Life stories

Our International Cooperation work has left positive experiences and an example of growth and development in many people and communities in the region.

To get an inside look at social management projects and their results, it is better to look at people and their life stories. No matter the difficulties, budgets or needs that are imposed, there will always be a reason to smile and find the best way for everyone.

We invite you to learn about some of these cases that teach us that there is always a chance to grow together and as a family.

Contact Us:
Office of National and International Cooperation
Telephone: (572) 8862727 Ext. 2354, 2410 or (572) 8890438
Address: Calle 5 No 6-63 Tower C floor 2 Cali - Colombia
Email: cooperacion_internacional@comfenalcovalle.com.co

 

Life story Ana Lucia Bermudez

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali.

Description                     

Ana Lucia is a 33-year-old woman, she has 2 children and together with her husband they work hard in their businesses, as their hardware store helped them to consolidate their food business in the morning hours, together with their children they have made progress in his family, in his house, has managed to improve it.

Her business has allowed her not only to consolidate another but also to help another woman to get a job and to improve the situation of her family. She is an enterprising, dynamic woman, community leader, leader of her Christian community, collaborative, creative and kind, she is known in the neighborhood by the children, youth and adults who see her selling in their businesses every day.

Place of origin

I come from Tumaco, I did not register as displaced but they relocated me as vulnerable. When I arrived in Cali, like many as a domestic employee and at that time I endured the humiliation and everything that came over me, because I came from another place and I only had my sister. I started working on various things so that I could progress. Well, the situation in Tumaco was very violent and that made me desperate because I saw people being killed every day and I believe in God and that's why I left there to save myself. I remember that when we lived there my mother lived with my stepfather and he treated us very badly so my mother decided to stay there with him and we decided to come to Cali to start over.

Family history

I live with my children, my husband, my mother stayed in Tumaco as I told her, my sister lives well here in Cali after so much suffering and so many jobs. I remember that my husband and I, after we decided to live together, we entered the invasion of Peace, there we started the family, with the children we did not live very well because we had many needs but there we did what we could, we have never stayed to wait for what comes to us, we have always worked. When we lived in La Paz, I sold frozen chickens and eggs and from there my husband got a job and then the idea of the hardware store was raised with him and we began to progress with that business when they relocated us to Potrero. In addition, with my food business I help the Church and the women of the community who want to get ahead and who want to help their families and we help each other.

Effects of the project on family life

I thank the IOM, FOMIPYME and COMFENALCO, I was able to strengthen my business, the hardware store when it got stronger little by little gave me to increase my food business and both things hold up very well, people know me, buy me and In the neighborhood there are very few hardware stores, so the business we have every day sells, God helps us and through the project we supply more, we opened a branch at the beginning and we gave work to other people but we saw that more was coming in Potrero like this that we decided to move everything here and we managed to improve. In addition, the bank when it saw all the assortment and the assembly that we had thanks to the project gave us a loan of one million pesos and with that we managed to consolidate ourselves better, with what the project gave us, we got the loan and also allowed us to get accredited and we can do Large orders and pay in installments, so we always have assortment and what people need at good prices.

 

Life story Carmen Mondragon

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali.

Description

Carmen Mondragon is an Afro-descendant woman who comes from the Buenaventura municipality, mother of 7 children, currently living with 3 daughters under 18 years of age. She is a tireless worker, dedicated mother, and head of the household.

Her life takes place between the municipality of Buenaventura and Cali, her story begins with memories, some less painful than others, she thinks that she has been strong and that faith has brought her here, along with her family and her dreams of being a better person, opening a restaurant and buy his own house like the one he lost to the guerrillas. That house that I built with effort and perseverance, the one that today is just a memory that makes her cry and that leads her to imagine what her life would be like if she had not had the courage to flee after such a forceful threat.

Their life passes between pain, despair and overcoming, for some to get up every day is a challenge that they face with integrity and optimism, united to their faith in God and in the idea that tomorrow will be better than the day that passed.

She is a strong, determined and fighter woman, she does not forget but she knows that memories cannot be stronger or more stubborn than the conscience, satisfaction and tranquility of living for a reason and fighting for it.

Her children and her desire to live and not only the fact of surviving encourage her to take the path and value what others who without knowing her are capable of giving her a hand. He does not demand anything, he just wants collaboration to provide a better quality of life for his family. 

Place of origin

I come from Buenaventura, I lived most of my life there, my family lived near Buenaventura. I lived with my 3 daughters and I separated from the husband I had.

Family history

I grew up with a friend of my mother, because we were very poor and my mother did not have enough for everyone, when I was about 16 years old I got pregnant because I have 4 children with another husband and the lady told me she already has her burden so to look yours. From there with my belly I worked in someone else's house (family house), it was hard for me, and then I went on with my life and decided to work and raise my children alone, then I met the other husband and he was just as irresponsible and jerk, either He was a good father just like me, who didn't even know mine. I have worked in everything to support my family; In other people's houses, peeling fish, with a shrimp company that closed and left us on the street, from there I went to live in an invasion in Buenaventura where Plan International gave me the roof and I built it with my effort, I had up to a balcony. And from there I arrived in Cali with my 3 youngest daughters, because the oldest live between Buenaventura and Bogotá.

Consequences of displacement

I fled Buenaventura leaving my house for which I had fought, I left everything I could not help but take off my clothes because that was it or we would all die the next day. Everything was very quiet there and then the guerrillas and the paramilitaries began to get involved and that was damaged, they killed the leader of the junta dismembered when he tried to help us, as well as the boys and everything else.

Once my daughter in 2008 did not forget the date, in a shooting a stray bullet landed on her and it entered her hip and left her leg and thankfully she is chubby, because she did not catch a bone. A neighbor came and told me her daughter was shot and I was scared.

Then they told me who it had been and I kept quiet but they told the guy that I knew and how he was from one of those groups, the next day he knocked on the door and gave me either they will leave or tomorrow they will all wake up dead and not over here Come back, that same night I took out my clothes and I came to Cali and a cousin, thank God, received me and I was able to stay there, since I knew how to cook little by little I have helped myself with that and my fritanga, which is what I live with now and I hope with the help of God and of you I can get up higher.

Effects of the project on family life

The project has helped me a lot, I never thought that they could give me a collaboration of those without knowing me, they have taught me to treat people, help my family, run a business, the advisors have taught me a lot and that money is a a blessing that he otherwise would not have been able to have. I thank God first and then Comfenalco and IOM for helping me and my family. With this I am going to get ahead and suddenly in the future I can fulfill my dream of having a house of my own and stop paying rent and help my daughters to study at least high school because I did not want to study and look at me here, maybe if Could you help me study and learn as well as I tell my daughters we can get ahead.

I am going to fight with what has helped me to set up my business, because look with the grill I can put the pits that are sold very well and they ask me, the thermos that they gave me for coffee for those who transport that in the afternoon They ask me if I have a red wine to keep from falling asleep, the two-place fryer to make more fritters and sell more, and the table for customers to sit down. I thank God and have you.

 

Life story Deyra Quiñones

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali.

Deyra is a 55-year-old woman of African descent, a mother who is the head of a household. She is a fighter, creative and enterprising craftswoman. She has lived moments of anguish, sadness and lack, however, day by day she is convinced that it is a better tomorrow and that she can get ahead with her charisma and faith in God. Every day she surpasses herself thanks to her knowledge in handicrafts and sewing quilted lines, as she says “I do everything; I sing, I dance, I do theater, I do layouts and all kinds of Magüí handicrafts. ”Her life passes between the theater, dance group and the song that she shares with other women who, like her, have had to live moments of uncertainty and pain. He thinks that theater and singing have managed to give him confidence and that he has been able to stop being shy. Her baskets and other items that she weaves with her hands and creates every day in her imagination have helped not only her but also other women who, regardless of age, race or preferences, teach them and wish that, like her, they will find a better in art. future.

Place of origin

I come from a town of Barbacoa (Nariño), which is called Magüi, the Patía borders it, it is a mighty river, I remember that at that time I spent my time fishing or hunting; mice, armadillos and all kinds of animals. It was not like now and in the city that is only chemical, there you used to fish and then eat fresh fish. I remember the water, I always remember that one could wash clothes with a lot of water and ran, it was not like here in the city that everything is measured and you have to wash with little water.

Family history

I lived with my mother and my family who are also from Barbacoa, from the town of Magüí, we all hunted, we ate the animals we found, we met. I got married and came here, then I separated, my mother drowned in the Patía and I returned to Magüí, my husband threatened him because he had another person and they told the paramilitaries and they began to look for him, he left and I thought they weren't going to say anything to me, but they began to ask about the woman and that they were going to kill us, my sister called me and said "Deyra, get out of here," I had to take out only what I had in the hand, not even a spoon that is the smallest and to get out of there, they told me that they did not even leave the roof of my house, absolutely everything was stolen.

It's painful because my whole life was there. So I started again and I said now how I am going to survive and I began to think about what my mother had taught me, the threads and sewing and I began to make my baskets, so I began to show and met more artisans and now many they know me and I can get ahead.

Now I belong to a mask theater group, I dance, sing and do my handicrafts, with my family I have supported myself and my children teach them and they also make straps and other handicrafts. Now my dream is to help other women. I don't care how old they are or the experience. I think that nobody is born learned but comes to learn and I want to teach my art so that like me, other people can get ahead.

Effects of the project on family life

I thank the IOM and Comfenalco for the project, for taking me into account and including me, they do not know how much they have helped me, I have my workshop and some machines but to do the laying I needed the sewing machine that they have given me. in the project, as well as fabrics and material for my crafts that I sell every day. I thank you for listening to me, for teaching me, for being a better person, for overcoming problems, managing my business and that in the future I can help others to get ahead.

 

Life story Dora Hernandez

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali. 

Description
Dora is a 55-year-old woman, mother of 9 children, lives in the Potrero Grande neighborhood, has been displaced for many years from a troubled region of the country, however this event takes place in the midst of high vulnerability. She is a community leader of families in action and programs that seek to vindicate the rights of the highly vulnerable population.

His life passes between the attention to his store, the information that he constantly gives to his community and the orientation to it, questions, doubts or suggestions constantly arrive to generate solutions to the population of Potrero Grande. This is his way of helping those in need and feeling useful to his community, he says he recognizes that the Jarillon situation and the relocation in Potrero have generated aggressive behavior and distance from his community.

She is a receptive, dynamic, active woman, she develops ideas all the time to provoke positive changes in her family and community, in the future she is empowered, collaborating with her community, generating processes of change, she seeks to live outside the violence that is the one that has marked his life, but not his destiny. The future thinks it will always be more prosperous than the past and although the traces are never erased and the tears come from day to day, there is always the possibility of improvement.

Place of origin
I come from a town in Tolima, El Vergel village, on a farm because of the violence that armed conflict took everything away from me, they robbed me, they left me with nothing, the house was left with nothing and according to what they told me there is nothing left of it. As a result of that they killed some people from whom they robbed me, but since it was the guerrillas that moved me and that is why I can never go back there.

When I arrived in Cali, I went to live in Jarillon del Rio Cauca, where I made my little ranch, but the situation there was difficult, they also took me from there to relocate to Potrero Grande, here I have my house in sector 1, where the situation It is difficult, but thanks to everything that has happened I have been able to help more people and just as we united to get out of the invasion, we are also achieving things with the people.

Family history
I live with my children, although some are already abroad but they support me, I have my house, my neighbors and I have lived here in Cali since the displacement. The parents died, the father died violently and the mother died 11 years ago of natural causes. I have lived in various places in Colombia, when I left my house since I was 13 years old, the father of my children left me with all of them and I started again, when I returned to my town towards jellies, salpicón, stuffed and tamales.

In Cali I had the mother of my children and a sister-in-law who gave me a room where we all slept on the floor, from there a friend told me to get into the Jarillon to live in that invasion and that is why I have been fighting to achieve much of what I have now.

Effects of the project on family life
I thank the IOM, FOMIPYME and COMFENALCO, for having taken me into account, when I started the project I did not know many things and also only had a display case with a few sweets, now thanks to the project I bought a photocopier and how I live on a main road and very close to Calimio and other sectors of Potrero, I managed to expand the business, I bought with everything that I earned the first month with the photocopier some second-rate showcases and sweets, and little by little I have been buying more assortment, I have sweets , mecato, miscellaneous things, yogurt and minute sales, people collaborate with me a lot and since many people know me I have been able to show my business and be able to get ahead, I live from what the photocopier and miscellany give me. With that I help my family, I have been able to lattice to enlarge my business and that shows people that it is possible to improve.

 

Life story Jackeline González

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali.

Description

Arlen is a 31-year-old woman, mother of 4 children and a tireless worker. She is an Afro-Colombian woman with a history in which sadness and happiness concur, although she says that sadness has been more, through her sense of humor, her Charisma and the desire to improve herself feed her every day and make her a strong woman and a leader of her community to whom she contributes every day, for which she fights, dreams and thinks.

His life passes between the attention of his business unit, with this purpose every day he goes out and sells arepas to his entire community, he says that his business is known in the neighborhood and that thanks to the love he places on the food he prepares people go to your business and you never stop selling.

She is a receptive, dynamic woman, with the ability to listen to others, enterprising, and creative. She considers that everything that has happened in life has strengthened her and has taught her to fight and never surrender to what is considered an obstacle and that she sees as a challenge.

Place of origin

I come from Buenaventura, I moved a few years ago as a result of the violence of illegal groups, I left López de Micay with panic and sadness, I lost many people, including my father and some coworkers, however all this has me made strong and now although I do not understand why I am always in some violent place, I get ahead and I do not let myself be knocked down.
I remember that it was a very nice place to live and suddenly it became hell, then I arrived in Cali and had my children and I had to go through many difficulties and I resorted to an invasion in the Jarillon and from there they relocated me to Potrero Grande and here I have had to live between violence and sadness, but there are beautiful days and that is why I am here like those days when we come together as a community, the days when I work for the boys in the neighborhood or the days when they play soccer tournaments and we all participate, those days life is calm and it is nice to know that we are fighting for a better future.

Family history

I live with my children, my husband is not with us but he is aware of my children and me, I fight every day at home educating my children and teaching them that they must study so that they can get ahead. I learn from them every day. I see very little of myself with the rest of my family but I have learned to progress day by day alongside my children and my neighbors and friends who have become my family and with whom I live day by day.

Effects of the project on family life

I thank the IOM, FOMIPYME and COMFENALCO, for having taken me into account, when they considered me for the project, I started with a small business of puff pastry and empanadas and with the project I was able to make my dreams come true, because I wanted a business of harps and combine it with what I did before, I was able to buy a mill that is very functional, it serves me a lot, I learned to run my business and I also learned to understand my children and improve my relationship with others, I learned to express myself, make myself known and have something of your own that is the most important thing.

With my business I can support my children, always be with them, have my own things and expand my business as I always dreamed of. With the project, I was able to strengthen the business, it brought my family together because we all work together and the profits go to savings and others to reinvest. 

 

Life story Luz Dary Angulo

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali. 

Description

Luz Dary is a 33-year-old woman, mother of 3 children and tireless worker, she is a fighter Afro-Colombian woman, dedicated mother, despite the losses and sufferings she has experienced in her life, however the memories are only part of the past. that does not limit it, on the contrary, it strengthens it.

Her business is her financial support, she works in the company of her daughter who helps her all the time and who day by day in addition to school learns about the business and is by her side on a daily basis. She is a receptive, kind, loving, calm and above all persistent woman. Her future is promising and tomorrow for this woman will be better than all that she has lived, because her life and that of her children are the engine to start a new life where she will find other opportunities and other supports that will help her improve.

Place of origin

I came from López de Micay, when I was displaced by illegal groups, I had to run to Buenaventura where they made an attack on my husband, I arrived in Cali with my children and a wounded man. It has been very hard, because I lost my husband and from there I have to maintain my home and fight to raise my children who were very young at that time, I arrived in Cali 7 years ago and although it has been hard I will never forget that here I have the peace that I did not have when they arrived and finished with everything.

The dreams, expectations and everything I had built fell apart, but now I know that I can, I am stronger and I have more responsibilities, I don't know much but I learn every day.

I remember everything was beautiful and after the suffering that goes through I know that you can start over, it is good to know that although it is not the same, you have to move forward wherever God puts you.

Family history

I live with my children, my husband is no longer with us but I have fought to keep the family together, I remember that when I got to Cali I had to go from house to house and I started an invasion in Floralia and then they told me about the Jarillon and there I went to get involved with my children and from there they relocated us to Potrero, I started from scratch in Cali and I have progressed little by little. Although things have not been easy, I always have to think that for myself and my children I have to get up every day, although it is also difficult in the neighborhood where we were relocated, violence worries you, that's why my business is outside and my children I like them to learn and see other things so they don't have to experience any of it.

Effects of the project on family life

I thank the IOM, FOMIPYME AND COMFENALCO, for being able to improve my business, I have had it for a while because in the invasion and later in Potrero I could see that it was good to sell arepas and with the project I was able to improve and have to place my business selling fast foods, people know me here in Calimio with the arepas and in Potrero with the food business because I help a friend by hiring her to help me in that business and with that she also works and helps her family Also and then sometimes we are 2 and even 3 helping with the 2 businesses, I like to support how you and the people who received me in Cali supported me and even the man who does not charge me anything for doing me outside the supermarket of he.

 

Life story Maria Eugenia Montaño

PROJECT VA0011
Contribution to comprehensive care and income generation for 150 displaced families from the urban area of the municipality of Cali.

Description

María Eugenia is an Afro-Colombian woman, proud of her roots, her life passes between the house, her children, her husband and the most important thing for her right now her business. She is a woman who smiles at life every moment and with the help of her business she has managed to build a future for her children and give her husband a work initiative, who has also benefited from it.

 

Nubia Chico life story

PROJECT 3VA0031
Comprehensive model of socioeconomic reestablishment for a population in a situation of displacement, in the city of Cali

Description

Interview with the participant Gloria Stella Chico and her partner Otoniel.

Place of origin

We come from the neighborhood "Los Pinos de Mondomo" in Cauca. Our relationship with the people who live close to us was very good, until we had to leave our farm.

Family History

We met twenty-three years ago, when I left -Otoniel- from my house to look for work, in a village where she lived, called Las Lajas. We went to live together first to the farm where she lived and then to my father's. It was there that we had our children and made our home.

Consequences of Displacement

As a consequence, we had to leave the farm, for not collaborating as informants to the groups outside the law. The family was destabilized because we had nothing in Cali. But a sister - from Otoniel - gave us lodging and work in a small jeans factory. This allowed that after two years we knew about the business, we could move with this and become partners in the business.

Effects of the Project on family life

The project has allowed us to train and has given us tools to advance in the goals we have. Now we want to export the jeans we make and get a decent home for our family.

 

Life story Zoraida Arenas

PROJECT 3VA0031
Comprehensive model of socioeconomic reestablishment for a population in a situation of displacement, in the city of Cali

Description

María Zoraida is a mother who is the head of the family who has managed to raise her family “at the tip of the haircut”, in her own words.

Place of origin

I come from Cisneros, which is in a village called El Carmelo, near Dagua. I lived on a farm with my family. My children, my partner, my in-laws and me.

Family History

Right now my family is made up of four children, my mother and me. I separated from the father of my children eleven years ago, then I met another person who was the one with whom I moved. In the farm where we lived, we dedicated ourselves to agricultural work, we planted bananas, simarrón and we dedicated ourselves to the work of the fields.

When we arrived in Cali, my husband - that was five years ago - died in confusion, when he went to visit a brother in Darien, and I was alone with my children. After that I got training in hairdressing, I graduated and started to set up the business.  

Consequences of Displacement

I moved because the guerrillas wanted to take him - the couple I lived with - to provide service with them, and when they arrived at the farm, they had to be cared for, given food. We started receiving threats and when, in another village, they killed my brother, that was when we decided to come to the city.

This caused instability in my family, my children felt that in the countryside they had more freedom than here, I had to pay rent, transport to work. Everything was different for me and my family.

Effects of the Project on family life

The project has brought me happiness, on the one hand I can buy a house with more money and on the other I can already aspire to have something more with the productive project, for the well-being of my children.

  • I have learned to have more confidence in myself and have a better relationship with my children. 
  • I consider myself a berraca that I can take my children forward, give them a better quality of life and be able to go for a walk in San Andrés.
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