December in Medellín is filled with plenty of festive events, as well as the opportunity to indulge in Colombian culture and spend time with new friends. However, Christmas in the city is also one of the most difficult times of the year for many people. The pressure to spend money or the prospect of being alone for the holidays can have very real effects; not to mention, Medellín struggles with things like equal access to quality education all throughout the year. If you’re looking to help people in need during a particularly vulnerable period, get involved with these amazing five Christmas charity activities in Medellín.
Angeles de Medellín Foundation
One of the longer-operating charities in the city, Angeles de Medellín helps displaced families by offering a center where children and adults alike can learn, play, and be safe. Located in Regalo de Dios, the center has computers, sports, clothing, and the opportunity to learn English. Angeles de Medellín is famous for its community feel and events – including a Christmas party with Santa giving gifts, decorations, songs, and food. The charity is always looking for volunteers to organize and host, as well as give donations to buy materials.
For more information, visit their Facebook or contact them on +57 312 808 8831.
A new organization in Medellín, Proyecto Florecer works with adolescent girls aged between 11 to 18. The movement aims to help young women know and reach their potential, to break social, cultural, and economic barriers, as well as become leaders in their communities. To achieve their goals, Proyecto Florecer runs a series of workshops focusing on female leadership, education, and communication – all led by women. They are currently searching for volunteers to aid the workshops, promote the cause, and network in the city to maximize exposure and funding.
Anyone interested in collaborating with Proyecto Florecer can reach them via their website.
Primed Community & Storytellers
Each year, Primed Community and Storytellers team up to organize a Christmas event in Comuna 13. 2018’s edition was such a success, it even ended with Santa arriving by helicopter to hand out presents to local children. The event has a huge positive impact on the residents and is a fantastic way to feel jolly while giving back to the people of Medellín. This year, the two charities have paired with Unity SME to plan a toy drive and gift-wrapping, along with a day packed with fun activities for kids. The gift-wrapping is due to be on December 8th, while the holiday party will take place on December 15th.
The organizations need volunteers to coordinate the event, run workshops, play sports, collect donations, paint faces, and host the lunch. To get involved, fill out this form or see Primed Community’s Facebook.
Nomads Giving Back
On December 19th, Nomads Giving Back are running a meet-up for foreigners living in Medellín, eager to put their time to good use. The group inspires nomads, ex-pats, and travelers around the world to support the local communities and raise awareness for social impact initiatives. In the past, Nomads Giving Back have hosted an ethical coffee workshop, dance classes, soccer matches, and a digital skills program. The meet-up is ideal to build new relationships with like-minded people, plus discover areas and groups in Medellín searching for volunteers. Tickets cost $10,000 COP per person, with all proceedings going towards projects operated by Nomads Giving Back. There’ll also be a raffle, food, and drink, so attendees can celebrate Christmas while contributing to a special cause.
Registration for the meet-up can be done via Facebook.
Parque Biblioteca San Javier
In the north of Medellín, San Javier may draw tourists to its famous hillside escalators each day, but the area still battles with low income and access to education. In the main library, every Wednesday and Friday at 4.30 pm, volunteers teach English to young people. The classes can entail music, games or simply reading – no previous teaching experience is required, only enthusiasm. These classes go a long way to help children learn a new skill, as well as support parents who may have to work while their children are off school.
No formal sign-up is necessary, just show up on a Wednesday or Friday and commit as much time as possible. For more information about the library and this program, go to San Javier’s Facebook.
Fundación Caminos is a foundation that works in the highest neighborhoods of Medellín (Carambolas and Bello Oriente) as well as in the center (Comuna 10). They have 11 activities and are responsible for roughly 300 children – the majority of whom are from strata 1, living in an informal neighborhood, in informal housing, or with parents who work informal jobs.
On December 19th, Fundación Caminos will organize a recreational activity called ‘CoCo’ (meaning ‘communication and cooperation’) with many games and nearly 250 children joining. Their biggest activity is soccer but they also have dance, music, English classes, and other fun things to do for attendees.
At the moment, they are looking for Christmas presents to give to the children. Donations of any size are very much welcome, or if you’d like to assist on the day, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you know about other fantastic organizations changing lives at Christmas time? Share the details in the comments below.