Maicol grew up in Columbia in institutional care, and knows the damage that this kind of care can do to a young person. His experiences inspired him to found the Columbian Association of State Protection (ASCEP). This organisation provides young people who are leaving institutional care with the opportunity to build networks, receive training, and prepare for the challenges of independent living.
In 2016 Maicol began working with Lumos as a self-advocate for deinstitutionalisation. In 2018 he travelled to Brussels to speak at a high-level conference on deinstitutionalisation, jointly hosted by Lumos and the European Commission. He spoke eloquently about the need for the EU to cease its funding of orphanages, and instead support the transition into a system of family and-community based care for the most vulnerable children in any country which is a recipient of aid. Maicol will continue to work to promote children’s rights and deinstitutionalisation in Columbia and internationally.