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Scarlett Wood fundraising triathlon for Children of Colombia's Amazon Covid-19 Appeal

Scarlett’s Triathlon for Amazon Covid-19 Appeal

Scarlett Wood's Triathlon for Children of Colombia's Covid-19 AppealBritish student Scarlett Wood, age 16, is training for her first triathlon to support Children of Colombia’s Covid-19 appeal for aid to communities in the Colombian Amazon. Indigenous families in the area around Puerto Nariño have been very hard hit by the effects of Covid-19 on health and income on top of recent poor harvests.

“I’m working hard for my A levels as I want to be a vet. My dream is to help animals and I can’t wait to work on community welfare and conservation projects).” says Scarlett.

Supporting Communities in the Colombian Amazon

“This August I have challenged myself to complete my first ever triathlon to raise money to help save lives and protect people from Covid-19 in the Amazon rainforest. This urgent work is being carried out by two Colombian charities which are very close to my heart – ‘Fénix’ and ‘Natütama’. Both were founded by family friends and so I have grown up hearing all about the extraordinary work they do. Fénix works with vulnerable teenage girls in Bogotá, supporting them to stay in school and further education where it would otherwise be impossible. Natütama works with indigenous communities in Puerto Nariño in the Amazon rainforest, supporting community-led protection of their ecosystem – especially manatees and river dolphins!

“Fénix and Natütama are now on the front-line of the Amazon Covid-19 Appeal. High levels of malnourishment, a complete lack of even basic medical equipment and no government aid for vulnerable Amazon communities means they are depending on charities such as Fénix and Natütama for help. Fénix is providing PPE for health care workers and oxygen regulators; Natütama is distributing food to families who desperately need it.

“I have always found their work inspiring and now they need support more than ever, so I would like to do my part to help.

Scarlett’s Triathlon Amazon Covid-19 Appeal

“I am going to complete the triathlon in the Pyrenees during my family holiday. First I’m going to do the swim in a local mountain lake, followed by the cycle and run.  Both will involve the extra challenge of going up and down the mountains! I enjoy running with our dogs, have been part of Bath Dolphins Swimming Club since I was 7, and have started road cycling during lockdown. This will be the first time I’ve put all three together. I am excited to do this challenge, especially to raise money for such an urgent and life-saving cause. Please support me in helping these vulnerable people.”

If you would like to support Scarlett’s Triathlon Amazon Covid-19 Appeal visit Sclarlett’s Just Giving page

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Amazon Covid-19 Appeal – Fenix and Natutama

Children of Colombia has set up a new campaign on Just Giving to help indigenous families in the Colombian Amazon who have been very hard hit by Covid-19. With no properly equipped hospitals or medical facilities and no government aid so far the community is suffering from the combined impact of Covid-19 and recent poor harvests which have had devastating results on the local health and economy. The elderly and children are always most vulnerable and Fenix and Natutama have been working together to provide medical and food supplies – sourced by Fenix students in Bogota and distributed by Natutama educators and volunteers in Puerto Narino in the Amazonas district where they are based.

Click this Just Giving link to go straight to the campaign page – donations will automatically be ear-marked for Fenix and Natutama. Thank you!

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Colombian Amazon Hit Hard by Covid-19 – Aid Needed Urgently

In south-east Colombia, the busy township of Puerto Nariño on the banks of the River Amazon can only be reached by water – but the Covid-19 infection has already arrived!

The lock-down means tourism, a major source of employment, has completely dried up leaving many families without income or food. At this time of year food stores from last year’s harvest are exhausted and now hunger is a serious additional threat.
Kilyam Gomez, a Fénix graduate nurse born in Puerto Nariño, is responsible for the active search for cases of Covid-19 in the department of Amazonas. 26 new cases were found in just one day in May. There are 7,000 inhabitants nearly all Ticuna, Cocama and Yagua Indians, in Puerto Nariño and surrounding villages with large numbers of vulnerable people including the very old and children suffering from malnutrition, while the local hospital lacks basic equipment such as oxygen regulators and even face-masks and other protective equipment for the staff.
 
With no government aid arriving Nurse Kiliyam is appealing for urgent help. Fundaciónes Natütama and Fénix are meeting some of the most desperate needs: Fénix has sent oxygen regulators, N95 masks, disposable gloves, and face shields for the health care staff; Natütama is funding food supplies for families without resources.
To make a contribution to help feed families and ship further health care supplies to these vulnerable communities just push the Just Giving/Donate button at the top of the page. We can reclaim UK tax increasing the value of donations by 25% if you Gift Aid your donation. Please earmark your donation for either Natütama or Fénix.

 

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Colombia Coffee Roasters in Oxford raised funds for Children of Colombia with a collection box in their coffee shop in Oxford's Covered Market

A Big Thank You to Customers and Staff at Oxford’s Colombia Coffee Roasters

Trustee Kate Seal collected the full Children of Colombia collecting box recently from Colombia Coffee Roasters in Oxford’s Covered Market. It was heavy – customers and staff had collected an amazing £40.57. This lovely amount will go straight towards helping our three foundations in Colombia:
Luz y Vida‘s homes for sick and abandoned children in S Bogotá, Fénix which provides education and care for disadvantaged girls and Natütama’s environmental education and conservation programme for local children on the Amazon River.
People’s loose change can make a big difference!
Congratulations to Colombia Coffee Roasters for opening their new coffee shop in Summertown, Oxford.
“Colombia Coffee Roasters are speciality, single-origin coffee roasters born and based in Oxford (UK). We are part of a generation of coffee growers in Colombia with a strong focus on delivering high-quality coffee and education, whilst supporting Fair Trade conditions to ensure our coffee is sustainable and ethical.” says director Millie Barr.
 

 

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Hermana Valeriana, founder and director of Hogares Luz y Vida homes for very sick and abandoned children in downtown Bogota, Colombia

Trustee Antonia Visits the Luz y Vida Children’s Home, Bogota

Children of Colombia Trustee Antonia Bonilla was very impressed by her first visit to the Luz y Vida children’s home in Bogotá, Colombia last month.
“I visited the orphanage and met several staff members as well as (founder and director) Hermana Valeriana.
“I was so moved by the incredible work of the foundation and the love and attention that the children receive. They are cared for by committed professionals: nurses, social workers, doctors, physiotherapists, dentists, nutritionists, and others.
“The cleanliness and organisation of the operation is remarkable – the children could not be in a better place.”
Children of Colombia has been supporting Hogares Luz y Vida since 2002. Hogares Luz y Vida cares for very sick, poor and abandoned children who have nowhere else to go for health care, love and support. Read more on our Luz y Vida page.

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Children of Colombia Trustee Antonia Bonilla with Funcacion Social Fenix directors Tim Ross and Beatriz and students on the Fenix education programme

Antonia’s First “Children of Colombia” Visit

Children of Colombia’s newest Trustee Antonia Bonilla said she was “extremely touched, moved and inspired” by the work of the charities (fundaciones) supported by Children of Colombia following her recent visit to Bogotá in January 2020.
Antonia met directors of all three charities and some of the children and young people in their care including the Fénix students and directors pictured above. Antonia is 2nd from left. Fénix supports young women who have been victims of poverty, sexual abuse and deprivation through mentoring, psychological help and study sessions to help them return to full time education with the prospect of a fulfilling career primarily in the health and social welfare sectors.
“I found some of these women’s career choices particularly moving,” reports Antonia.
“Angelica wants to be a social worker to help sex workers and other women needing ways to improve their lives; Sandra is studying to work in human resources to ensure employees have access to adequate work conditions after working herself for almost eight years with no paid holiday, pension or social security.
“It was very inspiring to hear about these women’s dreams and their determination to progress and work towards a brighter future.”
Follow our blog for more news about Antonia’s visit for Children of Colombia.
Keeping in close touch with our colleagues on the ground in Colombia is one of the Children of Colombia’s founding principles, so we know what they are doing, how they are getting on and exactly how funds are being spent.
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Universidad La Salle – First year fees donated through Children of Colombia

Great news this week from Timothy Ross, Fénix Director in Bogotá:
“Dear Bryony and Gwyneth,
I have just heard from Lizeth Angélica that she has been accepted by la Universidad La Salle for the Social Work degree course, to start at the end of this month. She (like all of us) is delighted
The transfer from Children of Colombia will cover her fees for all of this year.
I shall write to the donors to give them our thanks and say how their contributions will be used. 
Best regards,
Timothy”
 
Congratulations Lizeth Angelica and very best wishes for your continued success!
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Bringing Conservation to the Classroom in the Colombian Amazon

Natütama, the Colombian environmental education foundation, believes it’s never to early for children to learn about protecting endangered species in their native Amazonian forests and waterways. Educators visit local schools to teach children from 1st to 5th grades through drama, storytelling and art and award diplomas representing animals such as the river dolphin, manatee, giant pirarucu fish, turtles and the huge Ceiba tree.
They all visited the Natütama Interpretation Centre for a morning’s activities centred on the underwater world. Each grade has a different programme, and the overall programme is designed to cover most aspects of the natural world, from insects to the solar system and sacred places for animals.
 
Natüutama also ran three junior ecology groups with the emphasis on more practical aspects of caring for the environment. Two of the groups re-forested the banks of streams in their communities and the third worked on medicinal plants with elders and all three groups took part in recycling activities and prepared special presentations for Natütama Week on the theme of “Where Does our Food Come From.
 
Natütama also runs an important wildlife and environment monitoring programme working closely with local communities to record numbers of endangered species such as river dolphins, manatees and sloths. The Natütama Amazon team won an award in 2019 from the regional environmental authority Corpoamazonia for the best sustainable venture in the area.
 
Go to the Natütama page on our website to read Natütama’s full report of its work in the Amazon in 2019.

 

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Fenix students graduation day in Bogota, Colombia

High School Graduation for Fenix Students!

Congratulations from Children of Colombia to Fénix students Angélica Abril and Lorena who have graduated from high school with great results!
Fénix co-founder Beatriz and English teacher Ezana were at the graduation ceremony.
Angélia Abril has also gained an English scholarship at the Centro Colombo-Americano where she is studying while she explores her options for continuing her education, and Lorena has registered with the state higher education institute SENA. Fénix is supporting Angélica with her course books and the bus-fares to get to the daily classes.
English is now mandatory for university degrees and postgrad courses and Fénix girls are taking this very seriously: dentist Zarina is working and studying English in the US and says she plans to take a postgraduate specialisation there before returning to Colombia.

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