The street children in Colombia are called “the disposable ones.” These children are unloved, unwanted, often abandoned, and endure terrible abuse. Saving the Disposable Ones takes you to the inner city streets of Colombia where an extraordinary priest, Father Gabriel Mejia, is transforming the lives of thousands of children.
Father Gabriel has learned that the desire to move away from the dangers of life on the street—the drug addiction, prostitution, violence, and illusion of freedom—must come from within the children themselves. Love, shelter, and meditation allow an extraordinary transformation to take place. The children are freed from the torments they endured, begin to gain an education, and find an appreciation for their own strength and the beauty of life.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
“The basic therapy is love. Love is a powerful medicine for any illness or disorder. When a child feels he is welcome, when a child feels educators are concerned about him…they change—the child changes.”
– Father Gabriel Mejia
Starting in Medellin in the mid 1980s, Father Gabriel opened the first Center de Hogares Claret: a place where children could come for a good meal and a safe place to sleep. In the late 1980s he traveled to the United States, where he learned the Transcendental Meditation program. He knew immediately that he had found the answer to the overwhelming stress the children suffered from living on the streets. As the power of the drug cartels waned, the number of Father Gabriel’s orphan shelters increased. Today Father Gabriel directs 47 shelters across all of Colombia. His center of operations in Medellin is the former home of Pablo Escobar, the now deceased drug lord.
Father Gabriel has worked quietly to provide street children relief from their struggle for survival and support to create a better life for themselves. Many of the children are addicted to sniffing glue or gasoline, and the process of becoming free of these dependencies can be a difficult and gradual one. As part of their rehabilitation, the children learn to meditate. Father Gabriel has learned through his work with the street children that the desire to move away from their life on the streets must come from within the children themselves. Father Gabriel’s Foundation embodies the wisdom, patience, and knowledge that is required to rescue the “disposable” children, restore their rights and their dignity, and offer them a
much brighter future.