Santa Maria UK Foodservice

Save the Children

Children who go to school and learn to read and write can help themselves and their communities to develop. Children who know their worth, rights and opportunities to influence can shape their own future.

Santa Maria wants to contribute to creating a brighter future for children who grow up in areas where we operate, by improving schooling for children in conflict-affected areas. We have cooperated with Save the Children since 2004. For the last five years we have been supporting a project in Medellin, Colombia. The project is part of the Save the Children “Rewrite the Future” project, the goal of which is to safeguard every child's right to education.

Medellin is Colombia's second largest city, and is known for having been dominated by gang conflict, violence and crime for a long time. Risking their lives on their way to school or suffering poverty, violence, and misery at home has, for years, been a reality for many children and young people in the most vulnerable areas. Education has become inadequate − or non-existent − for many of them.

In order to succeed, work is needed on several levels, which is why students and parents as well as school staff, authorities and other organisations have been involved in the work. The project includes a variety of actions. Children get to learn about their rights, resolving conflicts without violence, avoiding violent situations, protecting themselves and expressing their feelings and opinions. Schools receive help to teach in a less authoritarian and more inclusive way. Parents learn the importance of education, to support their children and how to prevent violence and abuse at home.

A number of mediation centres that practice conflict resolution without violence have also been created, and a network that finds children who are not going to school.

By 2014, the project had reached about 7,700 children, over 700 teachers and 1,100 parents. Globally the “Rewrite the Future” project has made it possible for 1.4 million children in conflict-affected areas to attend school, and more than ten million people have taken part in various educational programmes within the project.

The situation in Medellin has generally improved significantly in recent years. The Colombian government has invested substantially in crime prevention, and the development of the infrastructure and business environment. Medellin has become a better city to live in since we started our cooperation with Save the Children's “Rewrite the Future”, and the future of Medellin children is far brighter now.

Future plans

We are currently planning a new project with Save the Children and hope to make a difference again.

Santa Maria UK Ltd ∙ Nimbus House, Maidstone Road ∙ Kingston, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK10 0BD