Fighting for human rights

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

The education of young leaders is key to the continuance and sustainability of not-for-profit organisations. Last September we accompanied the Peasant Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) during an intensive residential “Leaders School.”

During the school, the following mural was painted in memory of the late Nelsy Gabriela Cuesta Cordoba, former president of Puerto Matilde´s Communal Action Board, assasinated by a paramilitary on 2 April 2002: “We can´t call dead those that die for life.”

We traveled by dirt road for hours before taking a boat up the beautiful Cimitarra River to the close-knit community of Puerto Matilde, Yondó surrounded by designated farming land and beautiful lush Colombian forest.

For 12 days we lived side-by-side 25 dedicated and motivated future leaders, women and men aged between 22 and 35 years, as they were schooled in the history, philosophy and future plans of the ACVC, human rights, ecology, biodiversity, gender, politics, land categories and Colombia’s development plan.


In addition to educational workshops, the student’s intense schedule included activities orientated towards personal development, discipline, communal living and physical fitness.

– Sarah Cates, a lawyer from New Zealand, has been a human rights field volunteer for the PBI Colombia project since June 2015, mainly the Magdalena Medio region.  In 2002 Sarah visited Colombia as a tourist and this experience further opened her social conscience and led her to return to Colombia.

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