Nov 1, 2021
StarAngel School in Colombia
About StarAngel Initiative
In response to education in emergency for refugee, migrant, vulnerable children and youth, Koyamada International Foundation (KIF Global) has developed a global initiative named StarAngel Initiative to help provide educational resources and quality learning for those affected by conflicts, natural disasters and displacement through its country chapters in South America and elsewhere. The Initiative mainly focuses on two areas: education in emergencies and humanitarian response in natural disasters.
In early 2020, KIF Global and UNICEF-administered fund Education Cannot Wait (ECW) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner globally on education in emergency, targeting the region of South America and Africa. To take action on its Public-Private Partnership (PPP), KIF Global and ECW begun collaborating in Colombia where KIF Colombia, a Colombia chapter of KIF Global, started developing working relationships and strategic plans with ECW’s other local partners in Colombia such as UNICEF Colombia and Save The Children Colombia.
As part of the initiative, KIF Global and KIF Colombia have been developing its pilot program of StarAngel School in Colombia. KIF Colombia will empower underprivileged children and youth by giving them an opportunity to develop leadership and life skills and to strengthen knowledge and competencies shared from a variety of Colombian and international educators and speakers in different professions. Quality learning promotes cross-cultural learning that increases students’ understanding of their own and other cultures and enhances one’s knowledge of the norms, values, and behaviors that exist in cultures. KIF intends to offer basic conversational English education to the students and will provide school supplies, books (Spanish, English, etc), as well as other learning tools to support the educational and cultural experience. The School aims to partner with governments, private international schools, public schools, embassies, NGOs and corporations in Colombia.
An interview mentioning KIF
Education Cannot Wait interviews Colombia’s Minister of Education Maria Victoria Angulo.
Education in Colombia
In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, 28 million learners have been affected by school closures as the COVID-19 crisis makes matters even worse. In addition, the number of Venezuelans who have fled into Colombia has grown exponentially, from 40,000 in 2015 to 2.4 million by the end of 2020, making this protracted humanitarian crisis the largest in the Western Hemisphere and among the largest globally.
According to UNICEF-administered fund Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants has grown exponentially in Colombia, from 40,000 in 2015 to 2.4 million by the end of 2020, with another 2 million Venezuelans crossing back and forth often. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused the situation to become even more strained for refugees, migrants, and the local population, particularly in an already overstretched education system. With this increased migration, the number of Venezuelan children and youth enrolled in Colombia’s formal education system has increased tenfold, from 34,000 in 2018 to 334,000 in 2020. Over 80% of Venezuelan children and youth are enrolled in just 11 of Colombia’s 33 departments, and large numbers still remain out of school due to already full classes, the cost of schooling, not enough teaching and learning materials, and community discrimination and xenophobia.
The pandemic has exacerbated risks for children, including sexual and gender-based violence, exploitation, and forced recruitment into criminal gangs and other armed groups. Many teachers report elevated levels of stress, which affects their ability to adequately respond to the psychosocial needs of children. There are several laws and regulations in place that are geared towards promoting and protecting the rights of persons living with disabilities, however, many schools, especially in rural areas, lack the resources to ensure that their facilities are indeed accessible for all.