Cali is one of the most dangerous cities in Colombia. Violence, the drug trade and criminality are daily events in the southwestern city. There is a high risk of children and young people drifting into gangs and networks linked to the drug trade. There is often a lack of serious professional alternatives. That is why we are working with local partner organisation Grupo Internacional de Paz on the Las Aguas integrative school and training centre. The joint project began in 2018. Since then, it has provided basic and vocational education to hundreds of children and young people who have no access to state schools. Through SA4D’s interactive sport and play-based approach, the project gives vulnerable young people high-quality vocational training and basic business knowledge. This serves as a basis for employment or for starting up their own, legal businesses later.


Nicolas attends vocational training as a chef at Las Aguas. “Everything culinary interests me,” he says, “particularly different ways of cutting vegetables.” After the training, he would like to find a job and put savings aside: “With the vocational courses, I have a better chance of finding a good job in a big restaurant. I will be able to learn different recipes and preparation methods. There is still a lot to learn, before I can make my dream of my own restaurant reality.” The most important things for him are staying power and passion. Nicolas’s goal is clear, and with the cooking and business courses he is getting the necessary tools for an independent future.