It is an unyielding commitment to the healing of their community that drives Edward Doglia and Dahlia Ochoa to cultivate such magic in this otherwise ordinary social space on the 3rd floor of an apartment building in Bosa, southwest Bogotá. 

With the support of SAIFI (Servicio de Asistencia Integral a la Familia e Infancia), a Venezuelan founded psychosocial health focused foundation for families, Edward and Dahlia deliver 'Familias que Caminan' or 'Families that Walk’, a weekly program of safe relational healing and mental health intervention.

Since their arrival to Colombia in 2022 Edward and Dahlia have been working hard to make these psychoeducational services accessible to adults affected by emotional conflict in the city’s southern municipalities - their time and energy is invested totally voluntarily and provision is completely free for the community. 

Being open, secular, inclusive - and thanks to the strong Colombian culture of oral sharing - their offering is well engaged with by a diverse community of people seeking support to express, regulate and manage their experience of the world - many of whom are at risk of scarcity, violence and the trauma associated with international, domestic and city specific displacement. 

Last month, Edward and Dahlia invited me to participate in an afternoon of warm storytelling, active listening and self/co regulation; it was a unique joy to sit in community, connect with and practice mind:body, self care and restorative work together. The magic cultivated in that space transcended beyond my language limitations (thank you for your patience Edward and Dahlia!) and the impact of the catharsis available here in Bosa is incalculable; it ripples out from the individual participants to their families and ultimately out into the wider community, transforming the relational experience of the entire population that is at risk. 

Carolina Bocanega, a committed member of ‘Families that Walk’ here in Bosa, tells me that choosing to be part of this group marked the first time she felt she could openly share her story and truly feel heard - a powerful testament to the value of SAIFI and it’s work here in Colombia.

Thank you Fundación Dunna for connecting me to Edward and Dahlia of SAIFI ❤️

I’d also like to acknowledge the work of Mahuampi another organisation working to meet access to rights, employability and health care needs for Venezuelan migrants in Bogotá (to whom Edward and Dahlia are also connected to as volunteers).

You’ll find more on the power of story, circle and catharsis here soon as I continue to process and further reflect upon my journey all over the Americas.

Abi Nolan, 2023