2016 Uplifting Journeys
Colombia Itinerary Highlights

Tuesday, October 25: Opening Dinner
New travel friends got acquainted with each other and the enchanting city. 

Wednesday, October 26 through Saturday, October 29: Experience & Evaluate
Each day was a mix of workshops and site visits. Highlights included:

  • A day at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo, where exquisite craftsmanship is taught in a colonial palace.
  • A day at Bogota’s social enterprise Impact Hub to discuss social enterprise and participate in a pitch competition.
  • A day in Ciudad Bolivar, a low income neighborhood, to meet the remarkable community building organization Tiempo de Juego.
  • Encounters with Batuta and Conectando Sonrisas, which use music and magic to train at-risk youth, former child soldiers, and gang members.

Each day, we focused on one sectorial and one technical issue: 

  • Social Enterprise
  • Capacity building, advocacy, and social enterprise
  • Community building (youth empowerment)
  • Sustainability
  • Peace building and reconciliation
  • Theory of change and the strategic road map
  • Education (vocational and non-formal education)
  • Measurement & evaluation

Key “good giving” practices were discussed with local experts, including representatives from Colombia’s leading foundations and NGOs, management consultants, academics, and government officials.

The site visits put the lessons learned in context.

The Santo Domingo School of Arts and Crafts offers training and specialization opportunities to artisans and people interested in learning a trade, under a specialized pedagogical model, to preserve artisan techniques and generate alternative income to improve their living conditions.

Fundación Batuta contributes to the improvement of the quality of life of children, adolescents and young people of Colombia, through a musical training program focused on collective practice, from a perspective of social inclusion, rights and cultural diversity.

Since 2008, Tiempo de Juego has been seeking to distance children and youth from the social ills that surround them by engaging them in sports and cultural activities during their free time.  Today, over 2,500 children and youths participate in Tiempo de Juego’s transformative programs in three locations around Colombia.  The organization also operates several social enterprises – bakeries, T-shirt printing, a music studio and a hotel.

Conectando Sonrisas uses magic and performance to work with at-risk children and youths in low-income neighborhoods of Bogota.  Participants have performed all over Colombia and in New York City.


Sunday, October 30: Day of rest and reflection.
We traveled outside Bogotá to a stunning “finca” where various outdoor activities were available. The day ended at charming rural restaurant.

Monday, October 31 to Tuesday, November 1: The Internships
Participants spent two interning at local charities based on their personal interests. Each morning, they were taken on site with an interpreter to spend the day participating in programs, meeting with senior staff, and observing firsthand the management challenges. 


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Wednesday, November 2: Closing Lunch
Participants presented their findings based on their internship experiences and reconnected with fellow participants to share experiences and discuss the ways to build on this Journey and engagement from home.