Margarita Martin is the energy behind the
Colombo-American Education Foundation, "We need to educate children who
will build a future for Latin America. The solution to the drug war is to
provide educational opportunity. By educating the young people of Colombia,
they can build a life in their country and give hope to their neighbors."
Martin, who now lives
and works in Orange County, came to California on a student exchange program.
She went to school, married and settled in the United State, but never deserted
the children in need of education in her home village of Neiva, Colombia.
Martin's heart-to-heart project is deep in her ancestral heritage.
grandfather, Reinaldo Matiz, was a humanitarian and important political leader
in Colombia at the turn of the Century. Matiz founded factories, established a
newspaper, started the local postal service, and developed the first electrical
plant in his native village, just outside of Bogotá. The government of Colombia
in Neiva gives a prestigious journalism award, in his name, annually.
discovered her ancestor while reading a biography by Colombian author Jorge Alirio Rios,
commemorating the social and humanitarian accomplishments of Reinaldo Matiz.
Rios directed Martin to the Reinaldo Matiz, in Nieva, Colombia, which was named
after her grandfather. Upon arriving at the school, she remembered the plight
of Colombian children, her own difficulties in acquiring an education and the
courage and foresight of her
"Schools in Latin America are not free. Students must pay tuition of about
$760 for their education and books, said Martin. "We want to educate
children who will stay in their country and help others". Mrs. Martin
visits Colombia every year to check the academic progress of the sponsored
children. Her good will mission creates an important link between Colombia and
the United States. Martin believes that if she raises the annual tuition funds
to pay for deserving students, she would create a bright future for the
children of Colombia.
CAEF extends scholarships to
the students of the Reinaldo Matiz Trujillo-Boys & Girls Club at the Orphanage
“Casa del Nino” in Neiva, Colombia helping hundreds of children of low economic
means. The Orphanage has 300 students with teachers and professional assistance.
In September 2009, Rotary member and President of the Colombo-American
Education Foundation Margarita Martin (born in Bogota, Colombia and resident of
Laguna Beach) spent six weeks in Neiva, Colombia, developing the first after
school program “Boys and Girls Club” – Reinaldo Matiz Trujillo” and a two computer technology classrooms. The Lab is
open to other schools and the community with the hope of teaching computer
literacy to a wider range of students. At the front door of the Computer Lab is
a marble plaque dedicated to "The Lost Children of Colombia Killed by
Violence”. The Foundation through the Boys & Girls Club after school
program plays an important role in fighting drug use and poverty through
a solid education, the streets of any town in Colombia will become a business
opportunity of drugs for a child without the basic education of reading, writing,
and math skills. This country is at the edge of succeeding, but the history of
drug wars and supplying guns for drugs has created a market of death. The guns
that are left in Colombia, as payment becomes a death sentence to those
children that are unable to break the bond of poverty through education.
It is unfortunate, but the reality is without the help of the most influential
citizens of the world, the children of Colombia will fail. Without your
assistance, the children of these small communities will end up on the streets
in the large cities working for the gang bosses that are giving guns to create
With all the billions of dollars that governments are spending on eliminating
the drug cartels, the cost of education is being ignored. If you believe as we
believe, "The most important investment is education", then we, as a
concerned group, can break the cycle that is destroying Colombia, the United
States and the world.
The Colombo-American Education Foundation is seeking funds to increase the
number of scholarships for underprivileged Colombian children, thus encouraging
and providing the means for a better life. It is through the "hope of
education" that these future leaders of Colombia will increase the value
of their communities and solidify international ties to the United State.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED...
cost to provide a scholarship for an impoverished Colombian child is $380 to
$760 a year. This includes the enrollment fee, tuition, uniforms, shoes, books,
and educational materials. The after school program “Boys & Girls Club”
Reinaldo Matiz Trujillo is presently looking for sponsors for its educational
courses such as computer technology, ,reading & writing, arts ,sewing
classes, courses in bread baking, electricity and computer maintenance.