Fundación Cantoalavida

Fundación Cantoalavida is a non-profit Colombian foundation dedicated to providing care and shelter to animals in need as well as helping local low-income children with basic school supplies and teaching them with valuable skills.

The purpose of this trip is non-religious and straightforward: lending a helping hand to those in need. All of the personal expenses of this trip is already paid for (Flights, lodging, shuttles, vaccinations…). This fundraiser is to raise enough funds to provide spaying & neutering services at this shelter during my visit. I will be at the Foundation in Colombia from February 2nd until February 10th and will leave this donation page open until February 1st 2019. 

I don't want to sound depressing like one of the Sarah Mclachlans
 songs but I do want to make a positive impact on many lives, humans and animals alike. As of November 15, 2018, there were over 80 cats and over 70 dogs at the Foundation.  See a general General Q&A below. 

The goal is to provide at least 40 cats & dogs sterilization services while I will be volunteering there.
Our vet is giving us the following discounts for Fundación Cantoalavida:
• Female Dogs: 70,000 COP ($22 USD)
• Male Dogs: 40,000 COP ($13 USD)
• Female Cats: 50,000 COP ($16 USD)
• Male Cats: 25,000 COP ($8)

Which brings our overall cost for 40 operations down to an average of: $880!
(Based on the highest price of 40 operations on females dogs @ $22ea) 

I am round up my funding goal to ONLY $1,000 USD allowing us to either perform more surgeries and purchase school supplies for the children! (One consideration is the fee GoFundMe charges 2.9 percent payment-processing fee collected on each donation, along with 30 cents for every donation) 

Step by Step Goal:
•  ✔ Step 1: Hire a local veterinarian to come to Campoalegre, Huila, Colombia. /// This step has already begun and I have been in contact with a local vet and have scheduled him to come perform surgeries while I am onsite. 
• Step 2: Vet to Perform approximately 40 spaying & neutering for dogs & cats. Include pre & post-operation.
• Step 3: In the event there is additional funds left, which would be amazing, the money will go towards purchasing food, school supplies and basic necessities for the foundation.

To learn more about the Foundation HERE.
Or visit their Facebook page HERE .

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT: In most low-income regions, animal abandonment is common. Spaying and neutering benefits the animal & the community. By doing so, we reduce the amount of strays while providing them with some health benefits as well. Read more about some of the benefits HERE :  & HERE. 

I will provide updates as more logistics gets figured out. While I don't anticipate to have much time to post while I will be onsite in Colombia in February,  I do plan on posting as much updates as possible before and after the trip. These updates will be likely available on my personal Facebook Page, Instagram & Blog. 

General Q&A:
Q: How did you find this organization? 
A: I wanted to avoid any organization that provided 'volunteering/vacation' type. These organizations often charge you a large sum ($100 to 1,000s a WEEK!) to be matched with a local charity and most of the money does not make it directly to the organization you want to help. I found Fundación Cantoalavida through a 'Help wanted' type of website via I paid a fee of $35 to have my own profile and browse thousands of different profiles which range from farming, environmental causes, animal welfare, education, community etc…

Q: What are you going to do there? 
A: As any animal shelter: there is always a need to help with feeding, cleaning and taking care of the animals. With my experiences, I hope to provide help building and maintaining the local grounds as well as helping with community outreach. 

Q: Who's paying for your travels? 
A: Myself! Flights, lodging & shuttles have been scheduled and paid for with my own savings. All funds raised will be given to the Foundation. 

Q: Why in Colombia and not at an American shelter? 
A: I've always offered my help wherever/whenever I could. From doing an internship at an animal shelter in Wisconsin to fostering dogs in Arizona. Animal welfare is dear to me. My trip to Colombia will combine travels, volunteering and an opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and learn Spanish. 

Q: Can we donate supplies instead of cash? 
A: No. I will be traveling light (carry-on only) and will not have room to pack any donated items with me. If you want to donate money for the school supplies portion of this trip, I plan on purchasing the supplies onsite in Colombia and delivering them on arrival. If you really want to only donate supplies: I can send you the Foundation's address for you to ship items there directly. 

Q: Where is the money going? 
A: My plan is to raise enough funding to cover at least 40 sterilization operations while I am onsite. Another portion of the funds will be donated to purchase school supplies to the children who come to the foundation for help. The foundation is ran by only a few locals and mainly by Gloria Ramirez. Her main source of income for the shelter are donations from her daughter. Gloria is passionate and has dedicated her life to helping children and animals in need. 

Q: Any safety concerns? 
A: No matter where you travel, safety is a priority. I do not fear for my safety as Colombia, unlike what you may think, is very safe for travelers. Part of traveling and learning new cultures is to break down the stereotypes.  My main concern is the language barrier and hope to improve my Spanish before the trip. Thankfully, Gloria speaks Spanish & French and hopefully between our 3 languages, we will break down that barrier. 

Have more questions? Don't hesitate to reach out. 


Melanie Levesque
Green Bay, WI

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