Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Monisha Bajaj

Second Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Third Advisor

Michael Duffy


Colombia continues to report the highest number of internally displaced people (IDPs) with over eight million registered in 2021 (UNHCR, 2021). The majority of the internally displaced people are campesinos, AfroColombians, and members of Indigenous communities. Historically, people in these demographic groups have been excluded from political participation and wealth accumulation, and their identities are minoritized (Bello, 2003). Urban schools have become contact zones (Pratt, 1991) for internally displaced families and various economic, social, and political discourses attempt to explore and explain their experiences. However, the voices of the families themselves are not often found within this body of scholarship.

The purpose of this single-unit case study was to explore the experiences of internally displaced families, whose children attend an urban public school in the city of Cali, Colombia, by gathering and exploring their Cuentos (stories). This research methodology allowed for multiple units of analysis including individuals, families, and the school as a whole. It also included multiple sources of evidence such as documents, archival records, interviews, observations, artifacts, and the interactive storytelling instrument: Tú y Yo: Cuento Interactivo. The Cuento is a tool rooted in decolonizing methodologies (Smith, 2012) and informed by interactive visual methodologies (Fontaine & Luttrell, 2015). Different from other studies of internally displaced people in Colombia, this case study was designed to center the stories of the participants as a source of knowledge and strength, and to interrupt the deficit narratives common among research on the impact of migration and forced displacement.

The data collection and analysis for this case study was framed by Sen’s (2001) Capability Approach. The findings of this case study are organized under two main themes that explore the role of the school as a community hub, as well as the role of the school as a second home. The discussion of the school as a community hub explores themes related to opportunity, adversity, and relationships. The discussion of the school as a second home explores themes related to migration and cuentos. Findings from this case study may be used to inform the work of Colombian educators who wish to strengthen school-family relationships in urban settings that have become host communities for internally displaced families.

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