In the town of Antonio Nariño, located in the center of Bogota, La Hortua neighborhood, Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral del Niño Especial (Foundation for the Holistic Development of Special Children, FUNDINES) is hard at work. This area of Colombia’s capital has a complex dynamic of homelessness, drug addiction and social exclusion. In response to this, FUNDINES provides comprehensive protection services and assistance to children and adolescents with slight, moderate and serious cognitive disabilities who are covered by the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, ICBF).
Children, adolescents and young adults with moderate or serious disabilities and motor problems and who can not communicate verbally, have no alternative communication system. This means that they are alienated, detached and totally isolated, without any means of interacting with other people, which leads to self-aggressive behavior and high stress levels. To improve their quality of life, it is crucial to find a way to connect them with the world and establish a formal communication channel with the people around them.
We want the children, adolescents and young adults with slight, moderate and serious cognitive mental-psychosocial disabilities at FUNDINES to generate their own life projects based on their needs, particularities, interests and concerns, in recognition of their lives and surroundings. These life projects based on inclusive tools and acknowledgment of realities are addressed from the development of expressive skills that enable an assertive communication, empathy, conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships and self-awareness.