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That They May Know

Rose of Sharon School, Colombia. Attorney and child advocate, Martha Villamizar, became aware of the plight of La Playa’s children when her husband began a small church on the outskirts of the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Many of the families living in La Playa had fled the violence in the country’s interior between the Colombian military, outlawed armed groups, and drug cartels. Martha quickly identified an important need that she could help meet for La Playa’s children – education. Leaving the legal profession and moving to La Playa, Villamizar was given a piece of land by the Colombian government and in 1994 she opened the Rose of Sharon School.

She went from door to door to encourage parents to send their children to school. Today, 305 children from pre-kindergarten to high school are receiving a quality, government-approved education. There is a strong emphasis on academics, the arts, and Biblical studies. Students of all ages are encouraged to make reading a daily habit.

The school is in its third year teaching English as a second language. Many students serve as interpreters for foreign visitors. In accordance with “The House of Culture in Barranquilla”, the school has courses in music, dance, and painting. There are many budding young artists, dancers, and musicians, and events showcasing their talents are always well attended.

Carlos John, a former student at the Rose of Sharon School, was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in music at Colombia’s prestigious North University. To show his gratitude, Carlos teaches music at the Rose of Sharon School.

Day trips to museums and other cultural places teach students about their culture, their country, and the rest of the world.

“At the Rose of Sharon School, we have a holistic approach to education. We want to develop young minds to reach their full potential but we also want to encourage their artistic expression and spiritual growth. We want them to know that they are loved by God.” • Martha Villamizar

The School has also developed programs that reach into the community. These programs include training in sewing, jewellery making, and professional makeup artistry, with the goal of assisting single mothers and older women to improve their quality of life.

The Rose of Sharon’s clothing brand “Cristal Girls” was well-received at various fairs, shopping malls, and markets, and was praised for its quality and design. In 2018, the sewing program provided the entire school with uniforms and students are presently working on Cristal Girls’ designs for the summer. This program encourages creativity and innovation and helps fund the school’s operational costs.

Many thanks for your faithful support of the Rose of Sharon School. You are impacting the lives of hundreds of children, their families, and their community. When speaking with Martha Villamizar regarding the needs of the school, her prayer is always for more sponsors. There are 71 children on the waiting list. •

Donate Here to the Rose of Sharon School in Colombia

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