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One in ten Colombians has been uprooted by ongoing violence; families have been broken and loved ones assassinated. After being displaced, young boys and girls are forced to drop out of school in order to support their families and are at constant risk of being forcibly recruited by armed groups and narcotics gangs. A nationwide campaign to highlight these powerful human stories culminated with a grassroots effort to generate letters to Congressional representatives.
Aid workers can often seem jaded when confronted with the world’s misery. Many resort to cynicism, perhaps in the hope of distancing themselves emotionally from the victims of the tragedy unfolding before them. In Haiti – where an earthquake in early January devastated Port-au-Prince and left more than a million people homeless – I sensed a greater sense of empathy amongst the aid community.