The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A place for peace

Lutheran World Relief provides aid and works for peace in war-torn Colombia

Maria Tobares remembers the terrifying night gunmen forced her out of her village in Colombia. "They killed a bunch of people, they burned some cars and then they made us leave," she says. "I had my house, my business — I had to leave in one moment's notice with just my child and what I had on."

Penniless, with nowhere else to go, she went to Bogota, the capital, like thousands of other displaced Colombians in search of opportunity. Instead she found bureaucratic apathy and red-tape roadblocks from a government agency that is supposed to help people like her. From the city's residents, she received hostility and discrimination.

"They treat us like delinquents," says Tobares, who back home owned a small store that supported her family. "Here we suffer a lot with our children ... we suffer to find them food, find them schooling."

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