About us

How did we get started?

In July 2006 Eddy Veldhuisen started playing soccer as a volunteer with street children in ‘the city of eternal spring’ Medellín, Colombia. Eventually a large group of children joined structurally and the question came:

“Could we play soccer in an official league?”
“I want to do my best for that, but then I want you to stay in a home and go to school.”

Most of the children agreed and so in 2007 we started with one boys’ and one girls’ team in an official league.

The impact of the soccer activities was enormous. The dangerous life on the streets was exchanged for a classroom. Instead of surviving on the streets, the children were concerned with the next game.

“Who do we have to play against on Saturday?”

The children regularly told Eddy that they dreamed of becoming professional soccer players.

“That is possible, but you have to try hard. Be on time, work together, and so on.”

It was clear that we were making a difference for these children and this motivated us to want to help structurally. The logical consequence was the establishment of the foundation Street children Medellín in January 2008 with the aim to offer children, disadvantaged by poverty, (domestic) violence, neglect, sexual harassment and addiction, the opportunity to work on a better future.

Since then the foundation has developed enormously, thanks to the efforts of good staff and volunteers. The same volunteers who worked for the foundation in Medellín at the time are still active from the Netherlands, in close contact with the staff in Medellín.

Meanwhile, we also receive regular visits from volunteers from countries other than the Netherlands. And we want our work to be known not only in Colombia and the Netherlands, but all over the world. That is why we have chosen a new name in 2021: Children of Medellín.

Where are we now?

Currently, we work with over 500 children and their families in the city center and in the suburbs of Carambolas and Bello Oriente from our own accommodation “El Paraiso” (paradise).

We offer the children and their families a comprehensive and innovative program of educational, sports, recreational and cultural activities. Through this the children learn step by step who they are, what talents they have, how they see their future and what they have to do to achieve it.

The accommodation ‘El Paraiso’ is a large house, which has been substantially renovated and rebuilt. It is located on a large piece of land between the suburbs of Carambolas and Bello Oriente, with a very nice view of the city of Medellín. In February 2021, we built a large multi-purpose sports field. We organize many activities in El Paraiso and the sports field is also used a lot. The backyard of the foundation is a large piece of sloping land. Here are the vegetable gardens, which are laid out as terraces at an angle. The residents of the neighborhood, in cooperation with the foundation, have the opportunity to (learn to) grow their own fruits and vegetables.

In 2018, our first student graduated from university, followed by several more. In 2024, a total of 17 young people will be studying through the foundation. In the coming years we will offer many more youth the opportunity to study.

Our mission, vision and objective

Mission

We believe that every child should have the opportunity to develop, pursue their dreams, and determine their own future. Unfortunately, this chance is not a given for many children. The foundation actively works to support and encourage these children to take responsibility for themselves so that, regardless of their background or circumstances, they receive the opportunities they deserve.

Vision

We believe that children are the key to a prosperous future. We strive to create a future where children not only thrive in their personal development but also serve as a driving force for positive change in their immediate surroundings. By investing in the strength and potential of children, we aim to inspire a community where they, as essential participants, have a sustainable impact on improving the quality of life and strengthening their own environment.

General objective

We offer children a comprehensive program of sports, recreational, cultural, and educational activities, providing personal guidance in collaboration with their families and community. During these activities, we help children discover their passions and talents, determine their own futures, and have a sustainable impact on their surroundings.

Our organization

The Dutch foundation ‘Children of Medellín’ was founded in 2008. One year later we established the Colombian foundation Fundación Caminos. They have a similar logo, the same objectives and joint financial management. There are short lines between the staff in Medellín and the board and volunteers in the Netherlands. These short lines ensure clarity.

Board Netherlands

Chairman: Anne Schepers
Treasurer: Pepijn Pinkse
Secretary: Emma Rotman

Foundation ‘Fundación Caminos

The foundation ‘Fundación Caminos’ in Medellín consists of a board of three people and the accountant Orlando Gaviria. The board members receive no remuneration for their work. The accountant and the employees who organize the activities receive a salary.

Presidente (chairman) Eddy Veldhuisen
Vice president Mónica Trujillo Valencia
Secretaria (Secretary) Adriana Maria Trujillo Valencia

In Colombia we have a team of 29 employees and 27 employees are Colombian. The Dutch Sabine Bouwmeester and Simon Hofstede are working in Colombia and are also contact person between both foundations.

Volunteers

Children of Medellín Foundation is built on volunteers and new faces are always welcome. There are volunteers closely involved in the work and volunteers who take on concrete tasks.

Guus Montenegro
Nico Verbeek

In Colombia, volunteers from different countries come to Medellín every year to help the foundation. Depending on their availability, level of Spanish, interests and motivation, together we decide how they can contribute.

Advisors

The foundation is ambitious and likes to be advised by people with knowledge. Grateful use is made of involved persons who are always ready to help us further.

Ferry Brands
René Hartman

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