Currently, Soul Dancers is supporting over 150 underprivileged children in a variety of different ways, including offering dance lessons, art lessons, English reading and writing classes, transportation and healthy meals. We are providing these kids with a safe place to be who they are, without having to think about the daily challenges they face.
We would like to share some of the great work that’s been happening in Colombia through Soul Dancers. We have been supporting the following seven foundations in an effort to bring joy and hope to the most vulnerable children of the world.
Villa Danza is a dance academy with a group of boys and girls that are kind and humble, who come from poor areas of the city where they are exposed to many kinds of mistreatment and violence. Fortunately, with the help of one of their guardian angels, Ana Elisa, and their incredible teacher Juan Carlos, they have the opportunity to be in a safe place every week, with the opportunity to learn many different types of dance. They receive a healthy meal, transportation support and a couple of hours of dance training weekly. This is so important for them, especially for the boys that come from a cultural background where choosing dancing over soccer or a typical “manly” activity is not accepted.
8T Arts Academy
Guided by an exceptional human being, Andrés Felipe Cardona, we started supporting what we call a “cast training group”, which is a group of young people who attend dance classes every day from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The main objective is to learn dance techniques such as classical ballet, contemporary dance, urban dance, neoclassical technique, and Colombian folklore. This group was created to support young men and women who aim to be dancers but don’t have the financial means to afford learning at a dance academy.
In addition to dance lessons, Andrés supports his students with psychological assistance, medical assistance, monthly transportation subsidies and dance garments.
Religiosas de María Inmaculada
In an orphanage in downtown Medellín, there are a group of kind, loving and intelligent girls who have been abused in too many ways. Thanks to the nuns at the orphanage, they have created a family where they live with the aspirations to be better people everyday. These young girls believe that dancing gives them the hope to fulfill their dreams.
Yulie Alejandra Ospina, who is an exceptional young woman who we met at Villa Danza, instructs the girls. Yulie comes from a difficult background, where even returning home at night is a potential risk for her. Despite the lack of opportunities, she is committed to her dreams and helping others achieve theirs as well.
Fundación Ángel de la Guarda
This is not just a house; it is the home of dozens of little girls with many hopes and dreams who are able to find the support they need such as education, healthy meals, and a warm bed to sleep at night, as their families are unable to take care of them.
Every week, they receive English and dance lessons, which provides each little girl with more confidence to overcome their problems. This space allows them to have fun and live in a proper shelter far away from the risks they would be exposed to when staying on the streets.
Some of these girls have been supported even after they finish high school, and have returned to keep working as volunteers to continue with their mission and dream of helping their little “sisters”.
El Bohío de María
Located in Copacabana, a town next to Medellín, El Bohío de María is a catholic foundation founded by Jorge Villalobos, a Mexican priest who came to Colombia with the mission of helping people, specifically children, in need.
Within the foundation there are about 300 children living, studying, learning and sharing as a family. They are separated in stages so they can learn to be more responsible. While growing through the different phases, they are taught to be independent and resourceful when it comes time for them to leave the foundation.
On Saturday mornings, the children of El Bohío de María are able forget about their troubles and feel true happiness when they participate in dance lessons for two hours at 8T Arts Academy.
La Casita de María
Managed by two women, Patricia and Doris, La casita de María houses 23 children and a baby who were abandoned by their parents or endangered by the environment in which their parents live. Patricia wakes up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to make breakfast for the kids so they can attend their school classes. Both women spend their lives with the intention of raising these kids in the best possible way.
In the afternoon and evenings the children receive dance lessons, reading and writing lessons, and English lessons. On Saturdays, there are dance lessons provided at the 8T Arts Academy.
Located in Medellin’s downtown, Fundación Eudes is managed by a woman named Ana. There are 15 kids within this foundation, half of which have been diagnosed with Aids. Though they are medicated and checked frequently by the doctors, they coexist as healthy children – just like those without the condition.
Most of these children were abandoned by their families because of their diagnosis, or because of the high expenses of treatment. Although these kids are discriminated against because of a condition that is beyond their control, they are the happiest you will ever meet.