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Gwyneth’s Fundraiser – Week 2

Well I blame the weather – it has been very damp – but I only managed eight hours in week 1 of my Give As You Live “fundraise from home” challenge.  A bit of a failure for me but a win for Children of Colombia as I have put £10 in the pot: £5 for each hour below target.  But that’s probably what I saved on fuel over the week so not a great sacrifice and it will help the kids get through the Covid-19 crisis in Colombia.

Did you know that HMRC will increase donations from UK taxpayers who add Gift Aid by a massive 25% with no added cost to themselves?

And you can raise more free funds for Children of Colombia every time you shop online simply by registering with Give As You Live.  Leading supermarkets, travel companies and lots of big name High Street stores will donate a percentage of your spend with every transaction.  Such a painless and effective way to keep those donations coming in.

Well here’s to the start of Week 2 – and looking forward to some more walks in the lovely Gloucestershire countryside in the autumn sunshine (hopefully!).  Here are some pictures of my walk around the ancient Rollright Stones.

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Getting Outdoors in the Fundraising at Home Challenge

Beat the Lockdown Blues – Gwyneth’s Challenge!

Hello – I volunteer as secretary for Children of Colombia and help write this website blog.  With the sad prospect of no tennis or golf – my go to fixes for exercise, fun and catching up with friends several days a week – I decided to take my own advice  and set up a lockdown fundraising challenge from home with Give As You Live. My target is to spend 10 hours a week taking some form of exercise outdoors – walking, gardening or the occasional jog if I feel very enthusiastic – and raise money for Children of Colombia along the way.

This should get me out of the house and away from the computer screen to see other people (at a distance, but at least I’ll know they’re still out there and doing the same as I am!), enjoy the stunning autumn countryside on my doorstep and help my mental and physical wellbeing in this difficult time.

At this time of year, when it’s frosty in the morning and dark by 4 with the prospect of winter ahead it’s easy to feel down in this part of the world. With Covid-19 and lockdown increasing anxiety and isolation, even more important to try to maintain our mental and physical health. Exercise raises levels of endorphins – and seratonin and other feel good neurochemicals – which can lower symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress:

“While meditation, laughing, or eating chocolate do raise endorphin levels, they don’t raise them as much as exercising intensely for an hour or more.” —J. Kip Matthews, PhD

Though I’ll probably try the chocolate too, just for good measure!

So – while I’m helping myself, I can also do a small something to help Children of Colombia. The children and young people the charity helps are much more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic than most of us and need extra care, love and support during this difficult time. I will give £5 a week when I achieve my 10 hour goal – and £5 for every hour below my target. A win win for Children of Colombia and hopefully for me too! It won’t raise a fortune, but a little goes a long way in Colombia and every little helps. Let’s get started while the sun’s shining!

Images from my first walk – found a new friend!

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Fundraise for Children of Colombia from home with Give as You LIve

Take a Lockdown Fundraising Challenge!

From today, everyone in England is facing the challenge of a new lockdown for the next four weeks in the battle to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  It’s not quite as strict as the first lockdown in March so some of us will have a daily routine and social contact in school and work.  But others will be stuck at home again with very limited leisure and social activities available to them.  We all need to find ways to occupy, entertain and keep us mentally and physically strong through the next four weeks.

A great way to help yourself and others is to set a fundraising project or goal at home. You can set yourself a challenge and at the same time know you are helping children in Colombia who desperately need support in these difficult times.

Luz y Vida cares for sick children in Bogota, Colombia who are especially vulnerable to the risk of Covid-19 There are over a million confirmed cases across Colombia.  Admissions to the Hogares Luz y Vida residential home in Bogotá increased by 10% to the end of June 2020.  They are now  caring for 230 children with severe mental and physical health conditions who need extra special care as they are particularly vulnerable to the risk of Covid-19.

Covid-19 has hit families especially hard in the Colombian Amazon where Natütama staff have been helping to distribute urgently needed food and medical supplies.  Fénix is working hard to provide psychological and educational support for young students experiencing lockdown in potentially abusive or dangerous conditions.

Do something to help them and yourself – keep your mind and body healthy with a fundraising challenge from the comfort of your own home! No matter what you do – cooking, exercising, healthy eating/lifestyle, home or garden projects – collect vital donations for us with a free fundraising page from @GiveasyouLive >

Have fun, keep busy and let us know how you are getting on – we’d love to share your experiences!


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Raise Free Funds With Your Weekly Grocery Shop!

Grocery store cards are a great way to raise regular funds for Children of Colombia.  For every weekly or monthly shop top supermarkets chains like M&S, Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Morrisons will donate a percentage of your spend to Children of Colombia with absolutely no charge to you! 

Shopping at the supermarket or gifting a gift card this Christmas? You can generate FREE donations for us when you shop the @GiveasyouLive range of donation-raising gift cards, grocery cards and more >

Just click on the link and start fundraising the easy way – simply doing your weekly grocery shop!





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Fundraise for Children of Colombia from home with Give as You LIve

Want to Help in Lockdown? Try Fundraising with the Give As you Live Stay at Home Challenge

Looking for ways to make the most of your time in local lockdown?

It’s easy to raise funds for Children of Colombia and do your bit to keep everyone safe with the Give as You Live Stay at Home challenge.

As a direct result of Covid-19 thousands of events have been cancelled, meaning the loss of millions in donations and sponsorship for UK charities. But with a little imagination, we can make a real difference and keep our minds and bodies active at a time when we are required to stay at home.

If you are one of the many who’ve taken up running walking or cycling to keep up your fitness while socially distancing you could take part in a virtual sporting event.  But a virtual run or cycle on your home treadmill or exercise bike works just as well if you don’t fancy getting out in the cold or are in quarantine.  If you are a teacher, then virtual yoga or pilates or zumba classes or videos could be a great way to share your knowledge while raising funds for poor and vulnerable children in Colombia, South America.

There are plenty of ways to fundraise that don’t involve wearing lycra and sports shoes.  You can do your bit by holding a virtual quiz or an online games tournament with friends, neighbours and family.  Or fundraise by sharing your  special interest or talent – sewing tips, household hints or top recipes for winter meals.  What about a sponsored head shave if you can’t get to the hairdresser or barber?  Whatever your skills, you can create a sponsorship page on the Give as you Live Donate platform to raise funds for Children of Colombia.

You can raise money doing almost anything – just ask people to donate!  Take part 

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Children playing at Luz y Vida home in Bogota during lockdown

Life in Lockdown at Luz y Vida

Covid-19 has brought special challenges for staff and children at the Luz y Vida homes in Bogotá, Colombia.

All the children – from babies to adolescents – resident at the bright, cheerful home in downtown Bogotá suffer from serious chronic mental or physical conditions.  Founder and director Valeriana Martin says Luz y Vida has had to double its efforts to provide continuous, top quality care for these especially vulnerable children without neglecting the health of their employees.

In her latest letter to Children of Colombia, Valeriana writes:

“We have had to isolate our very special children from contact with the outside world.  We have had to reduce non-essential therapeutic, educational and recreational activities without neglecting their well-being, care and quality of life.”

Biosecurity and hygiene protocols have been increased and contact with the children is restricted to the key staff who help them with essential daily activities such as washing, eating and healthcare.

Personal care and individual attention for each disabled child at Luz y Vida children's home in Bogota

Curiously, this (regime) has improved health care processes resulting in lower rates of complications and hospital admissions among Luz y Vida residents has dropped by 60% – despite a 10% increase in the number of children admitted to the home since the lockdown began.

In June 2020 the number of seriously disabled children in Luz y Vida’s care rose to and incredible 230.  Every one requires special medical and personal care from the dedicated staff.   But Valeriana believes caring goes beyond the practical and physical.  She believes in giving each child particular love and attention and treating each as an individual and a valued member of the community.

“Always remember the road to your Luz y Vida home where a group of children invite you with open arms and a tender smile” ends Valeriana.







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Natutama and Fenix workers source and distribute medical supplies to families in the Colombian Amazon hit by Covid-19

Battling Covid-19 in the Colombian Amazon

Thanks to everyone who has responded to Children of Colombia’s Covid-19 Amazon Appeal.  Scarlett Wood raised over her target of £500 in her recent Triathlon.  We are so grateful to all our other generous donors who have helped bring aid to the Colombian Amazon families hit by Covid-19.

This is where the funds are going: the picture shows health care workers with the latest batch of essential medical supplies to help the battle against Covid-19 in the Colombian Amazon.

Covid-19 Hits the Colombian Amazon

The busy township of Puerto Nariño on the banks of the River Amazon  in south east Colombia has been hard hit by the pandemic.  Covid-19 has reached even these remote communities with devastating consequences.

Kilyam Gomez, a qualified nurse and member of the Fénix education programme, was born in Puerto Nariño.  Kilyam is responsible for the active search for cases of Covid-19 in the department of Amazonas.  There are 7,000 inhabitants nearly all Ticuna, Cocama and Yagua Indians in Puerto Nariño and surrounding villages.  There are  many vulnerable people including the very old and children suffering from malnutrition.  The local hospital lacks basic equipment such as oxygen regulators and even face-masks and other protective equipment for the staff. 
Tourism, a major source of employment, has completely dried up leaving many families without income or food.  Local flooding has spoiled harvests and now hunger is a serious additional threat.
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.

Latest News from Colombian Amazon

Here’s the latest update from Fénix Director Timothy Ross to Children of Colombia Chairman Kate Seal:

“Dear Kate,

Latest reports from the Amazon are mixed: while the rates of new infections and of deaths appear to  be slowing, the virus has now spread to some of the most isolated indigenous communities that canot be reached by land or by river, only by air, making prevention, diagnosis, and treatment harder.

Nurse Kilyam says the supplies are hugely welcome and are making a real difference to response capability.

She has just sent us a picture of some of the Puerto Nariño health care team unpacking the latest Fénix shipment of face masks and infra-red thermometers.



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

Congratulations Scarlett – Triathlon Target Smashed!

Congratulations Scarlett Wood on completing a gruelling triathlon in the Pyrenees in aid of Children of Colombia’s Covid-19 appeal.

We are in awe of her achievement and dedication.   Scarlett, 17, has been training with her family during their summer  holiday.  Scarlett even spent her 17th birthday camping outdoors as part of her campaign.  The lakes and mountains of the Pyrenees are beautiful and impressive but a very tough environment to choose for such a demanding sporting challenge.

Not only did Scarlett complete the 10K run, 40K cycle and 1.5 k swim, but she smashed her £500 fundraising target. The money will go to help Fénix and Natütama, two of the Colombian charities supported by Children of Colombia.  They are working together to provide essential medical supplies, PPE  and food for desperate families in the Colombian Amazon rainforest.

Covid-19 in the Colombian Amazon

Scarlett was inspired to help after reading of the plight of indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon who were hit by Covid-19.  High levels of malnourishmnet a lack of basic medical equipment and no goverment aid left them in a very vulnerable situation, compounded by unemployment when tourism was halted by the virus.

“These two charities, Fénix and Natütama, are very close to my heart” explains Scarlett.

“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, helping  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.  The charity leads community-led protection of their ecosystem – especially manatees and river dolphins!

“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.”

You can still donate to Scarlett’s Just Giving Fundraising page on

Here is Scarlett’s message to all her supporters:

“Hi Everyone, I’ve completed my triathlon!! It was boiling hot (32°C) and so I began early and finished at 11:30am. First I ran 10km and watched the sunrise on route. Then my mum and I cycled 40km to lake Montbel. Luckily the lake was calm for my 1.5km swim – Dad followed me on a paddleboard. The run took 54mins, the cycle 1hr30 and the swim 29 mins. I found the triathlon challenging but I enjoyed myself and I’m proud to have done it! Thankyou all so much for sponsoring me, the money’s going to help Amazon communties hit by Covid-19. Scarlett x  

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Scarlett’s Triathlon Diary


Schoolgirl Scarlett Woods is training hard for her first ever Triathlon.  Not one to take the easy route, Scarlett has entered the tough Mountain Triathlon in the Pyrennees to raise funds for Children of Colombia's Amazon Covid-19 Appeal.

"First I’m going to do the swim in a local mountain lake (1500m), followed by the cycle (40km) and run (10km)"

Scarlett even spent her 17th birthday in the mountains preparing for the event.  Here is the latest from her training diary:

" (21/08) The baking sun, cramps, horned cattle and getting lost meant today's 7km run was quite interesting! (22&23rd) We walked 11km on the first day, starting off in cool cloud and then climbing above it, to camp in the sun by a small lake. I woke up on my birthday with Zeb smothering me, and dad snoring ridiculously loud.  If it hadn't been so early, it would've been very funny. We then walked 15km home, with amazing panoramic views."

Well done from all of us - and if you'd like to read more or help Scarlett beat her fundraising target visit her Just Giving page

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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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