Children in Latin America have dreams, just like children all over the rest of the world.
"My dream for the place I live is that nothing bad happens, I want good things to happen," says eight-year-old Tadid.
Whether it's cultural practices or social injustice, World Vision dedicates its efforts to fulfilling the dreams of kids in Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America. "All children must be able to accomplish their dreams," explains Amada Rives, Director of Advocacy and Communications with World Vision.
Violence against children comes in many forms. Culturally, it's disguised as a disciplinary tool. Gangs ("maras') will fight for territory and threaten youth that don't agree to join their group. Many cases go unreported, and in some regions, citizens perceive that their government would be unwilling to take action, even if a case is reported.
"Violence has growth at disproportionate levels, affecting mostly the new generations of children and youth in Latin America and causing severe collateral damages to families, communities and countries," says Rives. "But it's also them who are seeking to fulfill their dreams, for a change in their lives," she adds with hope.
This is why "A Region Free of Violence", was created. The campaign's goal is to build and maintain programs with a focus on both prevention and protection by addressing abuse, neglect, exploitation, and all other forms of violence against children. Its efforts work to transform the idea of relationships being about control and violence to freedom and peace. The aim is to overcome poverty and equip the new generations to face the challenges that Latin America is currently dealing with.
All 14 national offices in the region have implemented the campaign. Staff are working with children and their parents on conflict resolution, promoting a culture of peace at the community level, working with parents on how to raise children with tenderness. Joint efforts among churches are promoting hope among youth, especially through education.
"I have a dream," is a mantra shared by all children in Latin America, including Costa Rica. See children talk about their dreams in this short video.
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