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Hands On is CAFOD's exciting scheme to connect communities from the UK directly with communities around the world.

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Peace building in Magdalenda Medio

As part of CAFOD's Hands On Magdalena Medio project, peace building workshops were run in schools across the Magdalena Medio region. Young people were taught about avoiding a life of violence, and were empowered to find peaceful solutions to the conflict. 

What is the Hands On project about?

Hands On is a fundraising scheme that allows your parish to support a community in our global family as they undertake a three year project and follow their progress throughout. When the project is successfully completed, your parish will journey on to a new community to follow and support.

From 2019 our focus is supporting peacebuilding in the Magdalena Medio region in the north of Colombia. Over three years we aim to reach around 5,000 people, including about 2,500 students, who will learn how to respond to conflict situations with words rather than violence.

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Peacebuilding in Colombia

In 50 years of conflict, Colombia has suffered so much.

  • More than 280,000 people have been killed;
  • 60,000 are missing;
  • Over 7.7 million have been internally displaced.

Colombians are tired of being caught between government forces, guerrillas and paramilitaries. The only solution is peace.

CAFOD works with other Caritas agencies and partners in Colombia to support projects to build peace and projects that address the root causes of the conflict and respond to humanitarian needs – vital work as Colombia faces new threats from former guerrilla leaders.

“The Catholic Church has accompanied rural communities and human rights defenders closely on this long and painful path and will continue to support peace-building processes to ensure that the atrocities of the past are not repeated, that reconciliation is a reality, and human dignity of all those involved in the conflict is restored.”

Director of CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Colombia, Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, at the signing of the peace treaty which brought an end to the civil war in Colombia in September 2016.

Magdalena Medio

The Colombian guerrilla group ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional or the National Liberation Army) moved into the Magdalena Medio  region in the mid-1960s. They terrorised the community and then in the 1980s fought other guerrilla groups and paramilitary groups who took their territory. Paramilitaries were later responsible for around 1000 assassinations and 300 disappearances. Many paramilitaries stood down in 2003 and in 2016 the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the FARC, the most notorious of the guerrilla groups. But the ELN are still active in the Magdalena Medio region, using threats and force to try to recruit young people.

CAFOD’s Hands On Project is about peace education and seeks to change behaviours and attitudes and give young people paths out of conflict and violence.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God (Matthew 5:9)

Pope Francis has called on us to be “artisans of peace”, to work together to realise the dream of creating peace on earth.  Generations in Magdalena Medio have grown up only knowing conflict. You can help support a generation of peace in Colombia.  Your parish’s support for the Hands On program will help to empower young people in Magdalena Medio community to end violence and transform their lives. You will receive project updates three times a year, with the option of receiving additional updates via email, so you can truly see how your parish donations are helping to change lives.

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Your parish donations directly fund the Hands On programme and are therefore essential to make each project work.

Get creative with your parish fundraising by visiting our A- Z of fundraising ideas!

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Hands On resources for parishes

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