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Georgina’s  Story, Colombia  Photo by UNHCR/S. Rich/2013.

Georgina’s Story, Colombia

As her memories engulf her, tears roll down Georgina’s face. The 78-year-old was only six years old when she witnessed her brother’s death – killed by armed groups who also forced her large, extended family from their beautiful homestead.

“We had such a lovely life in Tolima [Province],” says Georgina through her tears. “There we had a ranch, a big piece of land, great food, a beautiful house. Most importantly we were free and my whole family lived together. When the armed groups arrived they threatened my father and my brother was killed. And then when we lost our land… there was not enough food and the adults ate less so we the children would survive.”

Georgina still doesn’t have a permanent place to call ‘home’. Fourteen years ago, drug cartels forced Georgina to move on from her home again. Along with daughter Blanca and baby grandson Andreas, they moved to the illegal displaced shanty town of Altos de la Florida, Colombia.

“All my life I have just wanted a different, better life for my children…”, says Georgina. 

Portrait of Georgina.
Portrait of Georgina.


UNHCR intends to make Altos de la Florida a legal settlement and bring vital services to the area such as a regular water supply, electricity and better roads. It would make Georgina’s final years of life a little bit easier and safer.

Text by K. McFadden/2013.