El Bohío de María is the most recent foundation Soul Dancers has set out to support on our quest to change the world through dance and education.
Currently, there are 142 kids between the ages of one and sixteen living at the foundation, and within the next few months, we expect to have upwards of 170. Although only girls are now accepted, there are a few boys who have been raised there from the time they were babies.
These children are mostly orphans, however there are kids that come from families of single mothers, fathers, grandparents or related guardians that are unable to care for them due to the lack of opportunity in Colombia. To avoid the risk of these kids living on the streets, they are sent to foundations like El Bohío de María where they receive proper care and education.
The foundation has a system in place where they implement phases for the children as they grow and learn.
Phase 1 (Adaption) – The children begin learning the rules to share in the community, as well as basic behaviour to coexist in the institution. They are allowed phone calls with family members, and when they reach their goals and respect the rules, they transition to Phase 2.
Phase 2 (Integration) – The children can go to bed later, receive phone calls from their family as well as friends, and have more freedom within the institution.
Phase 3 (Services) – The focus is to help out at the institution with more responsibilities to set an example now that the kids are older. They can go to bed at 10:30 p.m., are able to have a relationship when they turn 15, and can go out on Sundays in groups of three from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Phase 4 (Leadership) – Now considered more independent, these young adults are seen as leaders and role models for the younger children who are just starting in the institution. They’re able to have their own rooms, work for the foundation during the week for four to five hour increments, and can go out on Saturday’s from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., or from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. They are also allowed to use cellphones and laptops.
These kids are able to visit with their families each weekend on Saturdays and Sundays, and during holidays, are able to go to their family or guardians’ houses. Those who do not have a family stay at the foundation during holidays participating in various activities and bonding with the other kids.
The below video was taken at 8T Arts Academy on February 17, 2017, where we invited the children of El Bohío de María for a day of dance auditions. The children were told the winners of the auditions would receive free dance lessons, however, little did they know, they would all be receiving free dance lessons weekly with the support of Soul Dancers.
See below for their reaction...
Since this day, dance lessons have been provided every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., as well as transportation to and from the dance studio.
Through the support of Soul Dancers and with your help, we have been able to put a smile on these children’s faces and give them a hope for a better tomorrow.
We can make a difference – let’s continue the movement to help change lives across the world through the gift of dance!