Why Cartagena

While Cartagena is popular with tourists for its historic sites and Caribbean charm, sprawling behind the resorts and beaches lay slums of staggering misery.

In a city of one million, 45% of the population is living in extreme poverty.

  • 1 out of 3 children under the age of 5 does not receive 3 meals a day (1)
  • 41% of the population lacks medical insurance (2)
  • 2 out of 5 families live in substandard housing (3)
  • 25% of the population lacks suitable sewer drainage (4)
  • 1 out of 5 children is born to a teenage mother (5)
  • murder rate increased by 21% in 2008 (1)
  • 60% of 16- and 17-year-olds have dropped out of school (5)
  • 55,000 people have arrived in Cartagena in the last decade displaced by armed conflict (6)

Children growing up in Cartagena are especially vulnerable to exploitation due to the city’s touristic orientation.

We chose Cartagena because of its huge need, and also because Arriba las Manos wants to involve the local and international community in its efforts. (See Art of giving.) Because we believe that reaching out to relieve some else’s suffering can be one of the most powerful and rewarding human experiences, our aim is to provide people from all over the world with the opportunity to make another’s life a little bit better.

  1. Helda Martínez, 2007. Pobreza-Colombia: Cartagena se desnuda. [Online] Agencia de Noticias Inter Press Service (IPS). Available at: http://ipsnoticias.net/nota.asp?idnews=40221#share [Accessed 9 March 2010].
  2. Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos, 2008. Evaluación de calidad de vida – Salud. [Online] Cartagena de Indias D.T. y C., Colombia: Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos. Available at: http://www.cartagenacomovamos.org/temas.php?iID=2 [Accessed 9 March 2010].
  3. Ajá Cartagena, 2009. Cómo viven los más pobres entre los pobres de Cartagena. [Online] Ajá Cartagena. Available at: http://www.ajacartagena.com/inicio/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1704%3Acomo-viven-los-mas-pobres-entre-los-pobres-de-cartagena&catid=29%3Aeditoriales&Itemid=1 [Accessed 9 March 2010].
  4. Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos, 2008. Evaluación de calidad de vida – Servicios públicos y vivienda. [Online] Cartagena de Indias D.T. y C., Colombia: Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos. Available at: http://www.cartagenacomovamos.org/temas.php?iID=3 [Accessed 9 March 2010].
  5. Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos, 2008. Evaluación ciudadana a la calidad de vida en Cartagena 2008. [Internet] Cartagena de Indias D.T. y C., Colombia: Proyecto Cartagena Cómo Vamos. Available at: http://www.ajacartagena.com/inicio/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1704%3Acomo-viven-los-mas-pobres-entre-los-pobres-de-cartagena&catid=29%3Aeditoriales&Itemid=1 [Accessed 9 March 2010].
  6. Juan Forero, 2009. Rags in the Shadow of Riches. [Online] Washington Post Foreign Service. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/22/AR2009012203958.html [Accessed 9 March 2010].