Empower Young Entrepreneurs in Colombia's Slums
You can support youth in the slums of Bogota, Colombia as they develop their own community internet cafe business, called MegaRed. The internet cafes provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs to create a better future for themselves; they provide a safe and positive environment for young people at risk of being recruited or attacked by armed groups; and they bring crucial access to information to community members isolated by their poverty. The same youth who manage the cafe dedicate 6 to 8 hours per week training other community members in technological and business management skills to multiply MegaRed's reach in their impoverished community.
In the communities on the outskirts of southern Bogota, Colombia, over half the population lives in poverty, and over 80 percent have been internally displaced from their homes by Colombia's armed conflict.
Youth living in the community of Cazuca, the home of MegaRed Internet Cafes, have been identified as an especially vulnerable population with few opportunities for employment and education. The United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that in Cazuca, "...the youth have no real solutions for employment and income generation, and as a result fall victim to illegal activity and recruitment by illegal armed actors, in some cases forcefully." The youth are also frequently the targets of "social cleansing," a campaign in which paramilitaries systematically murder those they consider unproductive for society.
The MegaRed Internet Cafe Project provides an innovative alternative to this norm, harnessing the power of entrepreneurship and access to information to transform these communities.
Partner since July, 2010
Ahmsa's mission is to alleviate poverty and promote dignity in marginalized communities across the world. The organization is built upon a premise of community empowerment and opening educational and economic opportunities to marginalized communities, including refugees, internally displaced persons, former child soldiers, disabled persons, ethnic minorities, women, and youth.
With their staff of local professionals and community members, Ahmsa, in partnership with other nonprofits, local governments, and international organizations, seeks to empower people while creating community cohesion by focusing on community enterprise development, commercialization of products promoting social inclusion, and special projects relating to poverty alleviation and community development.