighborhood, trying to get some of the last things the disaster left from them. But the danger still since the river threats to do it again.
More than 2000 people have been affected by this tragedy; Carlos´ family is one of them. Lorena has the river by her house; one week ago it was almost a block away. She and her family are saved they have not lost anything. The other kids who are sponsored by the YMCA Middle Tennessee are in perfect conditions and haven't been affected, but Carlos´ case is the closest and saddest we know at the moment.
The YMCA is his only refugee and we wanted you to know the tragedy he is leaving makes him more responsible for his family. We hope you can understand and give us a hand to help our dear Carlos, his mother and two little siblings to recover their hopes in life and provide them again with what they have lost and find them a new place to live. The government has promised them some help but we know it probably won't come in the next 5 or 8 months.
-May 28 2007