My first time back in Colombia since COVID-19 struck
by Dag Blokkum, Executive Director, Conviventia
Upon my arrival in Cartagena, I went to visit my dear friend Guillermo Ramirez, who is also the dedicated principal of Conviventia’s God is Love school in this city. The God is Love schools are located in Colombia’s most vulnerable communities, serving children and families through holistic, Christian education and empowering them out of poverty. Guillermo took me to the school, where I had the privilege of visiting every classroom and talking to the students. A fifth-grader saw me walk into his class and immediately asked me “are you a sponsor?” to which I replied, “as a matter of fact, I am!”
Conviventia’s Friends of Hope sponsors help cover tuition and operational costs at our schools, ensuring we can continue serving these precious students. This child continued to tell me all about how awesome his sponsors are, and soon after, the rest of the students in the room chimed in to say the same.
Sponsors are a beautiful example of God’s love for these children, because it shows them that someone across the globe who doesn’t owe them anything, believes in, supports, and loves them. Before I left the classroom, the kids told me many students at the school still have not been sponsored and asked me to help. This reminded me how important the outreach we do on their behalf here in the United States really is.
As we continued our walk through school grounds, Guillermo explained how during this pandemic they’ve had to offer a mix of virtual and in-person classes, but it has been very challenging because the school and its staff don’t have the necessary technology equipment to work in this hybrid education model. Guillermo highlighted that this wasn’t the only challenge the pandemic brought, he is also worried about not being able to make payroll for the teachers this December. This is due to the fact that many families in the region were forced to move away during the pandemic to search for economic opportunities after the tourism industry collapsed, meaning there are only around 350 students enrolled this year (compared to the standard 500), but operational costs are just as high.
I knew upon coming back to Texas I would work on four things:
- Raise funds to bring updated computers, tablets, and more, for the students to be successful in today’s tech-reliant world. We are only $22K short now of the $172K needed!! AND we have a donor that will match dollar for dollar of the remaining needs! See the status here! God is so amazingly good.
- Bring a team to work alongside Guillermo to get the school ready for next year. This construction mission trip will take place January 22nd-February 5th. Please register here if interested in joining us there.
- Hold a gala event this November 16th to raise $50K to help Cartagena’s teachers finish this school year strong and have a bit extra for Christmas. Please check out the event here.
- Grow our Friends of Hope program. To sponsor a child for $36 a month, please check it out here
Friends, this is only a snippet! Please click here to read the full article on Katy Christian Magazine.