2003 YOUTH AWARD
Colombia En El Corazón
Dayro Javier Reyes Acosta has committed his young life to helping protect mentally challenged and disabled children in areas affected by war and extreme poverty. He developed a project to investigate the cruel conditions of these children in Colombia, who are suffering from the atrocities of the national conflict and who are without resources and access to health care.
Reyes’s human rights research project was first adopted in Germany and, for this reason, is called Deutschland. In addition, each Christmas and New Year, Reyes travels to the edge of Magdalena River, a violent zone with armed groups who kill and torture children and their families. He collects gifts for these children who otherwise are unable to enjoy the holidays.
Since becoming an Honoree, Reyes has developed a Social Vision Program for young mothers, ages 11 to 18 who cannot afford medical care, and their newborns. The program provides vitamins, medicine and supplies for the mothers and babies in their first months of life. He recently co-founded a volunteer-run organization, Colombia En El Corazón (Colombian In the Heart Foundation), which helps children in poor communities throughout Colombia who have been affected by local conflict and violence. To help raise funds for these and other programs for children, Reyes organizes major concerts and plays. He has been invited to speak in conferences about the international human rights of children in Colombia and throughout the world. Although he is still working toward a degree in law, Reyes continues to put his career on hold to devote his time, talent and energy to Colombia’s poor and sick children. He does it all without pay.