Thousands in Colombia Lack Basic Necessities After Years of Conflict, So This Woman Delivers Water, Power and Sanitation to Those in Need
Jenifer Colpas grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia, where she was mostly unaware of the poverty in her country. After college, she moved to India for a job in information technology and became aware of the extreme social inequalities that people face.
“Something inside me (was) saying, ‘You need to do something about it,’” Colpas told CNN. So, she switched career paths and moved home to Colombia. She planted roots in Cartagena and began volunteering with community organizations that helped those living in poverty.
“I felt very saddened to see that people were living without the most basic things,” she said. “People don’t have clean drinking water, indoor plumbing, electricity.”
So, in 2015, Colpas co-founded Tierra Grata, a non-profit that provides access to clean water, solar-powered lights and electricity along with eco-toilets and showers for remote rural communities throughout Colombia.
Colpas and the Tierra Grata team now serve 35 communities and the organization’s efforts have helped improve quality of life for more than 10,000 people. The 31-year-old explained that more than 50 years of war led to Colombia becoming the country with the highest internal-displaced population in the world.
For Colpas, putting local women in leadership positions was especially important. “We are working with women because, for us, it’s very important to empower them and to re-signify their role inside the community,” she explained. “So they will be not just social leaders, but also problem-solvers.”
Colpas hopes that providing life essentials will allow people to wake up and dream, rather than survive.
Image source: CNN