Colombia: we no longer feel unprotected

18-04-2012 Feature

Extract from Colombia report 2011.

"When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was and I couldn’t see. I had also lost an arm and an ear and had to have several operations”. Julio did not want to go on living and was in no state of mind to deal with the formalities required to get the care and assistance he needed.
However, he was eventually persuaded that he could get better and should claim what he was entitled to.

“I am from the country and was very uneasy when I arrived in the city. I was wary about the intentions of the people who said that I was entitled to assistance. Now I know that they are helping people to get the assistance they need; they are like angels.”

At the beginning of 2011, with the help of the ICRC, Julio received a prosthesis and therapy, which have enabled him to “write, sweep, wash and pick things up again. When I am not wearing it, I feel as though I am missing something”.

He has also had surgery to reconstruct his ears and eyes and has recovered his sight. He will soon receive State financial benefits and is claiming permanent disability compensation from the government.

He no longer feels alone. The phone calls that he and his mother received and the guidance, constant care and advice provided by people from the ICRC and the Colombian Red Cross have changed his attitude. Now he is motivated and optimistic. “It was all so sudden; leaving the country and coming to the city,” his mother remarks. “I had to leave my husband and my other son working on the farm to come with him to the city, and we don’t know our way around here”.

Julio will not be able to work on the farm any more, but he is going to study and look for work in the city. “Now I have to try and help other people, so that they don’t lose hope, but to do that I must be well myself”. It is clear that he is now well on the road to recovery.




© ICRC / E. Tovar