Different parts of the world in one big family.
I’m Angelica Vega, born and raised in Houston, Texas in a big Colombian family, who for many years have been very close to the Foundation’s work. I pursued my college studies in Florida, and decided to go back to my country and work in a non-profit organization. For over a year now, I have been working hand in hand with Patricia Gonzalez in managing GlobalGiving, translation and administrative matters. During this year I have not only witnessed firsthand the hard work that is put in everyday to meet the needs of the children, but also, I’ve been able to meet so many of the children who have come and gone in the different programs. While working here I have also had the pleasure to meet many of the special donors, like Valerie Thompson and Vincent Dixon, Andrés Fabián Suarez, who play an important role in contributing to this cause. More importantly, I was positively struck by the number of visits by international donors, who through GlobalGiving’s quarterly reports have been informed of the progress of the work at the Foundation.
These visits were particularly special this time of the year, as in Fundación Niños de Los Andes, we have seen an exponential growth in the number of girls coming to our homes. With this being said, I noticed the special bonds our donors made with the girls, and vice versa. So far, this year in one of the programs, they have provided attention for 466 children, of which 407 are girls, indicating an 87% attention coverage for girls. Unfortunately, this only points to one thing, and in our country, it is, the alarming increase of sexual abuse cases. For many of these girls, their cases have been perpetuated from their own family members.
One afternoon, I had the chance to sit down with a large group of girls and Vincent Dixon’s daughters. During this conversation, we shared our hobbies, our dreams, places we’d like to visit and things we would like to achieve in our life. Amidst this conversation, each of the girls’ stories came up, and they bravely shared their tough past. While it is alarming to read about these horrors in statistics, it is a completely different thing to see their faces expressing their jaw-opening stories, which left Vincent’s daughters and I completely heartbroken. But through this hardship, their excitement and eagerness to achieve their dreams was left untouched. One would typically expect that these types of conversations would make visitors uncomfortable, or that it would be too difficult for the girls to share them, but for these girls and our visitors it was the opposite. Instead, they showed strength, bravery, and courage, which shined in their eyes and could be heard through their voice. They have taught me courage and within these girls I can see the courage to get past the dark past that they chose to not only leave behind, but to become a better human being and hopefully a loving mother to their children in the future.
From my time with Fundacion Ninos de los Andes, I can conclude that the Foundation has a lot of work ahead, but with everyone’s support it will become easier to achieve, so we can get better results and generate greater impact for the children in Colombia.
After working with this platform, there are not enough words to express the gratitude our Foundation feels for each one of you!
Angelica creating life-time bonds.
Celebrating 25 years of Valerie's support.
Language has no barriers.
Vincent's daughters volunteered for 2 weeks.