Who are we?
Mariposas Amarillas ('yellow butterflies' in Spanish) is a small Colombian grassroots organization committed to supporting disadvantaged children and families around Santa Marta, Colombia. We provide services (education, workshops, recreation), supplies and information on nutrition, education, and childcare to families in Santa Marta’s under-served neighbourhoods.
The foundation continues to grow, but we need your help! We are always looking for international and local volunteers to teach our after-school classes or work on our social programs, which include literacy and English classes for adults, health workshops and sex education. We are also always in need of volunteers to help with marketing, publicity, social media and fundraising.
Many of the photos featured on our website were shot by the talented photographer, James Griesedieck. You can contact James at: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook
You can find our most recent photos and projects on our Facebook page!
We are also always very much in need of donations. Donations of as little as $10 USD can help us purchase school supplies, building materials or health support resources for children and adults in need. Looking for a longer commitment? Become a sponsor and change a child’s life. If you'd like to organise a fundraising event to put towards building our new school, please email us.
Meet Our Team!
Founder and Director - Oscar Cortes
Oscar was born in Bogotá, but grew up in Colombia's salsa capital Cali. To get to know Oscar's story and his inspiration and dream of creating a non-profit organisation, please see the video above (and you can find more videos about Oscar and the foundation under our "Links" tab).
Oscar is currently living in Boulder, Colorado, USA and is working on expanding and improving the resources and outreach of the organisation.
Head Education and Volunteer Coordinator - Helga Mora Rada
Helga is the lead teacher of our primary school in Barrio Fundadores, as well as our head volunteer coordanator and local administrator. Helga is originally from Cali, but has lived in Santa Marta for 8 years. Helga welcomes our vounteers upon their arrival, and handles all adminstrative duties, such as managing the donations and other vital funds for the foundation. For a more extensive professional profile on Helga, please see the "Contact us" tab above.
International Volunteer Coordinator - Joanna Olson Cortes
Joanna is a volunteer for Fundación Mariposas Amarillas, and while in Santa Marta, she taught English classes for adults in Barrio Fundadores. Joanna now lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA and works for a governmental teen pregnancy prevention program, but still volunteers for FMA as the International Volunteer Coordinator - she handles all incoming coorespondence from prospective volunteers and potential partnerships, and coordinates the arrivals and work positions for our volunteers. She can provide you with any information you need about the foundation, as well as advice and extra information regarding transportation, accomodations, homestay options, Spanish courses, etc.
Local Assistant Coordinator - Meryleen Mejia
Meryleen is a university student who lives in Santa Marta and has worked with FMA for over 3 years. Meryleen assists in orienting and coordinating our volutneers as well as with administrative duties. You will see Meryleen at our Volunteer Meetings that she helps run and that we hold bi-weekly, and receives the passport/visa copies we need for our records. Meryleen is also a wonderful source of information and advice regarding Santa Marta and the surrounding areas. She runs our Volunteer Facebook Group.
Spanish Instructor, Assistant Fundrasing Coordinator, and Teacher of Agricultre and Cultivation - Carlos Orozco
Carlos is a Santa Marta native who has been a great friend of the foundation for 5 years. Carlos offers Spanish classes to our volunteers. He also assists with one of our important fundraising events - our Quiz Nights (trivia nights) that we hold every Wednesday night at The Dreamer hostel and every Thursday night at La Brisa Loca hostel. These Quiz Nights are not only a great source of local and foreign donations, and more importantly outreach and recruitment of volunteers, but are also a lot of fun and a great way to meet other travelers. Carlos teaches classes in agricultre and cultivation (with an emphasis on sustainable methods) to the children who attend our primary school in Barrio Fundadores and after-school program in Barrio Oasis.
Community Leader, Barrio Oasis - Magaly
Magaly is our community leader and foundation ambassador in Barrio Oasis. She connects our volunteers with not only the children of the barrio, but also the families and other members of the community. Magaly has been a close friend of Oscar's since the very first day he entered the barrio to scout out an area in which to start his foundation, and has been a huge support ever since that very day. She acts as the school manager and also assists in the classroom management of the children. For volunteers who are keen on truly immersing themselves in the culture of the barrio, Magaly often offers her home as a homestay, and is a wonderful resource and an incredible person.
Community Leader, Barrio Fundadores - Amparo
Amparo is our community leader and foundation ambassador in Barrio Oasis. She connects our volunteers with not only the children of the barrio, but also the families and other members of the community. Amparo has been a part of FMA for one year; she manages and currently resides in the back part of the buidling with her son, Ricardo, and in this way she cares for our school. She also is a brilliant student of the English classes for adults that our volunteers run, and offers her warm support to all of our volunteers.
Director of the Football School - Profe Marcos
Marcos is the director and coach/trainer for our foundation's football school, which we opened in 2012. From Monday through Friday, more than 70 children, aged 5 to 16 years old, train, practice, and form three different levels and teams and compete against other teams from various schools. The children registered in our football school are required to demonstrate admirable grades/notes in their academic education. Marcos, as head coach and a community leader, knows all of the children of the community personally, and feels that the children can find a discipline in this sport that helps them learn to be responsible members of the community.