Por Javier Molinares
AL DÍA TODAY
ORLANDO – 2023 has been a remarkable year for the Consulate of Colombia in Orlando, characterized by impactful projects dedicated to empowering the Colombian community and celebrating the richness of Colombian culture in the United States.
The ‘Fashion Show’ event on December 2nd marked the year’s highlight. The Consulate of Colombia in Orlando celebrated the completion of the ‘Mujeres Colombianas Transformando el Mundo’ (Colombian Women Transforming the World) project, along with the enchanting musical performances by talented Colombian children who learned to play Caribbean instruments and dance Caribbean rhythms.
“I consider this a resounding success for the management of the Consulate of Colombia in Orlando,” said Rafael Orozco, Consul of Colombia in Orlando.
The ‘Mujeres Colombianas Transformando el Mundo’ project, designed to empower Colombian women by equipping them with personal and professional growth tools, was the year’s standout event. This initiative strongly emphasized critical aspects such as mental health, emotional well-being, self-esteem, and self-image. The initiative is part of the Colombia Nos Une program by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“This program [Colombia Nos Une] was created approximately 25 years ago by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Orozco. “We seek to strengthen and consolidate the bonds of the Colombian community abroad through cultural, sports, artistic, and various other events.”
Maria Fernanda Saavedra, representing the Chancellery of Colombia through Colombia Nos Une, has emerged as a central figure in these endeavors, playing a pivotal role in fostering a stronger connection between the Colombian community and the consulate. Her unwavering commitment has yielded fruitful projects and unforgettable experiences. Orozco praised her during the December 2nd event at Orlando’s Icon Park.
“It’s worth noting that the ‘Mujeres Colombianas Transformando el Mundo’ project was conceived by a woman [Saavedra], whom I have the honor of having by my side, and I request a round of applause for her. She worked diligently alongside other women, forming a dedicated team where this visionary initiative gradually took shape until it became a tangible reality,” Orozco emphasized, acknowledging Saavedra’s excellent work.
The event, which combined fashion, empowerment, and Caribbean music, captured the attention of the Colombian community in Orlando. The “Mujeres Transformando el Mundo” project empowered women, boosting their self-esteem and self-image. It culminated in an exciting Fashion Show with dresses provided by a California designer who traveled specifically for the event.
Additionally, the performance by the ‘Encanto Musical (Musical Enchantment) children, who had prepared for approximately ten weeks, was a spectacle that captivated the Colombian community. The event also featured a performance by 43 Colombian children who had been learning Caribbean rhythms for two months as part of the “Encanto de la Música Caribeña” (Enchantment of Caribbean Music) project by the non-profit organization Colombian Multicultural Integration (CMI). This effort was met with resounding enthusiasm from attendees, and parents felt inspired to enroll their children in this project to develop their artistic skills.
During the celebration of the remarkable success of the transformative projects of the Consulate of Colombia in Orlando, Father Howeer Cajicá of the Renacer Foundation offered heartfelt words that encapsulated the essence of these initiatives.
“It is a source of pride for us Colombians to show the entire world that Colombia is art, Colombia is life, Colombia is hope, Colombia is joy, and especially that the finest ambassadors in the world, from Colombia, are you, the women: entrepreneurship, joy, hard work, resilience, loyalty, unwavering commitment, discipline, sacrifice,” said Father Howeer. These words resonated with the spirit of empowerment and cultural celebration that defined the consulate’s projects in 2023.
The Renacer Foundation graciously provided the Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth as the venue for the workshops for both “Mujeres Colombianas Transformando el Mundo” and “Encanto de la Música Caribeña.”
Furthermore, the event featured the participation of the talented artist Franklin Muñoz, an Ecuadorian artist who delighted the community with two musical performances, inspiring attendees to dance and sing along to the tune of “Qué Bonita es esta Vida” by the renowned singer-songwriter Jorge Celedón.
Following the success of ‘Encanto Musical’ and the empowerment achieved through ‘Mujeres Transformando el Mundo,’ the Consulate of Colombia in Orlando is preparing exciting plans for the next year.
“For the coming year, we will have entrepreneurship workshops with various facilitators to empower our community in minority certifications, taxes, subsidies, business creation, and exports,” emphasized Orozco.
Additionally, they plan to take the ‘Mujeres Colombianas Transformando el Mundo’ project to Tampa, where a sports event for children and adolescents will be organized in the first half of the year. They will also celebrate the July 20th Colombian Independence Day once again, with recognition for outstanding individuals in the Colombian community in Orlando.
Looking ahead to 2024, the Consulate of Colombia in Orlando plans to expand and replicate these projects on a larger scale, reaffirming its commitment to empowering and elevating the Colombian community in the United States.
Consul Orozco concluded with a call to the Colombian community in Orlando. The future of the Colombian community in Orlando looks bright, with projects that will strengthen cultural bonds and Colombian identity abroad. While the details of some future projects are kept secret, the community can expect more events to enrich their experience and strengthen their connection with Colombia.
“For more information, please visit the website at https://orlando.consulado.gov.co/. The consulate is located at 5850 T.G. Lee Boulevard Edificio Citadel 1, Suite 260. Orlando, Florida 32822.”