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There are very few orphanages in Cartagena. While the city is a popular destination amoung Colombia's displaced community, the vast majority of children find relatives in the city that are willing to care for them. Orphanages do a fantastic job of keeping kids off the street and away from child prostitution, homelessness and drug addiction.


Niños de Papel
Financed by Mundo Cooperante, Spain. Established 1998.

Address: Canapote, Sector La Rosa, Calle 59A #16-44
Office Tel: (+57) 5 666 3702
Director: Luis Fernando Marrugo
Manager: Viviena Gomez
(+57) 5 656 0747/658 2606
Internet: www.ninosdepapel.org/

Take any bus going to 'Crespo', north from India Catalina, only 10 minutes. Ask the driver to stop once you've past the Texaco on the right hand side, then ask for directions.

This well financed organisation works with street children in Cartagena, Bucaramanga and Monteria. It has 7 centres in Cartagena for both girls and boys which are set up for children of different ages and with different needs. Due to the fragile psychological nature of this work, there are only four locations where volunteers are normally allowed to work, which host around 70 kids in total. These consist of one centre for girls (age 8-18) and three for boys (age 8-13; 14-18; and those doing apprentice work). The other centers are in the more remote parts of the city where the children work with psychologists to help address such problems as drug use, until they are ready to reintegrate into their family (if they have one) or join one of the four 'boarding school' style homes.

Life in the homes is monitored by a 'tutor' who lives with children. The majority of children attend the normal state school nearest them for 6 hours a day; this can be either for the morning or the afternoon. There are rooms in these homes for activities although additional staff is relied upon to help organize activities for the children who are not at school.

Due to the fact that the children are not allowed out of the centres unaccompanied the day to day activities are fairly limited. Niños de Papel are happy for any input that people want to have and so the possibilities of what can be done depend on you. The two centres for young boys are both very close to the beach and the staff do not normally mind if you want to go there for some beach football.


Funda Familiar - Programa 'El Caracol'
Financed by ICBF, Colombia. Established in 1996.

Address: Barrio Daniel Lemaitre, Calle 64, #17A-55
Office Tel: (+57) 5 666 3702
Director: Carolina Franco
(+57) 315 695 2307
Coordinator: Jaime Flores
(+57) 311 411 6562
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Take any bus marked 'Daniel Lemaitre' going east at the end of Calle de la Media Luna. Less than 15 minutes.

Funda Familiar is a boys home for children who live on the streets or have had problems at home. The maximum stay here is 4 months, in this time the staff at the centre attempt to prepare the boys for home life so that, where possible, they can be returned to their families. When it is decided that this is not possible they are then sent to an institution for longer stays. There are 23 beds in the centre and they are always full. A psychologist visits the centre 3 times a week to have individual and group meetings with parents and children. Because of the short duration of stays it is difficult to organise the children to enroll in school, what's more, they are only permitted to leave the centre in the care of a worker. For this reason Funda Familiar is another great location for people with ideas and skills that could help entertain and educate the kids. This centre is often the first point of stay for boys with social problems and so by developing a normal friendship with them you can help keep them in the social system and off the streets.


Futuros y Valores - Programa 'La Casita'
Financed by ICBF, Colombia. Established in 1988.

Address: Barrio Piedra Bolívar, Callejón 2, #50-71
Director: Francisco Zambrano
(+57) 315 692 9972
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Take a bus marked 'Zaragocilla' going east form the end of Calle de la Media Luna. Can take between 15 minutes and half an hour depending on the route the driver decides to take. Get off at the Piedra Bolivar Police Station and ask for directions.

Futuro Valores is another boys home except it is designed for long stays of between 1 and 4 years. There are two centres which both hold about 25 kids each, one for ages up to 10-14 and the other 14-18 years.