Born from tragedy: The Juanfe Foundation gives mothers and babies hope and a future
Juanfe was born from tragedy to create life and hope for those who need it most.
Catalina Escobar’s life was shaded by tragedy in 2000. Her own son, 16-months old at the time, fell from an eighth-story window and died. Then, later that year, torn with her own grief and volunteering in a neonatal clinic, a 12-day-old baby died in her arms. Because the baby’s mother, a child herself in many ways, was unable to afford $30 in critical medical care for her baby.
Catalina was determined other mothers wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate. She quit her private sector job and created Juanfe – the Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation – an organization named for her own son and designed to support mothers and babies.
Based in Cartagena, Colombia, Juanfe has two main goals – to provide education to mothers, giving them a path to financial security and personal fulfillment, and to improve the health and wellness of babies even in the poorest communities.
Each year, Juanfe supports over 750 women and girls and saves over 300 babies. This one organization makes a powerful impact on the community it serves and women and children who might otherwise be overlooked. For every dollar donated to Juanfe, over 90% goes directly to help the mothers find meaningful work, gain job skills and educational opportunities. Other initiatives support vaccination and health campaigns, breastfeeding, and nutrition for babies and children.
Since its foundation, Juanfe has touched thousands of lives in uncountable ways. And the results are truly second-to-none.
- Child mortality in Cartagena, Colombia has decreased by 80%
- Over 1000 children and mothers are vaccinated each year
- Babies with cleft lips and palates receive surgery and post-operative care
- 70% of mothers have furthered their education
- 1800 children have been treated for malnutrition
- The Medical Center treated over 200,000 patients in 2018
- Over 1000 babies and toddlers have received physical and psychomotor therapy
And, in addition to the support for mothers and babies, Juanfe has also been recognized as an environmentally conscious organization. The Social Center, the Foundation’s headquarters building, was the first LEED social project in Colombia, a building that was certified by the US Green Building Council. The Social Center is focused on social development, civic education, bio-climatic standards, and respect for the ecosystem of Colombia.
With the change Juanfe was able to make in Cartagena, Escobar and her team were able to spread the work of Juanfe, with offices in Bogota, Spain, and now the US.
And these efforts have not gone unnoticed. Escobar and Juanfe have been recognized with a slate of awards, including a 2015 World of Children Humanitarian award, a silver cross National Merit Award in Colombia, a Silver LEED certification, and recognition as one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2012.
When you purchase one of my handcrafted items at Evita Mia, you too contribute to the work Juanfe does to support women and babies all over the world. 5% of each sale is donated directly to the foundation, supporting health, well-being, and education for families stuck in poverty and fear.
For more information on Juanfe, visit their website.