“The street children in Colombia are called ‘the disposable ones’ and they live and sometimes die on the streets. These children are unloved, unwanted, and endure abuse on many levels. Colombians are a kind and generous people but crime related to cocaine trafficking has made cities such as Medellin among the most violent in the world. Surviving on the streets is a harsh business. Children as young as six fall into prostitution and many escape the torments of their existence by sniffing glue.” — Stuart Tanner, Director
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY
As Stuart reveals in his deeply moving new film, there is a Catholic priest in Colombia, Father Gabriel Mejia, who has worked quietly to provide street children relief from their struggle for survival and support to create a better life for themselves.
Starting in Medellin in the mid-1980’s, 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 1980’s, he traveled to the United States where he learned Transcendental Meditation. 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. Now, in 2010, there are 47 shelters under Father Gabriel’s direction, which are spread across all of Colombia. His center of operations in Medellin is the former home of Pablo Escobar, the now deceased drug lord.
“In the rough part of Medillin there is an orphan center where children as young as six years old can come to seek solace,” Stuart recalls. “At the center the children can shower and get a good meal. The children are free to come and go as they wish. There is no pressure on them to stay; it is an open house. 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. Many of the children are addicted to sniffing glue or gasoline so the process of becoming free of this dependency is a difficult and gradual one. As part of their rehabilitation the children learn to meditate. This is combined with gentle guidance from Father Gabriel and other members of the Foundation.”
As Stuart’s film documents, over time an extraordinary transformation in the lives of the children takes place. They are freed from the torments they endured living on the streets, recover from their drug addictions and begin to gain an education. “The Foundation established by Father Gabriel embodies the wisdom, patience and knowledge that is required to rescue the ‘disposable’ children, restore their rights, their dignity and offer them a much brighter future,” Stuart says.
“The basic therapy is love. Love is the imperial medicine for any illness or disorder. When a child feels they are welcome, when a child feels an educator is concerned about them, the child who came from violence and hostility of the streets, from being mistreated and who became aggressive, they change. The child changes.”
“When a child starts to practice Yoga every day, morning and afternoon. When a child closes the eyes and begins to meditate, when a child practices the Sidhis, they open themselves up to a field of infinite possibilities, as Maharishi says. The world opens for the child. And then the child discovers their essential nature, which is love.
“I think that we’re all committed to transforming the world we’re all living in. We have to leave a better world than the one we found. I believe in solidarity. I believe the solution is within every person. Within each one of us there is a sanctuary, and the moment we take refuge there, we can enter it. Solutions come from every person. When we put them together, there are many solutions. We must globalize love.” – Father Gabriel Mejia
The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation has currently provided over 120,000 scholarships around the world including tens of thousands in Latin America. The proceeds from this premiere will go towards the David Lynch Foundation programs in Latin America, including Father Mejia’s Foundation, providing meditation instruction to at-risk populations. The program is offered on a voluntary basis, at no cost to the school or organization. Visit davidlynchfoundation.org for more information on programs and initiatives.
SUPPORT AT-RISK YOUTH
online WORLD PREMIERE April 8, 2010, 7:45pm
Fairfield, IA Watch the extended #trailer See Saving the Disposable Ones: World Premiere Poster for David Lynch Foundation Documentary along with longer clips from the film.
See the Saving the Disposable Ones article by Linda Egenes in Issue 11 of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine.
Saving the Disposable Ones: http://savingthedisposableones.com