In 2001, when the Gómez Escobar family lived in Cartagena de Indias, the city presented a terrible social situation. This, alongside the death of Juan Felipe Gómez that same year, inspired the family to create this great social project: The Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation. Juanfe, a non-profit organization that takes his name in his memory, helps teenage mothers in extreme poverty conditions, saves the lives of thousands of children that are at high risk of death due to lack of resources, and provides medical attention to a vulnerable population.
Catalina Escobar, president and founder of Juanfe foundation, was a volunteer at the Rafael Calvo Maternity Hospital, where she witnessed high rates of preventable infant mortality and saw that most children that died came from teenage mothers living in poverty conditions. After the death of her son Juan Felipe, she took the strong determination of creating an organization that would help prevent these deaths caused by lack of economic resources.
Thereby the Juanfe Foundation was created, a non-profit organization that from the beginning has been able to break down cycles of poverty leaving aside political assistance. At the beginning we focused on the reduction of infant mortality, but with time the Foundation realized the problem came from a much more complex issue: teenage pregnancy. That’s how empowering teenage mothers became the main strategic objective of the foundation.
We are convinced that poor solutions to end poverty lead to more poverty. This is why we strive to provide services of the highest standards in all of the six programs we develop.
We count with national and international enterprises, and public and private cooperation agencies that are interested in attacking this problem. Along with them, national and local government entities work with Juanfe Foundation to implement real solutions to poverty and thus contribute to the sustainable social development of our country.
In September 2011, we opened our operations center in Cartagena: The Social Center, a project of 13,000 square meters that enabled us to expand our impact and service to the city. As a commitment of the Foundation towards the environment, the Social Center is a reference of civic culture and respect towards our ecosystem. Our headquarter was built under the connotation of green building and we are certified as: LEED silver category from the US Green Building Council, making us the first Foundation in the country with this certification in sustainable operation.
Thanks to our success and the high social impact we have generated, the Interamerican Development Bank and the Belgium NGO, ACTEC, identified our model of intervention as an innovative solution to the problem of teenage pregnancy as poverty perpetuator in Latin America and the world. This is why these entities are helping the Foundation strengthen its model so it can be standardized and replicated in other cities in the country and other parts of the world.