What “United For Colombia” (UFCO) is About

Members of UFCO pose together in Mr. Stead’s room on May 16th, 2019 after discussing future plans for fundraising.

Members of UFCO pose together in Mr. Stead’s room on May 16th, 2019 after discussing future plans for fundraising.

Clara Gomes

Recently, a group of SWHS juniors organized a club focussed on helping kids in need in Colombia. The club consists of more than 18 members at the moment and encourages others to join United for Colombia, also known as UFCO. After attending their last meeting on May 16th, I heard about some of their plans to raise funds for the children in need all the way from South Windsor.


According to UNICEF and humanium.org,  illegal armed groups gave rise to a serious humanitarian crisis and that it “is abundantly evident that a resolution of the pressing situation regarding children’s rights in this country is far from being reached.” With 45% of the population below the poverty line, frequent natural disasters, sexual exploitation of children, and 23% of young Colombian women who are married before the age of 18, club leader Valerie Estrada is listening to the countries cry for help:


“I started UFCO, along with Ana, because I grew up in a country plagued with poverty,” states the hardworking junior. “All children deserve the opportunity to receive an education and feel safe at home. They deserve the same commodities we enjoy such as food and shelter. I want to help give that to them.”


Among some other, very serious concerns regarding the children of Colombia include child soldiers and the right to an education. About 1 in 10 children in Colombia do not receive formal education and many schools are forced to close down for long periods of time, many times as a result of the need for constant reconstruction.


In order to help these children in Colombia, UFCO has been coming up with some ideas as to how funds can be raised, and we need your help. The group would greatly appreciate it if people were willing to make donations to their future GoFundMe page and enjoy their future plans for Christmas caroling around the holidays. The group also plans on having a bracelet-making workshop so that they may be sold at the high school as well as a possible car wash at the firehouse. The group notes that clothing donations would also be appreciated at upcoming school events.


Today, students like Valerie, freshman, Samantha Deras, sophomore, Brianna Miranda, juniors, Kelli Poolman, Jazmin Ortiz, Dan Kelly, Maria Cosme, Noah Dombroski, and senior, Clara Gomes-Ferres, are striving to help those in a country where the Realization of the Children’s Rights Index is claimed to be 7,22/10. It is in Red Level: Difficult Situation.


A few of the members have specifically joined the club because of their experiences seeing those in developing countries. Deras states that she has seen the conditions people were living in El Salvador and she knew she wanted to help those who would go through similar difficult situations. Kelli Poolman has also developed a passion for helping others after going on a mission trip to Costa Rica and seeing people in need. Us at South Windsor High School want to help make the place a little bit better, regardless of how little our contributions may seem.


“I joined UFCO because I wanted to better the lives of children,” says junior, Jazmin Ortiz. “We have sponsored children since I was younger and it gives me the joy to be able to give them the life that they deserve and to grow up happy and healthy.”


The UFCO club meets in room 252 on Thursdays after school and always accepts more members to help out.


Statistics found at