World Refugee Day

Photograph of refugees in Colombia
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"When we played, we played ball or if not my brother would chase cars and I would go to play with my friends...Sometimes I saw that my parents were sad because we couldn't go out to play because other kids had been kidnapped and taken by the guerillas and all that. That's why my parents got very sad...I'm happy because here I can go out happily and here I can play happily with my brother like I always wanted to."José William, age 10

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Civil war and the deepening economic crisis in Colombia have forced over two million people to become internally displaced. They leave war-torn regions to squat on the outskirts of cities only to experience more violence and poverty. In one such neighborhood, El Progreso on the outskirts of Bogotá, the majority of residents survive through the informal economy of recycling materials found in local garbage dumps and street vending. At night the streets are patrolled by gangs of masked teenagers supported by paramilitary and guerilla groups, keeping fearful residents indoors.
Photograph by José William
 
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