Project Refuge is the expansion of the Refuge Boy’s Home (that we have worked with and supported for the last 10 years) and the construction of a Community Feeding Centre in Chiquinquira, Colombia. The facility will also serve as a prevention and training centre.The Refuge is an institution created by the town in 1973. It is run by a board of directors that consists of elected volunteers from the community. It is essentially a Half Way House where boys from age 8 -18 are placed by Colombian Social Services when they have problems at home or initial brushes with the law.
When we first arrived at the Refuge the home was literally falling apart. The roof was leaking, the floors tiles were broken and lifting, the boys (all 25 – 30 of them) were washing their clothes by hand, they did not have sufficient water storage and a long list of other needs.
So, we started working and also intentionally involved the local church in discipleship and recreational programs for the boys. We became their family.
Our impact at the boy’s home has been so great that Colombian Social Services told us that if not for our efforts they would have closed the home. Now half of the board members are people the local Christian Church AND a dozen of the boys are now faithfully attending services at two of these congregations – several have been baptized!
One thing that abounds at the Refuge is land. As a result, a dream has been born – not just to take in more boys, but be part of preventing children from having to arrive at the Refuge or any other home in the first place.
Project Refuge envisions adding two large dormitories to the existing structure, adding two large meeting room/dining halls for the community feeding centre, bathrooms, offices and a kitchen. The dining rooms will also serve as meeting rooms for prevention and parenting seminars held by the local church and community organizations. With the future in mind we have designed the expansion with all of the foundations, columns etc, to support up to three floors of construction.
This facility will be financially supported (food and staff) by Colombian Social Services, but the building needs to be provided by a local entity.
As an added bonus, the social workers that are now employed by the boy’s home half time will also be employed by the feeding centre. This means that the workers will be brought up to full time hours and allow the home to more easily retain qualified staff – long term.
To date (Jan 2022) we have complete to first floor structure, put the two new dormitories into service and have installed wheelchair ramps. Next steps are to finish out and equip the dining hall/meeting rooms, bathrooms and kitchen – putting them into service before proceeding with the second floor.
The total cost of the next phase is $25,000 CAD.
For more information, contact Darren McCrea at firstname.lastname@example.org | website.