FANDIC Rural Program wins first prize

Fandic has now grown to three sites: Fandic North (the traditional site), Fandic Rural program (added last year), and Fandic South (added this year). They have three separate therapy teams for the three programs.

A competition is held by the Municipal Disability Program on an annual basis to display the work done by organizations receiving municipal contracts. The presentations are judged, and the news is that Fandic’s presentation of the rural program won first prize!

Fandic Rural team display their prize certificate.

Therapists in the rural program travel one to two hours over unpaved roads to reach 3-4 families. Because the roads are inappropriate for the van, Fandic uses a rented car. Therapist of the various professions rotate through so each family receives attention from each profession. There are 30 families in the rural program, all identified by the Municipal Disability Program as needing attention. The therapists in the rural program speak of their love for this program as do the families who benefit.

The winning video is of a girl called Salome. She is five years old, has a physical disability and is in preschool. In the video, Salome engages in activities with various professionals.

Congratulations to Fandic Rural program!

Multi-sectoral cooperation brings water filters to isolated areas

Cooperation Colombian and Canadian organizations plus local leadership are all important as the picture below exemplifies. The project presented below was a pilot project funded by CAPD, Rotary clubs and the Catholic Christian Institute for Farmer Promotion for approximately 60 filters this year.

You will recognize Bob from CAPD. On his left is Elver Vargas from the Department of Health of Santander who came along to learn more about the safe water initiative. Ivan Castro, FRPG project implementer, stands next to Luis Antonio Durán, President of the Water Board for the village of Mérida and community representative to the Board of ICPROC or Christian Institute for Farmer Promotion. On the far right are Alirio Medina, filter installer, and his wife, Doña María, who has a filter in her home.

Some of the houses with filters were very remote requiring a walk in mountainous and forested areas.

Bob comments that running a filter project in the mountains makes filter installation and follow-up that much more difficult. In fact, some of the terrain was so mountainous that the best way to deliver filters was through a cable as seen in the video below.

Elver, as his role in the Secretariat of Health for Santander, is keenly interested in these filters and listens intently to Ivan’s explanations. Ivan would like to link the Secretariat in the second phase of the project to do water testing as part of the implementation of Colombia’s rural water policy.

Personal testimony of the impact of the filter on family life is provided by Doña María.
Yasmin and Sergio, homeowners of a filter, talk about using unfiltered water before and the difference the filter has made. Elver speaks about the importance involving multi-sector organizations such as churches, Community Action Boards, Aqueduct Boards, Rotary Clubs and FRPG, among others.

There is a plan afoot to to expand the number of beneficiaries, implementing 30 additional filters in other villages of the municipality of San Vicente de Chucurí and 45 more in the rural area of the municipality of Carmen de Chucurí. To this end, a meeting with the Bishop of the Diocese of Barrancabermeja and Father Jairo Alberto Rave, the Director of ICPROC, was held.

The team poses at the end of the meeting. From left to right they are, María Isabel (Community Coordinator and ICPROC official), Iván Castro (FRPG Co-Director and Project Coordinator), Elver Vargas (Representative Departmental Secretary of Health of Santander), Marlene Wiens (CAPD Representative), Father Jairo Alberto Rave (Director of ICPROC), Bob Wiens (CAPD Representative and Calgary Stampede Rotary Club  Park), and Luis Antonio Durán (President of the JAC and Representative of the community on the ICPROC Board of Directors).

Isidoro, The Chocolate Man

Isidoro Caballero with Sara his salesperson on the left, and Claudia his chocolatier on the right.

Some of you may remember the blog written in May1, 2018 about Isidoro, a man with vision. His business is Chocolates Caballero located in San Vincente de Chucurí, Santander. He has made a lot of progress since 2018. His products are now registered with the Colombian National Institute for Drug and Food Surveillance IMVIMA and being sold to distributors, chocolatiers, and supermarkets, as well as to local customers. My favourite products are the ones held by Isidoro – powdered chocolate and chocolate in balls, both for making hot chocolate.

I admire Isidoro because of his resolve to look for solutions. He did not give up despite setbacks such as the pandemic that killed business in his previous store front. His present location is next to the main plaza and is shared with two other complimentary businesses thus reducing operational costs.

Isidoro, Bob, and Marlene in front of a 3-D painting of a cocoa bean painted on his factory wall.

Isidoro is in the process of acquiring a “Green Product” designation and has made connections with larger companies to help him to market his product.

As to sustainability, Isidoro welcomes his two daughters, Marcela and Gennifer, to take on roles as business administrator and financial manager.

Please read the blog posted on May 1, 2018, to learn more about Isidoro’s early life and how he overcame the odds.

Promotional Details:

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Cra. 27 No. 7-03 – Yariguies 2

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Impact of the Green Light Program

Meet Briceida and Karol, a mother and daughter team.

Briceida became a facilitator for Green Light when Karol was 10 years old and in grade five. The year was 2010, the first year of the program. Even though the two available spots in the program went to her younger sisters, Karol was greatly influenced by the program’s training on her mother.

Her mother became her role model. She witnessed how the training her mother received as facilitator empowered her and how she became more self-confident. Karol says that her mom changed her way of thinking and the way in which she viewed the world. As a facilitator, her mother was able to engage the part of her that always wanted to be a teacher. She felt fulfilled by her work with students, families, and community.  

Karol began working toward her own future at age 15 with a part-time job. She says she admired Rocio, the Green Light Coordinator, and the work Rocio was doing with the community. She realized that she also wanted to work with the community.

Karol is now in her last semester of Social Work at the Santander Industrial University (UIS) and is completing her practice requirements with the Green Light program in her home community of Los Santos. Her role is to provide community training in the various projects and to strengthen the facilitators through supportive activities. Her specific project is to bring awareness to environmental issues such as protection of water sources and recuperation of public spaces such as schools. Her goal is to follow in Rocio’s footsteps and work with communities following university graduation.

This story is just one example of the impact the Green Light program has on students, facilitators, and families.