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Fenix – Annual Report 2023

Read the full report of Fénix students’ amazing achievements against all odds in the charity’s 2023 report.

Just click on the box in the right hand corner of the Fundacion Fénix page for director Timothy Ross’s summary of their stories, their educational and personal successes and the difficulties they face in Colombia today.

Many of the original students on the Fénix programme have now graduated and are mentoring others and making a very positive contribution to society as health and social care professionals.

“One of the central aims of Fénix is to support girls without functional families, brought up in institutions, on the street or in any other situation of vulnerability and exclusion, so that they may turn these experiences into strengths and gain the education to become excellent professionals who can, in turn, give the support needed by other girls to escape similar situations. Fénix encourages members to go on beyond what they need just for a job and economic independence but to become well qualified specialists.” explains Director Timothy Ross in his report.

“The UK charity Children of Colombia (CoC) is an important factor in making possible these transformations, collecting and transferring donations to Bogotá, recovering taxes paid by UK residents, and organizing fund-raising events.”

So a big thank you to all our kind supporters who have been so generous in their support and made such a difference to these young women from very disadvantaged and abusive backgrounds.  Just click on the button at the top of the page or the link here to donate today

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Tea and Talks with Fenix


Last November, Children of Colombia Secretary Gwyneth Simmons travelled to Bogotá to meet representatives from Fénix, Natütama and Hogares Luz y Vida.  The aim was to see at first hand how all three charities were managing and to talk to them about their successes, challenges and hopes for the future and then report back to fellow Trustees and loyal supporters to demonstrate that their kind donations are being spent wisely and making a real difference to lives in Colombia.

On Saturday 11th November, Fénix director Beatriz Vejorano invited Gwyneth to have tea in her apartment with some of the young women who have benefited from Fénix’s sponsorship and support to attain their educational and career goals.

“It was a really lively, intelligent gathering and we had some very interesting conversations about their lives and work and the effects of the Covid pandemic and lockdown particularly on education,” says Gwyneth. “They had lots of questions about Children of Colombia – how it started and what it does – and about life and social conditions in the UK.  They were particularly interested to see how the British healthcare and education systems compared with Colombian ones.  Lizeth Angélica – just starting her final year of a social work degree at the University de la Salle – had been helping to set up support groups for women and children who were victims of domestic abuse and gave some fascinating insights into the problems of discrimination against women and the many Venezuelan refugees who are living in and around Bogotá.

“Disney completed her degree in social work five years ago (with the support of donations from Children of Colombia). She was very articulate and passionate about her current career working to support girls and women who have been victims of violence.”

She writes, “hace cinco anos termine mi (training) profesional, orgullosa de estudiar trabajo social. Tengo una hija de 3 anos 10 meses. Infinitamente agradecida con la fundación social fénix y aso solo puede ser gracias a la generosidad y el apoyo de donantes como Gwyneth. Mil gracias por su apoyo. Mi hija se llama Valentina.”

Also enjoying the chat and the very delicious and generous tea that Beatriz provided were Sandra, who has been supported at the Saturday English and peer group meetings, and star student Indira whose success in winning a place to study nursing at one of Bogota’s top universities has featured in previous Blog posts.  “(Estoy) muy agradeceda por la vinculación y acceso que Fenix me permite acceder con las clases” writes Sandra.  Not forgetting Lizeth Angélica’s son Julian and little Valentina.

The Saturday group is led by Beatriz with English teacher Ezana – also at the tea – and psychologist Deyanire who all provide personal support and mentoring to young women from very poor and disadvantaged backgroundsé.

“One of the central aims of Fénix is to support girls without functional families, brought up in institutions, on the street or in any other situation of vulnerability and exclusion, so that they may turn these experiences into strengths and gain the education to become excellent professionals who can, in turn, give the support needed by other girls to escape similar situations. Fénix encourages members to go on beyond what they need just for a job and economic independence but to become well qualified specialists,” explains Fénix director Timothy Ross in his 2023 Annual Report.  Click here to read or download the full report on Fénix’s page on this website under “What We Do”.



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Another £25 Raised from Online Shopping!

We are amazed at the significant and steady income Children of Colombia receives from Give As You Live!

It’s such an easy way to raise funds every time you shop online.  Just sign up to the app and hundreds of stores and top brands will give a percentage of your online spend to your nominated charity.  At no cost to you!

As we start thinking about Christmas shopping, this is a wonderful time to spread the love and give something special to the children in Colombia every time you buy a gift online for your family and loved ones.  And every time you grab a bargain the charity benefits too!

If you haven’t signed up yet, get started today:

Thank you so much for your support – please sign up today!


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Fenix student Indira graduating from Nursing School in Bogota, Colombia

Fenix Student Indira Set for Nursing Degree

Fenix student Indira is determined to overcome all obstacles to pursue her goal of a nursing career in the Colombian capital, Bogotâ.

Indira joined her sister Angélica in 2021 as a member of Fundación Social Fénix, the charity which supports young women from poor, abusive and very disadvantaged backgrounds through further education.  Indira impressed the Fénix board – which includes former students – with her determination to study for a qualification in the care of older adults.  “She is a delightful, intelligent and thoughtful 19 year old, and we are very confident that she will make an excellent and conscientious care professional,” wrote director Timothy Ross.

Earlier this year, Timothy wrote to us at Children of Colombia with the great news that Indira had graduated from Escuela de Salud San Pedro Claver – a technical college in Bogotá – with a nursing diploma.  Fénix had given financial support, advice and encouragement to complete the course but the academic achievement was down to Indira’s hard work, dedication and ability.

Spurred on by her success, Indira has since applied to and been accepted for a four-year nursing degree at El Rosario, one of Colombia´s top five ranked and most prestigious universities.  She also applied for and was awarded a student loan/credit from the Bogotá education department for the fees – non-refundable, provided she maintains a high grade average and on graduation puts in six months of voluntary work.

“This was all on her own initiative and without help from Fénix,” writes Timothy.  “Until now we knew nothing more than ‘I am applying for a scholarship’and never imagined she was trying for El Rosario.  We are amazed.”

Unlike most of her fellow students who went to top private schools, speak other languages and come from privileged backgrounds, Indira has only Fenix and her older sister Angelica for support and gets to classes by long bus rides from a poor barrio.

Everyone at Fénix and Children of Colombia is very proud of Indira and Timothy has every confidence that she will do well and achieve her goals:

“She sets her sights high and is a determined and disciplined young lady, with a generous, caring spirit.”

Despite the grant, Indira will need to cover her fares, living costs, text books, uniforms and other expenses over the next four years.  Raising the funding to support her is Fénix’s main priority.  If you would like to help, please click here and make your donation through our Just Giving page with a note to say it should be ear-marked for Indira at Fénix.  We will make sure all funds are sent out promptly to give Indira a good start and the reassurance of financial security so she can concentrate on working hard and getting those grade averages.

Congratulation Indira – and good luck with your studies!

Fenix student Indira graduating from Nursing School in Bogota, Colombia
Nursing graduate Indira (right) with sister Angelica, nephew Julian and Fenix director Beatriz Vejarano.
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From Bogota to the Amazon – Long Journey for Donated Laptop!

Student Vanessa Laureano is delighted with the new laptop which survived a mammoth journey all the way from St George’s School in Bogotá to Puerto Nariño in the Amazon, one of the most isolated areas in the very south of Colombia.

The refurbished computer was the generous gift of students and staff at Colegio San Jorge de Inglaterra in the Colombian capital Bogotá.  School Principal Jaime Acosta and the school’s IT team made sure that the laptop had all the proper licences and applications required to make it a really useful educational aid – very precious in an area where, unlike Bogotá, laptops are very hard to come by.

The laptop left Bogotá on 27 March this year.  It was taken by courier to Leticia, capital of the Amazonas region of Colombia.  It had to wait for a while as local contact Marelvi from Fundación Natütama was ill with Dengue fever and not well enough to make the long boat journey up the river to collect it.  It finally reached its destination in Puerto Nariño on 5 April – but proved well worth the wait!

Vanessa is studying to be a teacher so she can follow in her mother Marelvi’s footsteps as an educationalist in this remote area of the country.

Thanks to everyone at St George’s for their generous gift which will be put to very good use to help less fortunate students many miles away. One of Bogotá’s best known schools, Colegio San Jorge has a special interest in conservation and the environment – a principal it shares with Natütama the charity dedicated to environmental education and conservation – especially of endangered species – in the Amazon.

“Our school is a natural reserve made up of a savannah wetland inhabited by multiple species of birds, fish, frogs, algae, amonth others.  In addition, we enjoy large areas of high Andean forest and gardens that provide food and shelter to many species of flora and fauna which we can appreciate on a daily basis.  We have identified 208 species of plants and 35 species of birds.” explains the school’s website.

IT – along with English – is another specialist subject for which St George’s prides itself, so the refurbished laptop was the perfect project to fit the school’s philosophy and areas of expertise.


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Book Fair Trip for Fenix Students in Bogota

Youngsters from the Fenix Reading Group had a great day out when they visited the 2023 Bogotá Book Fair with director Beatrix Alvarez.

Beatriz runs regular Saturday classes to encourage girls to read – mainly books and relevant news reports.  The aim is to make reading a pleasurable habit and a part of life rather than required reading for school which can sometimes become a chore.  Secondly, Beatriz hopes to broaden the girls’ horizons and make them aware of important things that are happening in Colombia and beyond.

So in addition to reading about Colombia (primarily Alfredo Molano’s Cartas a Antonia and reports about various forms of inequality in the country), the group has read about and discussed the very different situation of girls and women in Iceland and in Afghanistan under the Taliban, environmental issues, sexual violence, the plight of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia and other contemporary issues.

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Good News from Natutama

Natütama made great progress in all areas in 2022 – a major recovery after the devastating effects of Covid and disastrous weather in the previous two years. The environmental charity is based in Puerto Nariño, in the Colombian Amazon. It works closely with schools and the local community to conserve and care for the very delicate ecosystems of the Amazon river and shores and the endangered species that struggle to survive in the unique environment. Local staff also manage the Natütama Education Centre – very badly damaged in the floods and storms of the previous year – and supervises monitoring of endangered species such as manatees, river dolphins and sloths by local fishermen.

“After two years of adjusting to Covid conditions, Natütama had a very productive year in 2022. Following re-roofing and re-painting early in the year, the Interpretation Centre received over 4000 visitors and, after a gap of 2 years, once again brought in enough income to cover Centre guiding and other outgoings.” reports founder and director Sarita Kendall.

With schools re-opening, essential repairs completed on the Education Centre (partly funded by your generous donations through Children of Colombia), the revival of tourism and numbers of local wildlife on the increase, 2022 was a very positive year for Natütama. Congratulations to all the local staff who work so hard to promote conservation in this very special region of Colombia.

You can read the whole report here



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Fenix logo - educational charity in Bogota, Colombia

Major Successes for Fenix Students in 2022

2022 was a year of achievements and successes for Fénix students in the Colombian capital Bogotá despite having to cope with the additional problems of bad weather, floods and rocketing street crime as well as sharply rising prices, particularly food, which have made life hard for everyone. However, almost all students have finished 2022 with extremely high grades. “We have had difficult times, with more challenges yet to come, but the important thing is to overcome every obstacle and to keep going ahead”. (Disney – graduate social worker).

Fénix continues to support the young women with funding for higher education courses, mainly in the health and social care sectors.  It also provides money for travel and other essential expenses besides group mentoring and individual encouragement and support.

Deyanire, a qualified psychologist, leads online meetings where girls can discuss their problems, concerns and achievements.  This has helped with self-confidence and the important reassurance of support from the group especially in times of great stress and hardship.

Girls also attend small, intensive group language classes on Saturdays and director Beatriz leads group discussions on political and social affairs in the country including the peace process and the role these young women can play in their society.

It’s not all studying.  The girls have lots of fun, too, with outings to the cinema with ice cream and discussions about the films.

You can read the full Fenix 2022 report here Fénix 2022 – Annual Report Natutama – 2022 Report or on the Fénix page of this website.  It includes some remarkable achievements by some very special, dedicated and talented young women who would not have the opportunity to study and improve their chances in life without the support of Fundacíon Social Fénix.

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Nothing in Moderation – Prue Leith’s UK Tour

Businesswoman, restaurateur, cordon bleu trained chef, author and star of “The Great British Bake Off” TV programme, Dame Prue Leith’s latest venture – and adventure – is a UK-wide tour of her new one-woman show  ‘Nothing in Moderation’.  The show opens in Shrewsbury on 1 Feb and Prue will be taking it to venues around the country until the 6th April.

A longstanding supporter of Children of Colombia, Prue says:

“I have never done a stage show before and at 82 I’m probably nuts to try it, but it’s huge fun, makes the audience laugh and lets me rant away about the restaurant trade, publishers, TV and writing, and sing the praises of food, love and life.”

You can read more about Prue, find recipes, books and articles on fashion and gardening on her own website Prue Leith (

Tour dates and tickets are available from

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Support us this winter for FREE

Help us enter Give as you Live Online’s £10,000 Giveaway before 31st December 2022

Supporting Children of Colombia couldn’t be simpler this winter thanks to Give as you Live Online’s winter giveaway, and here’s how you can take part.

Give as you Live Online are giving you the chance to earn a £10 bonus donation on top of the regular free donations you can raise by using their free shopping tool. When you sign up to support Children of Colombia on Give as you Live Online and complete 3 fund-raising shops by the end of the year, they’ll pay us a bonus £10 donation.

Plus, when you use Give as you Live Online, you’ll raise a free donation with almost every purchase you make at over 6,000 stores, including John Lewis & Partners, Argos, Sainsbury’s, Wilko and

For example, if you were to click through Give as you Live Online to do your monthly grocery shopping at Sainsbury’s, you could raise up to 7.5%* of your spend back as a free donation for us. Based on a click and collect shop of £100 per month, you could raise an extra £35 a year for us, for free! Plus, there’s no limit to how much you can raise.

Getting the free £10 donation

Signing up is easy:

  • Click the button below to be taken to our charity page on Give as you Live Online, and click ‘Sign up’
  • Sign up for an account. You’ll only need to provide your name and email address
  • Complete 3 shops by the end of December. As well as a £10 bonus donation, you’ll earn a donation on each shop.


Full Terms and Conditions can be found here.

*Calculation of £35 a year is based on 1 £100 shop as a new customer using click and collect at 7.5%, and 11 subsequent shops as an existing customer using click and collect at 2.5%. Rates are subject to change at retailer’s discretion.

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