Aura and her family are looking to raise funds to get them through the next three months, as they struggle through the effects of the COVID 19 outbreak in Cartagena, Colombia.
Aura and her family live in the low-income neighbourhood of Boston, in Cartagena, Colombia. They rely solely on the day to day sales from her famous fruit stand ‘Bienvenido Donde Aura’, which they run outside of Hotel Dann, in the Boca Grande Beach of Cartagena. Due to the current state of the pandemic in Colombia, all beaches are closed which makes it impossible for Aura and her family to make a living and support themselves through the current health crisis.
We would like to amplify Aura’s voice as she and her family are in dire need of financial support but currently have no access to the resources needed to communicate this outside of their immediate community.
*Who are Aura and her family?
Aura and her fruit stand ‘Bienvenido Donde Aura’ are a staple of the Boca Grande beach in Cartagena. For the past 30 years, Aura has gotten up at 3 AM every day to buy fresh fruit at the Boston market. She then drives an hour and a half to Boca Grande where she works until 7 pm, serving the most incredible plates of fresh fruit.
Aura’s fruit stand supports her eldest daughter Ema’s family, her son Jorge Luiz’s family, and her youngest son Jair’s family. Altogether, they make up a family of over 15 people (which Aura supports entirely through the income from her fruit stand).
Through the pandemic, Aura has been sharing private donations from friends and family with her neighbors and friends in her community. She has made it clear that all money raised through this initiative will also be shared with her community in Boston.
*Why does Aura need help?
The municipal government of Cartagena has issued monthly stipends to low-income families of around $120,000 pesos, per house-hold (the equivalent of $60 cad a month- per family). Aura, with her three children and her grandsons and granddaughters, make up a family of 15.
Aura and her family are currently living on a 'day to day' basis and are unsure as to how they will afford their basic living needs tomorrow or next week. This is not only taking a toll on their physical health but also on their mental and emotional health. Aura and her family currently rely on donations from their friends and family, however; that is simply not enough, and they are in immediate need of greater financial support.
*Why should you help?
While COVID 19 affects people regardless of wealth, low-income communities will be most affected due to longstanding segregation by income and race, reduced economic mobility, and the high cost of medical care-- this is even more marked in 'Majority World' countries like in Latin America.
Likewise, it is worth noting that while every dollar donated counts, in this case; it is multiplied x2. For every Canadian/US dollar you donate it almost doubles when turned into pesos.
The Afro Caribbean community in Colombia needs our support through these times. Cartagena is not only one of the most beautiful places on earth; it is one of the main arteries of Colombian culture, and a region who's Black and POC communities have been subjugated to systemic discrimination and oppression for centuries.
This money is going directly into Aura and her family's hands! Please help us improve their living conditions through these times.
* How will the money be delivered to Aura?
Every donation made through this Gofundme will be transferred to Aura using the Western Union app, which allows for international deposits to be made to banks in Colombia. Aura doesn't have a bank account, but with her 'cedula'/'I.D' she can claim the money transfer at Bancolombia.
* Our connection to Aura
Aura has a heart and soul as bright as her smile that brightens up everyone she meets!
30 years ago, she became a part of our lives when my grandmother, Libia Angel, moved to Cartagena from Bogotá. My grandma, an avid early morning walker, would walk the Boca Grande beach every morning, where she met Aura. Both of them, splashing fountains of love and charisma, became fast and close friends. When my family and I started visiting Cartagena, we would always sit beside Aura, where not only did she welcome us with the most delicious fruit, but with amazing stories, poignant anecdotes, and always so much love.
When my grandmother died last year, Aura visited her almost every day at the hospital and was by her side until she passed. It was comforting to know that she had friends like Aura through such difficult times, especially when a lot of us couldn't be there with her. To us Aura is family and at this time we want to rally to her aid and try and give back an ounce of the support that she has always given our family.
- Samuel Wolk
- Nina Vroemen
- gareth Moses