Santa Maria Foundation | News
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Since May, when the directors of ASOCOLFLORES visited the girls in the Foundation, they witnessed the work being done in SANTA MARIA FOUNDATION and the mission and vision of it. For this reason the foundation was chosen as a social work, to present it at the PROFLORA event. This fair was born in 1991 by the hand of ASOCOLFLORES with the aim of promoting the Colombian flowers industry inside and outside the borders. This year was held in Corferias between 04 and 06 October.

On October 05, 2017, the girls from the chamber orchestra of SANTA MARIA FOUNDATION held a concert at the Finca Lucera Rosamina in the Municipality of Tabio-Cundinamarca, for participants to this Fair. The event had international press. coverage. The journalists had the opportunity to speak with the girls and to learn  about their experiences during the years of formation that they have attended the Foundation.

We are grateful to Dr. Katheryn Mejía, Director of Social Responsibility and Family, for providing the space for this meeting to be possible, as this experience enriched the girls and the staff of the foundation in a significant way.



Under the direction of the teacher Claudia Marcela Silva, the girls’ Isabela Silva Melo and Diana Paola Galvis Guatame were enrolled at the important International Flute Festival held in the Municipality of Sopó-Cundinamarca. They managed to move to the second round with their excellent and brilliant presentation in this international tournament. We can appreciate the videos on Youtube in the following links:




Congratulations to the girls and the teacher for this important achievement that will profoundly mark their lives.


The teacher SANDRA MILENA ZABALA ECHAVARRÍA joined the Foundation to play the role of Director of the SANTA MARIA FOUNDATION Orchestra. The teacher Sandra holds a degree in music from Universidad del Valle, with extensive experience in teaching in the areas of Choral Direction, theory and orchestra direction at the juvenile and child level. We wish the teacher much success in her work at the Foundation.



ASOCOLFLORES is the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters, created in 1973 to represent, promote and strengthen the competitiveness of Colombian floriculture in its main markets and in the country. This year Santa Maria Foundation established an alliance with this company and through it we managed to have a group of girls who were daughters of the crop workers. These girls will benefit through the project of music, bilingualism and strengthening of habits and values ​​that we work with in the foundation.
We are grateful to Dr. Katheryn Mejía, Director of Social Responsibility and Family, to Dr. Cielo Camacho, Coordinator of Training and Welfare and Family, to Dr. Julian Polanco coordinator of municipal affairs, who on May 20, 2017 visited the Foundation. They knew about the mission and vision of the Santa Maria Foundation and the projects that are carried out here. They also showed us their admiration for the presentation of the chamber orchestra directed by the teacher Sandra Zabala, the choir with the direction of the teacher Paula Cárdenas and the presentation in English directed by the teacher Sonia Deighton. We have also benefited from the support they have given us.




we welcomed the volunteer Damaris Thurlemann, from Switzerland, to strengthen the processes carried out by girls through music therapy. The presence of Damaris has been of great enrichment in the strengthening of the musical and personal processes of the girls. Thank you teacher Damaris for the great work she is doing.


With feelings of immense gratitude and nostalgia we said goodbye to the teacher Sonia Deighton who accompanied the girls in their training and bilingualism education, for a year and a half. Sonia was in the foundation until June 27, 2017 and was awarded for being the teacher of greatest commitment, sense of belonging and hard work for the girls, during the year 2016. She left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of each of the girls and the people who had the fortune to share with her. Sonia returned to England to be with her family and start new projects. We wholeheartedly wish that your dreams and achievements are made and that you can continue to provide all of your strengths to the needy children and youth.

In this same month, the teacher Paola Andrea Valbuena Orozco joined the Foundation, to continue the work done by Ms. Sonia Deighton. We wish the teacher Paola much success and progress in her work with the girls of the foundation


The cellists Erika Pérez, Laura Daniela Rincón, Lina Ximena Alba, Michelle Alonso, Paula Andrea Delgado and Yeris Rivera; under the leadership and accompaniment of cello teacher Juliana Nariño López, participated in this important event that took place in the facilities of the Universidad Javeriana and Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogotá. For these girls it was a week of intense learning, musical enrichment and new experiences that left them full of enthusiasm for their future musical and personal lives. Thank you teacher Juliana for facilitating the participation of the girls in this event.



we received with great enthusiasm Sara Restrepo Quintero Maestra in music with an emphasis on flute performance, from the Javeriana University and who went on to continue the process that led the teacher Claudia Marcela Silva. Thanks to the teacher Claudia who accompanied us for a year and a half and we wish much success in the objectives proposed to the teacher Sara Restrepo.




Teacher Dorian Natalia Córdoba Pinilla Magister came to the foundation in Piano Pedagogy of the National University of Colombia. Natalia has extensive experience in instrumental piano teaching with children and adults and was a pianist at the American Wind Symphony Orchestra in the USA. Dorian Natalia will continue working on the curriculum initiated by the teacher Derly Yesenia Ahumada who has taken time off to prepare for the arrival of her first baby. We wish teacher Derly blessings on her achievement as a mother and teacher Dorian Natalia productive fruits in the continuation of these piano processes with Santa Maria Foundation girls.






The Santa Maria Foundation girls enjoyed a great life lesson through the experiences, and sharing with the older adults of the Amor House Club House. It was a mutual enrichment of two generations who, through sharing and the music offered by the girls in the musical show, verified that there is always a way for learning and understanding people of different ages. We express our sincere thanks to the manager of the Amor Club House, Paula Cortés, to all her collaborators and to Dr. Sandra Vera who helped us with the contacts so that this meeting was possible.




She entered the Foundation as a volunteer, Karenth Psychologist Margarita Jiménez López graduated from the National University of Colombia, her experience focuses on the realization of social skills workshops with children and adults, evaluation processes and clinical intervention at the individual level and family. The support work that Karenth is carrying out in the foundation has been of great help for the strengthening of the values that are developed in the foundation, especially in the area of ​​habit acquisition, reinforcement and experience of values, support and psychopedagogical group intervention, support and guidance for girls experiencing personal and family difficulties. Thanks to Karenth Margarita for her spirit of service and help to our girls.




SANTA MARIA FOUNDATION dressed as a party, hearts filled with different emotions, with the presence of the maestro César López and the Director Catalina Valencia who through the Foundation 24-0 of which they are managers, made the donation of two violins, two transverse flutes, a guitar, a male drum and a maracón.

Master Caesar gave us a great lesson in life by extolling the value of woman as an instrument of peace, love and union. The woman as support of the family and society. The empowered woman in her protective and creative role in life.


We thank for the presence of these beings of light in our foundation and in the most remote places of our country, because through the projects they develop as the Artistic Battalion of immediate reaction, The Bank of Musical Instruments, project 24-0, work day by day to bring children and adolescents out of painful situations of violence and integrate them into their artistic projects that help to heal the deep wounds left by these violent events in our beloved country Colombia.


We thank for the presence of these beings of light in our foundation and in the most remote places of our country, through the projects they develop.

Thanks to the psychologist Elizabeth Rojas Quitian who informed us about the project that develops the Foundation 24-0.




During the months of September and October 2017 the girls of the foundation, supported by their teachers have made musical samples of each class, thus showing the companions the musical advances and bilingualism that they achieved during the year 2017. Congratulations to the girls and teachers for the hard work and excellent presentations they have made.





The teacher Paula Daniela Cárdenas Director of the children’s choir of the Santa Maria Foundation has made great vocal and choral advances with the girls of the Foundation. The choir was inscribed in the “IV District Festival of Choirs” organized by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota. We wish the girls and the teacher great success in participating in this important event.






Every Saturday and with the organization and direction of the teachers Paola Valbuena and Damaris Thuerlemann of the area of ​​English, girls strengthen their bilingualism processes, through playful activities that make it more pleasant to strengthen this language as a second language.

Thanks to each of the teachers for opening these spaces of playful and dynamic learning that facilitate the process of immersion in the English language.


WELCOME TO OUR TEACHERS: Our welcome greetings to the teachers who started this year’s process at the Santa Maria Foundation. We wish that through their daily work they can help to heal and touch the lives of the girls who share this year with us. Success in your work.


Teachers English:

Pilar Salazar Jaramillo (2017)

Sonia Deighton (2016)


Musical Teachers

Orchestra Teacher:   Rocío de Bojacá Cárdenas Cifuentes (2017)

Violin Teacher  : Mariana Cabrera Cárdenas (2017)

Viola Teacher:   Venjy Alejandra Castillo Gavilán (2017)

Flute Teacher: Claudia Marcela Silva Castro (2016)

Piano Teacher:  Derly Yesenia Ahumada Bello (2017)

Cello Teacher: Juliana Nariño López (2016)

Choir Teacher:   Paula Daniela Cárdenas Jiménez (2017)



MUSICAL ANGELS from the Philharmonic

Two more angels Alex Guzman & Fabian  Penuela . Who have joined forces with us, they come from the Philharmonic . They Bring expertise, talent, wisdom to us. what a gift! They have helped help further the girls reach in music, invested time and effort to help feed us guidance with our teacher selection process, the ingredients needed to ensure our curriculum is taught to the highest in musical standards and more. We are ever so grateful and know this will be a great stepping stone for us and a great encouragement for the girls future. Thank you and hope stay with us through our journey.

English Volunteer: We welcome our English native speaker Jennifer  who will be volunteering with us for 3 months. Enjoy Your stay!!! Inspire Inspire.


Elizabeth – New Administrator As you know our new administrator Elizabeth Rodriguez   joined us last year, she has settled well into her new role, we have renovated her working space and she now has a  lovely large comfortable place to live .  Thank You Elizabeth for all your hard work.


The best teacher of the year  2016:   Sonia Deighton: Congratulations !! Our wonderful English teacher Sonia Deighton from the UK has been with us for over a year now. WOW she has been a huge drop in the ocean for the girls.  We were confident and  knew her shining soul would take the girls to new heights, and it has. We are well aware its not easy stepping into our girls shoes who all come from such a vast background of violence, pain, suffering and to be able to give them hope, confidence and trust is something that needs to be gained. Sonia has used her amazing empathetic way to approach all matters of teaching in the most humanistic manner.


The girls grammar, written and spoken English has reached great heights and much more confident. Sonia also wanted to increase their awareness to better health and wellness, she created a way to teach the girls to be involved in breathing and stretching exercises as a result it has made them more active, learn better and play better Sonia thank you and I hope you will stay and travel on our journey with us.






*Peter Mowland Prize- Christmas Congratulations:

Every Christmas we gift 2 well performing girls a gift a musical instrument for their achievements and skill. Well done to  Laura Juliana Rodriguez  and Luisa Fernanda Parra.





*Annual Maintenance: Recent government regulatory means allot more health and safety maintenance had to be carried out. Regular in depth cleaning and decorating and general maintenance of the school is on going.  As as expressed in our last letter, our orchestra has grown and we completed a bigger stage for the girls to perform on and built a larger room  for our Administrator –Elizabeth Rodriguez .  The improvement has helped the security and environment for the school and her.
*Lady Yamora joined the girls in December and remained in Colombia working closely with the girls and staff, creating more opportunities and improving the infrastructure and facilities at Santa Maria head quarters which you will read below.


*Christmas at Santa Maria – Lady Yamora and Peter’s annual visit: As you know its that time of the year the girls look forward to , they practise and practice away. Putting on an amazing concert for all the teachers, Lady and Sir Peter. The more they play the better they get. their smiles and passion transform into a musical notes to fall in love with. Our hearts fill with tears of joy for we are ever so proud of them.  Christmas is a very special time for all at the foundation like any other celebration.




Winter 2016 -2017

*November 2016 ‘2nd Up’ Pre-Screening held at ‘Face of Colombia held at Art Bermondsey Project Space:

‘The Face of Colombia’ launched by Yvonne Velasquez and her team  very kindly allowed us to share a night to host our a pre-screening of ‘2nd Up’ a documentary that Lorena Cervera has invested her time into.Big Thank You to  Yvonne Velasquez and the organisers of the ‘Face of Colombia’ for giving us this opportunity.




Expo Oportunides16′

*We had the amazing opportunity to exhibit at ‘Expo Oportunides16’ for all Colombian communities, we were able to share our stories with Latin American leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs in the UK. Thank you to Juan Lemes for helping and on the day .





Lorena’s Documentary 

*Lorena Cervantes  also returned to Colombia to stay with the girls to help delve deeper into their every day lives.  Big Thank You once again to Steve Digva for contributing to the creation of this film, Thank you to Lorena keep up the good work. You are a huge inspiration for us and eagerly await the next screening.



Sumer 2016

*Concerts performed locally: The girls have ventured out into local schools in Chia to perform at GIMNASIO IRAGUA, COLEGIO SAN JOSÉ DE CALASANZ, COLEGIO JORBALÁN .thank you to all the schools that have
graciously invited us.

05 Apr February . Visit from Christopher – Director at British Council

In February we had a visit form Christopher And Aida from the directors at British council they were extremely thrilled and proud to see the improvement the girls had made at the Santa Maria. They have been very kind enough to help us with the English curriculum and will assist us with attending seminars for music and then feed back to us. This will ensure our teaching curriculum is delivered to a high standard.  A very big Thank you to the British Council.

Peter and Lady got back to London in March and are focusing on fund raising activities at the moment applying for grants and looking at ways to create more awareness. As the girls grow the more we work to secure their present and future.chrisrawlings

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05 Apr January 2016 -New Administrator / Elizabeth Rodriguez

We have been looking for a new admistrator to help at the Santa Maria foundation, the previous member Miriam  has to leave us due to medical reasons. Miriam has been an amazing functioning of Santa Maria Foundation and we will miss her deeply and wish her all the best for the future.

We managed to find an excellent administrator, her name is Elizabeth mature lady , she comes with a huge journey of experience, working in schools and with children so has a very professional and empathetic approach to her role, which has been demonstrated to us. We conducted a 3 stage interview where Lady and Beatrice Interviewed the candidates then Peter and finally a meeting with the girls and staff of the foundation where the girls gave us feedback. We wanted to ensure that the girls , staff and founders are happy working with our new member. So welcome Elizabeth to the Santa Maria Family.


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05 Apr 17th January 2016 – Arrival of Our New English Teacher

Sonia our English teacher started on 17t January 2016, we picked her up from the airport in Bogota  and took her to Beatrice’s our director home in Chia . She is full of energy, very enthusiastic and a ray of sunshine for the girls. We are looking forward to her starting with us and the girls can’t wait! We wish Sonia a wonderful stay and teaching experience is great inspiration to the Santa Maria Foundation girls. Keep your ears and eyes open for messages in English from the girls J

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05 Apr School Annual Maintenance by Peter Mowland

As you know we carry out our regular health and safety annual maintain ace checks needed for compliances, cleaning and decorating and general maintenance of the school. Peter & Lady have started putting in place improvements and changes to the Foundation.  Our Orchestra has grown so we are building a bigger stage. We needed to improve on safety and security aspects of the Foundation . The entrance was a little unsafe so we made a new doors, better entrance, secure the sign all these changes will help create a safer environment.

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05 Apr December 2015 – Lady Yomara & Peters Annual Visit and Wonderful Christmas

xmas 2
Peter and Lady Yomara prepared of their annual visit to Colombia. As always doing their best to gather as much as they can for the girls. Colin Bucher and anonymous donor  very kindly donated 2 violins for the girls which the girls were thrilled to receive. Thank You!

When Peter & Lady Yomara arrived in Colombia mid-December. The girls put a show stopping welcoming performance and at the same time we celebrate Christmas with games and lovely presents to them   . Peter & Lady overwhelmed with tears of happiness . The effort and dedication they put into the rehearsals shows us the willingness, passion they put into creating such a performance. A truly proud moment for us. As they learn and get better and better we are trying to plan a trip for the girls to travel to the UK in the next 2 years and perform in London. This will be such a life changing experience for the girls and will create a stepping stone to achieving more and no doubt will be extremely inspiring for them.


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05 Apr English Teacher. Sonia Deighton

We have been looking for a professional English teacher to inspire and motivate our girls in Colombia. We posted adverts and after careful selection we narrowed it down to 2 finalists. One form France and one from the UK, after a tough section process Sonia Deighton from the UK was selected, we would like to Congratulate her and Welcome her to the Santa Maria Family. We know she will be a huge inspiration to our girls taking them to great heights of learning and self-development

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05 Apr November 2015. Documentary


Amazing Lorena Cervera spent 3 months in Colombia filming the daily life of the girls at Santa Maria Foundation.  The visit inspired her to create a documentary. We created a crowd funded to raise £2800 and we manged to raise £540. We had the support from our wonderful donor and member of the Santa Maria Family , Steve Digva who donated the rest of the money to create this amazing documentary. Thank you so much !!This film will benefit our Santa Maria girls and empower girls around the world. It will inspire generations to come. It will show our donors how well the girls have grown and developed through our vision.

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30 Sep Colombian Girls Documentary


My name is Lorena Cervera and I am the director of this documentary.


Recently I spent three months in Colombia, filming the daily life of 74 girls who attend the school funded by the Santa Maria Foundation near Bogota, which teaches Classical Music, Fine Arts, and English in order to equip them with skills that will hopefully help to improve their future. These young girls come from very unprivileged backgrounds but they have dreams and ambitions. They are the reason why we believe so strongly in this film, and want to share their strengths and courage with you.

Colombian Girls is a short documentary about the personal experiences and ambitions of some of those 74 Colombian girls whose life has changed thanks to the school. It witnesses the power of education to change the world. It aims to raise awareness about 59 million children worldwide who cannot go to school.

For me, portraying the lives of these girls is not only a matter of making a documentary, it is a long-term commitment to them. The Santa Maria Foundation is helping them by teaching them. I want to help them by making their story visible, by raising awareness about their situation, and hopefully contributing to improving  their life the best way I can. The long-term project will involve going back and filming again every 24 months in order to follow the girls as they grew up and seeing the impact that the school has in their lives.

Educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation, yet millions of girls aren’t in school.


We need to raise £2,800 for:

–  Editing, Postproduction, and Distribution of the Short Documentary

–  Go back to Colombia in 2016 and follow up the story of the girls

With any creative project, we need financial resources to complete the process. Our goal is to raise £2,800. That money will go directly to covering costs such as writing, editing & post-production, music, copies and distribution for the short documentary; and transportation, camera equipment, and shooting expenses for the feature-length documentary.

My deepest thanks in advance for your contribution & support of this documentary. If you are unable to give financially, no worries, SHARING this with your FRIENDS makes all the difference!

INDIEGOGO – Colombian Girls <>

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21 Oct The Royal Visit to Colombia. Charles, Prince of Wales

Royal Visit – Lady is heading out to Colombia in preparation of the visit by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The girls of the Santa Maria Foundation will  get to meet these VVIP’s as part of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the British Council in Colombia. We are so very very delighted and privileged to have this opportunity and we are deeply grateful for the support we have from the British Council in Bogota and its Country Director, Chris Rawling for it is because of him this is happening.

For this reason and the work that has been ongoing with the British Council, Chris is our Hero of the Month, read his biography on our website. Thank you Chris!

charles kjh

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21 Oct Documentary Filming

Lorena Cervera will be filming a documentary following the visit and has already been to visit the Santa Maria Foundation school. We are looking forward to seeing the finished film and hope to be able to share it with you on our website once it has been released.

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