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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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The Fenix Foundation gives disadvantag streetkids a chance of a brighter future through education and mentoring

English Scholarship for Fenix Student Angelica

Congratulations to Fénix sponsored student Angelica who has won a scholarship at the leading language teaching centre in Bogotá for intensive English classes. Angelica needs the English language qualification to progress in her present career in kindergarten teaching and to prepare for the difficult entrance exams for a highly competitive state university to study for a social work degree.
“I am happy, motivated and working hard”, she says.
Fénix supports Angelica with textbooks and bus fares to her daily classes.
The central purpose of Fénix is to help vulnerable girls overcome difficulties and become leaders and change-makers, educated in caring professions and able to contribute to the community.
English language skills are increasingly demanded for entry to higher education courses and improving their English is a major preoccupation for many students supported by the Fenix programme. On Saturdays volunteer English teachers Ezana and Annabel take regular classes and most Saturday mornings psychologist Deyanire works with girls who have distressing family situations, problems with child-rearing, difficulties and crises in their lives or for help in making career decisions.
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Runners and supporters after the 2019 ASICS 10K London Run which raised £1500 for Children of Colombia

Congratulations to the Children of Colombia Team in the ASICS London 10k!

Liam Thomas (left) and Richard Cossell (3rd from right) enjoy a well earned rest with friends and family in St James’s Park after running the ASICS London 10K to raise money for Children of Colombia on Sunday 21 July.
Liam finished in a very good time of 51 minutes and Richard was very close behind over the finish line in 58 minutes. Children of Colombia Secretary Gwyneth Simmons also ran and came in at a more sedate 1hr 10mins and joined the group in the park for a delicious pic-nic provided by Natalia.
A great day out running past some of London’s top landmarks – the Embankment, the London Eye, Westminster, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square – and a great result for the children in Colombia as the team raised almost £1500. A huge THANK YOU to the runners and everyone who supported them.
There’s still time to make a donation – either through Just Giving (click the button at the top of any page on our website or type in any of the runners’ names to get to their pages) or direct to Children of Colombia on our How You Can Help page.
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ASICS London 10K 2019 - three runners sponsored Children of Colombia

Fenix Helps Talented Student to Success

Fenix Director Timothy Ross writes from Bogota, Colombia of the extraordinary achievement of one of the foundation’s students:
“Last year Oriana’s father became seriously ill and unemployed, the family income plummeted and her parents had to give up their home and move in with relatives.  Fundación Social Fénix supported Oriana with Saturday tuition and the fees for a scholarship preparation course and the public exam, helping her to gain a place for a degree in Community Education and Human Rights. Her first semester´s marks have just arrived with an extremely high average of over 86%. We are very proud of her.”
Congratulations Oriana from all at Children of Colombia. Our team is running in the ASICS London 10K this Sunday to help give young people like Oriana from very poor and disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to make a better future for themselves.
Please support us and follow our progress on our Just Giving pages:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gwyneth-simmons
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liam-thomas17

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