Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Coralie, Margot and I have been working on Ináy for a while now, since March to be exact. Though we're in July and it has "only" been 4 months, quite a bit of work goes into starting a non-profit. We thought it would be worth briefly reflecting and sharing our journey so far, so here goes...
It started with a phone call...
As most of my friends and family know, I'm not the best at scheduling phone calls. If there is a silver lining to the current coronavirus pandemic, I suppose it is that we have had to learn to communicate better using technology. I know I did. And it so happens that early March, Coralie and I finally managed to schedule a phone call for some long overdue catching up!
During that call, Coralie regaled me with details of her time in Colombia. She talked about the indigenous communities she met, the cultures she had discovered, and places she had visited with such passion. It was impossible to not immediately notice how her time working and travelling in Colombia had changed her and how deeply she had fallen in love with the country.
In turn, I told her about the trip Margot and I had taken to Bogotá and Medellín the year before, and the impact project we had worked on with a local company to help them foster social and environmental change through their products. We discussed the warmth and kindness of Colombian culture, and our desire to discover more of it! So when Coralie mentioned that she wanted to use quarantine time to start a non-profit to help the indigenous communities she had connected with, and asked if I would like to be involved (we had worked for a non-profit together before), I immediately jumped on the opportunity! We then reached out to Margot, who of course was on board, and Ináy was born!
So you want to start a non-profit...
We knew we wanted to help indigenous communities, and Coralie already had started building realtionships with several community leaders, but before the actual 'helping' can start there are a couple things to prepare.
We needed a name (fun!)
We needed to be legally recognized as a non-profit organization (not so fun...)
We needed to think about how to structure the organization to best help the communities (we didn't go to a management school for nothing #EMN)
And while this seems pretty straightforward, it took us 4 months to get to a point where we felt solid enough to start helping.
The worst possible scenario for us would have been to rush in blindly, make promises to communities, and then fail or miss the mark because we were unprepared. Ethically speaking, non-profit work requires special care and attention as you could end up doing more harm than good, particularly for indigenous communities that often struggle with feeling unheard by their local government. But more on that in a later post.
The fact that you are reading this means we've accomplished all of the above. We have a name, we are a legally recognized non-profit, and we are ready to get to work!
INÁY means “to grow” in Arhuaco
We even have had several key members join us!
Sarah - the amazing graphic designer behind or logo
Tati - instrumental in building relationships with communities and preparing our first project
Fercho - also instrumental in preparing our first project and defining other ways to reach out and help tribes
These short blurbs do not do the incredible work they've put into Ináy justice, but suffice to say we are all feeling very lucky to be working with such talented and passionate people.
So what's next...
As a young and unestablished non-profit, our primary goal is to build strong foundations for our relationship with the communities we wish to help. To do so, we are starting with a smaller initiative to foster trust and build bonds between Ináy and the tribes.
Our first project: CAURE
The Caure project aims to help the Ticuna tribe in Santa Sofia Colombia.
The leaders and school teachers mentioned that the children will need school supplies for the coming school year starting end of August 2020. Our goal is to raise funds to purchase and donate 100 supply kits to the Santa Sofia school. Each kit would contain 2 pencils,1 pen, 3 notebooks, 1 reusable mask, 1 ruler, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 eraser, 1 box of crayons.
So there you have it. Our first initiative for our first project. If you would like to help and/or donate, click here.
We look forward to continuing to share our adventure with you all!