From city to ghetto, two charities building bridges in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Other | Tuesday 16th January 2018 | Gassy

Three years ago, I had the pleasure to travel to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The city is a mix of beautiful nature and European infrastructure. 

I could have never imagined that in the middle of such an amazing city, there is a district called 'Colombia'. The people of Abidjan call it 'Colombia' referring to the underground world of the actual city of Colombia, an underworld known for its corruption, prostitution, drugs and high infant mortalities, just like in this district.

It was startling to see that in one corner of this city it was the complete opposite, on one side lived the rich and on the other the very poor. I was taken there by a lady I met, called Colette, on a project to open a preschool with a London based charity called AEFAN (African European Family Network).

The 'Colombia' district in Abidjan

Colette also works for an Ivory Coast charity called 'Youth for Jesus', in which she teaches women who suffered from domestic abuse to read and teaches young people about HIV. Every year the charity hosts an event for children in 'Colombia' to give them used and unused toys that have been donated to the charity.

Inspired by Colette's selfless actions, I decided to partner with her to do my bit to change the world. Children from this district don't go to school instead they sell coconuts and other merchandise to tourists. This year, I will go back to finish what I have started and I will work beside a good friend whose father worked as Secretary of State, together we hope to find a way to help these children.

However, Ivory Coast is not the only country that suffers from economic inequality. Everywhere in the world, we have cities that look pretty at first glance, but with very poor districts, so what do we do about it? That is the real question.