By Mónica Rebolledo – Ventas Molinos

I live in Bogotá and a few days ago I had the wonderful opportunity to receive Willinton and Iván, two young high-school students, into my home. Willinton studies at our ITAF in El Tambo, Cauca. Along with 38 other young people, Willinton and Ivan won a scholarship to participate in the UWC (United World Colleges) “Impulse Programme” youth encounter for Colombia.

This program unites young people from all socioeconomic situations, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, victims of forced displacement and victims of armed conflict, as well as from diverse urban and rural realities. It seeks to let them recognize and stimulate more and more, the enormous power that they have to have a positive influence on their lives and their environment, valuing their diversity, and understanding their historical moment in the construction of a new Colombia.

Sharing with these young people and accompanying them to get to know Bogotá was, for me, an opportunity to transcend barriers that arise due to differences in social, economic and cultural environments. For Ivan and Willinton, their arrival in Bogotá was the opportunity to connect with a world of possibilities. They spent 13 days in the municipality of Ráquira, in Boyacá, and through the exchange between Colombia regions and ethnicities, they realised how the realities of their lives and their paths are not very different from those of an indigenous person in  La Guajira, a Costeño from Plato Magdalena, or an islander from Providencia. Ivan and Willinton returned to their communities with another vision of the wealth of our country, with very strong bonds of friendship between them and reflecting on their role in society and the impact they have on it as individuals. This experience is a sample of what the Seeds Plan of the SK Foundation means. When we are sponsors, we are generators of opportunities for the leaders of the future. I invite you to register as sponsors by contacting the Foundation so that there may be many more stories that we can share.

Thanks to the Smurfit Kappa Foundation for allowing me to participate in the Impulse programme. I’d like you to know that this program changed my life. I want to be a good leader in the ITAF and help solve some of the problems that arise in my community. Thank you, thank you very much. – Willinton Galindes student ITAF El Tambo

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