Dear Friends of Colombia,
Friends of Colombia has had a great year! Colombia RPCVs are active and committed. Our country contingent was the largest at the Peace Corps Connect conference in San Francisco this past June. FOC representatives attended the 25th anniversary celebration of Peace Corps in Colombia (20 years: 1961-1981 plus 5 years 2010-2015) held in Barranquilla, and here in Washington, DC we celebrated the occasion at the Colombian Embassy. Best of all, your support has enabled FOC to contribute $9,000 to worthy development projects in Colombia this year.
It is through your efforts and contributions that we have impacted development in Colombia. Over the years, we have donated nearly $200,000. Here are some of the ways you can help us fund the following projects in 2016.
Paso a Paso
You can contribute to scholarships for three students who will be graduating from high school due to the success of the Paso a Paso project, which was initiated by Friends of Colombia in 2007. Thirty-five children received school uniforms, sport and school shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and enrollment fees covered by this program in 2015. These students also received tutoring by the college students in the Magdalena Foundation program. Since the initiation of the program, six Paso a Paso students qualified for college scholarships and graduated from college. You can see photos of the students on the website magdalenafoundation.org; go to Activities and Photo Gallery, click on Awards January 2015.
The Colombia Project
You can contribute to one of the micro-loans offered to individuals affected by the violence in Colombia; they need a source of income by creating a small business in their community. The average loan size is $208. Funds are needed for loans in Cartago, which is adjacent to Manizales and Villa Maria, close to Pereira. For more information, go to colombiaproject.org.
The Marina Orth Foundation
You can help transition the One Laptop per Child program into three new schools in El Carmen de Viboral, adding 1,000 more students to its program. The Foundation currently works in five schools with hopes of expanding into the Choco. The Foundation’s educational model supports English language and technology instruction as well as leadership training. See marinaorthfoundation.org for more information.
NEW THIS YEAR: Peace Corps Volunteer Project Fund
Now that Peace Corps has returned to Colombia, we have started a fund to provide seed money for Peace Corps Volunteer projects. In coordination with Peace Corps Headquarters, a volunteer may apply for a small grant from FOC. You might recall a project you would have started if a little support had been available. Now you can lend a hand to a current volunteer.
IMPORTANT: We cannot sustain our commitment to Colombia without you. Please renew your membership January 1, our new membership renewal date, and please keep us up to date on your email address and snail mail address. Please see the enclosed membership/donation form or go to our website www.friendsofcolombia.org where you can use PayPal to pay your dues and/or make a donation to FOC projects.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a bright New Year.
Arleen Stewart Cheston
President, Friends of Colombia