Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - Many children from the slums of Venezuela are suffering from insecurity, conflict and economic hardship, aggravated by inflation that plagues the Country. They live in crowded houses, perched on the hills, are involved in gangs that sell drugs, kidnap, rob and kill minors in neighborhoods like Antimano, San Agustín or Petare, where half of the 3.2 million inhabitants of the capital live and suffer the stigma of violence, in a society historically divided by a social abyss. Thanks to the initiative of an English artist, who has lived in Venezuela for over 30 years, a group of about 600 students of seven secondary schools in Antimano and San Agustín, have the opportunity to attend the prestigious Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB).
The artist sees art as a tool against exclusion. Some go to university. "These workshops offer children a different view from the daily violence that they are used to living in their neighborhood. To get to know another world helps them to dream of a better future", said a teacher who took part in the program. Venezuela is one of the most violent Countries in the world, has a rate of 91.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, ten times higher than the world average. Out of 28,479 violent deaths, 9,967 were younger than 21 years of age and 854 under 15 years of age, according to the NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 17/03/2017)