From Displacement to Independence

I am Yeniffer Pedrosa, 24 years old, and was born in Belén de los Andaquies, Colombia.

My childhood was spent with my five siblings in Yurayaco. That area suffered greatly from guerrilla and paramilitary incursion. So, when I was 14 years, my mother decided to take us to San Vicente del Caguan looking for better job opportunities. Shortly after arriving the area was under full attack against subversive groups and there were daily clashes and bombings. It reached a point where we could not travel on the roads outside of our town unless it was in caravans protected by the military. We once again moved; this time back to Yurayaco.

At 16 years I welcomed my son and started a business with my mother. Two years later, two men arrived wearing camouflaged clothes posing as FARC members inviting us to us to join their ranks to help them in their mission. I clearly remember the phrase that closed the conversation “He who is not with us is against us.” Days later we moved to Florencia and presented a declaration of displacement.  I was included in the Victims Registry and joined the program Red Unidos.

One day, the co-manager who accompanied us in the process informed me that “people were needed to visit displaced families” and people that met certain requirements for the job should apply. After a lengthy interview process I was hired as the Social Promoter on October 22, 2010 by IRD.

When I started working at IRD I became independent with my son.  I rented an apartment and prioritized my needs, to provide a better quality of life for my son.  This included continuing my studies which I did at night.  In June 2014 I graduated as a Nursing Assistant. I also continued my studies as a Technical Health Administrator.

In October 2014 I was granted compensation form the Colombian government for my displacement. With those funds and my IRD income I bought a piece of land on the outskirts of Florencia.  I started building a home to not only ensure my son good living conditions, but was also able to improve the living conditions of my mother and siblings. My studies continue as I am now working towards my degree in Health Administration.

Through my studies, my experience in the area of health and working at IRD has all given me the confidence to continue improving my life despite the difficulties of the past.  I like what I do and do it with passion and love.

Yeniffer Pedrosa


Colombia Closing Gaps Program