A New Beginning for 71 families in Colombia

by Corporacion Interactuar
Vetted
Learning how to better exhibit products
Learning how to better exhibit products

Dear donor,

 

The Interactuar team and the families from Los Medios thank you for all your support. After more than 3 years raising money with your generous donations, we have totally funded the project for Los Medios. With your help we have played a major role in improving the production of panela and fostering an integral development of the community.

On the 29th of august, we had the closure event of the project with more than 200 attendants, among children, teenagers, adults and elders from the community of Los Medios. The youngsters from the school performed various type of dances, gave band performances and the products made by the people of the community were on the display. The committee of the store, where the products of the community are commercialized, offered typical food and sold its own products, giving the chance to the habitants of the place to evidence the administrative and commercial change experienced by the people in charge of the store. All thanks to your monetary support, because through your help they got consultancy sessions on:

-       Exhibition of products

-       Administrative organization, where the roles were well defined and assumed with responsibility

-       Transparent accountability reports

-       Rotation of products

Between mid-May and August, didactic games were donated to the school. It helped the students in fostering their educational processes, and strengthening their cognitive, cultural and social skills as a result.

Other than that, the store was supported through the improvement of its internal regulation, training on administrative and accounting software management. Different types of material for the internal and external beautification of the infrastructure were also provided to increase the reach of the business.

After all the resources we received for this cause have been put in the good of our beneficiaries, the life cycle of this project has reached to an end. As we are deactivating this project, we have already started finding new ways to spread happiness among the people that is the core reason for the existence of our organization.

Every report, picture and video shows how our entrepreneurs benefited from your help and how it changed their lives. Nothing would have been possible without your big heart and support, you are a true Hero. 

Thank you for spreading development, love and happiness!!!


Best,

Marcela

Displaying the products of the community
Displaying the products of the community
Didactic games for the school
Didactic games for the school
Food for the soul!
Food for the soul!
Building Life Projects
Building Life Projects
Empowering the teenagers
Empowering the teenagers
Dear donor,
 
The Interactuar team and the families from Los Medios thank you for your support. When we sent the last report we were analyzing the social situation of the community to see how else we could help them in terms of collective cohesion and social inclusion.
 
People from Los Medios expressed the necessity to work with high school teenagers, as the elders think it is time to start delegating responsibilities to the new generations. They want teenagers to get trained and use all their potential and knowledge in the progress of their community. In order to achieve this goal,the elders play an important role by showing teenagers the action plans and the team work  structures they have, so they can start believing in the community and orientate their professions and future plans in supporting the social and economic development of their community.
 
Looking forward to have empowered teenagers participating in the construction of a stronger community, we have developed a social intervention with real cases and field activities. A  social consultant from our organization is running these activities every week with our potential builders of development for Los Medios.   
 
We will keep innovating new ideas to meet the goal of generating an integral development for Los Medios, and will surely keep you informed of our advancements!!!
Regards,
Marcela
Feeding raw sugar cane into the machines
Feeding raw sugar cane into the machines

Dear donor,

The Interactuar team and the families from Los Medios thank you for your support. Some of the gifts we have received are already helping entrepreneurs involved in the project to move forward.

Families living in Los Medios have organized the community in various committees in order to take care of the good activity of the school, church, nutrition, law, economic and social issues in the village. The production of panela works better and thanks to your generous donations, the manufacturers have professional equipment to work in a safe environment and produce a qualitative 100% natural product. The Los Medios community commercializes panela to the Granada market, the closest municipality, increasing the confidence level in the local economic activity. As the production of panela is the main financial resource that brings income to the families in the village.

The focus now is to analyze the current social situation of the community to see how else we can help them in terms of collective cohesion and social inclusion to generate an integral development. The Los Medios community has come a long way thanks to your support. And it can go further with your help. The project is ongoing and we invite you to make a gift at your choice, by selecting a donation option here.

Dear Donors,

The end of this year and the start of the next will bring great opportunity for the community of Los Medios.

As you know, their struggle has been to return to their village after being violently displaced during the period of extreme violence in the municipality of Granada. The elder generation of the community, of whom the majority are illiterate, are aiming to ensure sustainability and also ensure that their culture and traditions are maintained through the generations.

Interactuar, in collaboration with the Department of Social Prosperity and the Bavaria Foundation have been supporting the Los Medios Community Group in creating and maintaining a village shop, savings fund and school, all of which promote self reliance and sustainability in the village.

Now for the very important bit. Since our last project report, through the usage of our new personal fundraising campaigns, we have raised $436.60!! That translates to nearly 1.5m Colombian Pesos. In a community where people are asking for loans as small as 100,000 pesos for agricultural goods, this amount of money will go further than you can imagine.

With this money we will be able to continue supporting the already excellent work that has been taking place in the community so far. The village shop will be more profitable, as we are able to impart more sophisticated business management knowledge to the administrators, the savings fund will become more effective as the committee learn more accountancy skills and the children of the village will be better educated as the increased community income will allow reforms to be made to the school house.

All in all, your donations are making the tiny community much more sustainable. You are helping give them a future that would otherwise not be possible. In their history of pain and death and abandonment, you are giving them an opportunity to grow and thrive.

We will, of course, keep you updated on our progress into the new year.

Until then, we in the Together for Colombia team wish you all the happiness and prosperity for the coming Christmas and New Year period.

As always, from us and from the inhabitants of Los Medios, thank you for your hugely generous donations.

With warmest regards,

Los Medios Church
Los Medios Church
Old and new committee members
Old and new committee members' meeting

For rural subsistence farmers time is a precious commodity. Waking up long before dawn and resting long after dusk, doing back-breaking work for 15 hours a day, to earn just enough money to sustain themselves and their families, is an unfortunate norm. Despite this, we were incredibly lucky to have inspired 12 rural villagers to gift to us some of their most rare commodity - time.

Our latest visit to Los Medios was one of the most exciting yet. We were invited to attend the handover and first basic training session for two new community committees. The two committees are responsible for the management and day-to-day running of the Community shop and Community Savings Fund.

Both the shop and the savings fund are projects that are jointly run and administered by the Department for Social Prosperity, The Bavaria Foundation and Corporacion Interactuar.

The shop is part of a network of local, rural shops that jointly are known as ‘Tiendas de Paz’ or Peace Shops. The idea of the Tiendas de Paz project is to incentivise persons violently displaced from their homes to return to the land that was once theirs. The idea is also that with a village shop, the community will not only be able to restart their lives in their native villages, but will be able to become and remain self-sufficient. Farmers from the village and surrounding areas are encouraged to bring their produce to the shop, to be distributed both in the village and throughout the surrounding Tiendas de Paz network. More than just aid, this project is about empowerment and autonomy.  

The Community Savings Fund is an assembly and committee managed pot of savings, that are released, up to $1m pesos (roughly USD350) per loan, to support local, rural production projects. The money is loaned at a low interest rate solely to inhabitants of the village who need capital for any kind of agricultural production project, for example - to buy higher quality feed for animals, or to buy new machinery to be used in the production of panela (unrefined cane sugar). Loan requests are approved or denied by a committee, based on a number of factors. The Fund is again aimed at promoting self sufficiency in Los Medios and encourages campesinos (country people) to look for and capitalise on opportunities they face in their working lives.

The handover process, which took place in an empty classroom in the Los Medios school, was quite chaotic and very loud. Both old and new committee members were vying for their voices to be heard as they expressed the trials and tribulations they face, as well as the successes and pride they felt in themselves and in their community.

We were able to identify various points of weakness and difficulties faced by the committees, varying from inaccurate bookkeeping, to gaps in technical knowledge for the computer software used in the shop, to hesitance to standardise and commercialise agricultural products for wider distribution outside the Tiendas de Paz network. To address these issues, we have arranged a series of training sessions and hands-on workshops funded by your donations, that will allow the new committee members to develop their theoretical skills in real-life situations. We are also in the process of doing an agricultural assessment of produce in the area, to determine the scope for transformation of agricultural goods into higher value products - for example transforming raw block panela (unrefined cane sugar) into a ground or powdered version, which would demand a higher price when sold.

Despite the skills gaps, the community is improving rapidly. The proof was all around the village and became glaringly evident, as I said at the beginning of my report, with the arrival of every single one of the committee members.

What the inhabitants of Los Medios lack in financial or business skills and discipline, they make up for in enthusiasm and determination. They are determined to push through a change in their community which will allow economic and familial security to become a long term reality and they are determined to learn new skills to do this. We at Together for Colombia are determined, with your help, to continue to help make this a real possibility and we are sure you are too!

As ever, we and the inhabitants of Los Medios are eternally grateful for all that you have given so far.

To read the latest blog entry on our visit to Los Medios, or to get in touch with any questions or comments, please visit our website at www.togetherforcolombia.com.

Until next time…!

The Tiendas de Paz Community Shop
The Tiendas de Paz Community Shop
The New Committee!
The New Committee!
 

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Organization Information

Corporacion Interactuar

Project Leader:
Marcela Marin
Medellin, Antioquia Colombia

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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