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December 23, 2019
As the designer and owner of Ella Green Jewellery (named for my daughter and the colour of nature), I have been sending a portion of the proceeds from my jewellery business to the Emerging Voices Foundation in Colombia since late 2017. This is a vital part of why I am in this business. Colombia is rich in minerals and gems, producing the finest emeralds in the world. But I strongly feel that some benefit should accrue to either the community or at least the country the gem was mined in. Emerging Voices was recommended to me by Yianni Melas, a Greek Texan veteran of the gem industry (@gemexploreer on Instagram) who is vocal about the rights of artisanal miners. After I reached out to him for advice on who or what to support, Yianni told me that of all the thousands of people he met in his decades-long gem career, he trusted Monica Sepulveda the most. Monica, through the Emerging Voices Foundation sets out to care for those that others have forgotten through food, education and volunteers’ time. I finally booked a flight for a week’s trip to Colombia in October this year. I visited Cartagena, on the Caribeann coast and the much, much colder, Andean city of Bogota.
The Emerging Voices Foundation supports 2 houses in Bogota. Out of respect to the children and for their protection (boys aged 6 - 14), I did not take photos of them. Instead, I took some photos of their quarters which helped me see how they live. Their beds were impeccably made - like a barracks. This is a change for them as most come from troubled families and for some, an 8 month stay here is a chance to avoid getting caught in the penal system for minor infractions.Thank you Colombia for a sublime week. You are in my heart now and I will be back one day with my family!
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