Fourteen years ago, a family friend, Ines, began teaching at a children’s school in Flores de María, a small pueblo about 1.5 hours away from the town of Pivijay in the northern part of Colombia where my family has lived for many generations. Ines has been a school teacher for 25 years. Flores is similar to other small pueblos scattered across the northern part of the country which are cut off from the larger municipalities, lack basic services, and are below the poverty line. The state of Magdelena, where Flores is located, has a poverty rate of 59.8%. (Colombia Reports, 2021)

The school in Flores consists of a single room and students do not have even the most basic school supplies.

In 2019, with Ines’ daughter Mary, we started to purchase school supplies for the children. We acquired bookbags, pencils, and notebooks, but quickly realized that it was not enough. What started as helping a school turned into a humanitarian effort. The children needed more than school supplies — they needed clothes, toys, and over-the-counter medicine, and there was only so much we could do ourselves.

Currently, if a child needs medical attention or over-the-counter medicine, they have to travel to Pivijay or Sábanas de San Ángel which can take over an hour depending on the condition of the roads. Flores has not had a functional medical building in many years. Today, the old, dilapidated infirmary is an empty shell and sits precariously atop a bank of sand and mud where the surrounding wildlife has overtaken the interior. Two hundred million pesos were supposedly allocated to the town to fix the medical building, but the town has yet to see any of it (Maestre, 2019).

In November of 2021, we started a fundraiser on Bonfire. I created a logo and designed a t-shirt that we have been selling to raise money to help the school and the children. In addition, we made a sign for the school to bring the children a sense of belonging and pride and joy.

It was important that the logo feel familiar to the students and their families and part of the local culture. One of Colombia’s national symbols is the sombrero vueltiao, which was originally created by the indigineous Zenú tribes from the northern part of Colombia in the neighboring departments of Cordoba and Sucre. I wanted to use similar geometry in creating the flower logo, but replace the traditional black and white colors with hues that were vibrant and colorful for the children.