Rural coastal areas of Colombia such as Chocó on Colombia’s Pacific coast, or the arid La Guajira region on Colombia’s Atlantic costa near the Venezuelan border are known for often being neglected and forgotten by Colombia’s central government in Bogotá. But while the country convulses from nationwide strikes and unrest this week, there is some good news to report:
Major Colombian brands such as Totto (backpacks and luggage), Nosotras (feminine hygiene) and low-cost airline Viva Air’s nonprofit organization, the Viva Air Foundation have joined forces in coordination with Colombia’s Ministry of Education to deliver and donate 3,502 school supply kits, 500 feminine hygiene kits, and 1,000 backpacks, to youngsters in the Colombian department of La Guajira, within the framework of the Colombian government’s “Teaming Up for Education” strategy.
La Guajira is home to several of Colombia’s most well-known indigenous groups such as the Wayúu, Kogui, and Arhuaco people, still with us today. Breathtakingly beautiful, much of the area is challenged ecologically with an arid, almost desert climate, and socially due to its relatively remote location bordering Venezuela, making it an attractive area for smugglers, brigands, and insurgents. The region has undeniably suffered from a lack of attention or investment from Colombia’s central government, making support from the private sector even more crucial.
The donations were transported on three Viva Air flights that took off from the airline’s main headquarters in the Medellín suburb of Rionegro and from the Colombian capital of Bogotá to the La Guajira capital of Riohacha on April 14, 15 and 16. Slightly more than 4,500 care packages were officially consigned by the Colombian Vice Minister of Education, Constanza Alarcón, and representatives of the Viva Air Foundation to 11 schools in the municipalities of Dibulla, Manaure and Riohacha, with the aim of improving the living conditions of La Guajira youth, and empowering them to continue their educational trajectory.
“Being part of this project led by the Ministry of Education fills us with pride, because together we are changing the future of children and adolescents in Colombia. The initiatives of the Viva Air Foundation are focused on the well-being of vulnerable populations and the construction of community spaces for education; and being part of this strategy, we are achieving this objective. At Viva we are teaming up for education together with public and private entities that have the same goal: to guarantee education for those who need it most,” said Mónica Gil, CEO of the Viva Air Foundation.
These deliveries will directly benefit young residents of the municipalities of Dibulla, Manaure and Riohacha, so that they can overcome the challenge of acquiring school supplies in these rural, often isolated areas.