© BRENT STIRTON

LATIN AMERICA

Mexico and Colombia have been heavily affected by violence in recent years, primarily driven by the infighting of drug cartels and – especially in Colombia – conflict among paramilitaries, leftist guerrillas and government armed forces.

The fighting has displaced rural populations in both countries. As these cartels fight over the most efficient entry points into the United States, more than a million Mexicans – most of them indigenous – are estimated to have been forced to leave their communities. More than 150,000 homes are unoccupied in the most-impacted states of Durango, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Michoacán.

In Colombia, according to the Centre for Historical Memory, since the beginning of the conflict six decades ago approximately 5.7 million people have been displaced by force. Every time a new group took control of the territory, it would typically punish the community, accusing them of supporting the opposite side.

These displaced people have their property stolen, farm animals killed, and crops eradicated. Some in Mexico try to venture into the US, but most are deported back again. Typically they end up in cities, often lacking basic conditions for living.

If youth in these communities are to stay on the right path, they need a chance for education. However, although Colombia in particular is making efforts to assist the internally displaced, the governments of affected countries have limited capacity.

Blue Rose Compass® identifies outstandingly talented young refugees and displaced people, and enables them to get a top university education. In return, we ask them to commit to finding future opportunities to help rebuild their country.