Organizations pledge support for Colombian community centers

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) will be developing new community centers in Colombia for youth, they announced on Friday.

The agreement was made following an investment of $1.7 million from the government of Colombia. Through a longstanding partnership between PADF and Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been 22 community centers built in the country since 2011.

“These centers serve as focal points for community groups to address underlying social issues impacting youth and driving many of them into a life of crime,” PADF Colombia Country Director Soraya Osorio said. “PADF is pleased to continue its work to support vulnerable youth in Colombia and to aid in the development of underserved areas in the country.”

The announcement states that a majority of the new centers will be constructed in high-crime areas near borders with Venezuela and Ecuador. The Colombian government established this partnership with OAS and PADF in order to address the problem of criminal networks targeting at-risk youth.

“These youth centers demonstrate the Colombian government’s commitment to empowering young people and fostering a new generation of community leaders,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almargo said.

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