Honoree Spotlight

An Unforgettable Day in Cartagena, Colombia

In March 2016, World of Children Founders Harry and Kay Leibowitz and World of Children supporters are visiting three World of Children Honorees to observe their work first-hand and see how your donations have made a difference in the lives of children. World of Children Celebrity Ambassador Stephanie March joined them for the first two legs of their journey.

Third Stop – Cartagena, Colombia, to learn more about Catalina Escobar’s work empowering teenage mothers and providing medical care for their children

Last week, we shared the work of Catalina Escobar, a social entrepreneur in Cartagena, Colombia whom we honored with our 2015 World of Children Humanitarian Award. And last week we were lucky enough to visit her in Colombia. We were completely blown away by the day we spent meeting the young women and the children at her Juanfe Foundation. We could not be more proud to be supporting such a worthwhile organization and the amazing hero who is leading it forward.

Our day began with a visit to some of the mothers and children who live in the outskirts of Cartagena in some of the worst barrios in the city. We spent time getting to know them and learning more about their lives. It was wonderful to talk to the mothers about their hopes and dreams and learn how Juanfe Foundation is helping them build better lives for their children.

Mary with children in barrio
Supporter MaryLynn Weitzen with children
Kay and little boy
Co-Founder Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz shares a happy moment with one of the children

Thanks to our wonderful partner Molten, we were able to spread a few smiles with gifts of soccer balls. We were also able to provide some of the children with clothes, sandals, and school supplies.

Girl with molten soccer ball
World of Children Founders Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz and Harry Leibowitz provide gifts for some of the children

Next we visited the daycare program at Juanfe Foundation. Juanfe provides daycare for the infant children of the teenage mothers in their programs so the mothers can attend school and learn vocational skills without having to worry about paying for childcare. The program provides an amazing environment for the children to learn and grow and helps ensure they reach crucial developmental milestones.

babies collage
From top, World of Children supporters MaryLynn Weitzen, Larry Weitzen, Cate Caldwell, and Co-Founder Harry Leibowitz play with the infants in the daycare program.

We had an opportunity to see the skills training programs Juanfe provides to young mothers – we had lots of fun sampling baked goodies and seeing how the girls practice their cosmetology skills with one another.

vocational school collage
World of Children supporter Cate Caldwell gets ready to try some of the delicious food the Juanfe culinary students cooked up for us!

It was amazing to see Catalina interact with the girls. It was clear they all trusted and respected her. It’s amazing how one person can touch so many young lives.

Catalina sitting with girls Mom and baby with group of girls in backgroun

Before we left, the girls invited Co-Founders Kay and Harry Leibowitz to join them for a “selfie” to commemorate the day.

Catalina selfie with group of girls 2

We are incredibly grateful to Catalina, Juanfe Foundation, and all the young women and children we met for allowing us to spend an unforgettable day with them. To learn more about this amazing program, read our previous blogs: Teenage Mothers and Their Children in Cartagena Face Immense Challenges – Catalina Escobar Is Dedicating Her Life to Helping Them and Isaac and Maria Become Part of the Juanfe Family

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