Seeds of Love & Hope International Society (SOLAHIS) is a relief organization working to better the lives of underprivileged children in Medellin, Colombia.
Starting in 2006 with a visit to bring much-needed supplies and school uniforms, SOLAHIS now organizes and runs a Children’s Centre. The Centre provides a meal six days per week to neighbourhood children, plus medical and dental care, school supplies, and spiritual guidance. Additionally, children have access to a tutor, after-school activities, and a full-time pastor.
The Centre is funded through child sponsorships, donations, and other fundraising activities.
In 2006, the group that was to become SOLAHIS made their initial trip to Medellin, Colombia to bring school supplies, uniforms and shoes to 350 poverty-stricken children. They also held a special Christmas party for the group and were struck by the spirit of the children as well as by the extreme circumstances in which they lived. Jorge Silva, a recent emigrant to Canada and the group’s organizer, knew full well what daily life looked like for these children; having grown up in a similar situation, he wanted to bring relief to his childhood hometown.
Just over a year later, in March 2008, SOLAHIS was formed. Land and buildings were purchased in Medellin and phase one of the Children’s Centre was started. SOLAHIS also immediately began feeding children once per week and established the sponsorship program.
By 2009, phase one of the Children’s Centre was 99% complete. SOLAHIS was officially incorporated as a society and an agency agreement was made between Albion Fellowship Baptist Church/Cornerstone Neighbourhood Fellowship Baptist Church and the Semillas de Amor y Esperanza in Medellin, Colombia. As well, the children were now being fed three times per week.
A year later, the Children’s Centre became an even safer place for the children with the addition of a security fence and gate. SOLAHIS was proud to increase weekly meals to five.
Since 2011, the Children’s Centre has welcomed an Administrator and a Tutor. The centre has been painted and the pastor’s onsite home has been renovated and a building is being converted into an onsite medical office. The children are now receiving six meals per week. Sponsored children also receive schools supplies, medical and dental care, and after school activities.
As of December 2012, four of the sponsored children will be graduating from high school with the goal of attending university in the first semester of 2013.
Board of Directors
Jorge Silva – President – Structural Engineer – years on board – since 2009
Darrell Johnson – Vice-President – Building Contractor – years on board – since 2009
Tirza Madrigal – Treasurer – Book Keeper – years on board – since 2011
Marc Lafleur – Machinist/Business Owner – years on board – since 2009
Karen Blom – Secretary – Teacher – years on board – since 2009
The Board of Directors meets nearly every week to discuss issues relating to the Centre and to pray. We have traveled to Medellín together to meet with the staff and volunteers and to witness the current and completed projects. We look forward to doing more Board trips to Colombia to maintain connections and to stay close to the project.