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Looking for equality with cardboard cradles

30 November, 2018 - Autor: Recon Colombia

Who is Camila Cooper?

Camila is 32 years old, she is a wife, she is a mom, she is a social entrepreneur, she is a dreamer and is very passionate.

What is Cunas con Amor?

Cunas con Amor was born when I was studying in London and the Finnish government sent Kate Middleton a cardboard cradle. I was in another moment of my life but that was stored in my subconscious. When Gabriel made me his mother and my maternity leave was about to end, I decided to become a mother 24/7 for Gabriel and that night, when I was in the uncertainty of ‘now, what am I going to do?’, the cradles of Finland became viral on social networks, and it touched a very special fiber. I knew that I wanted to bring that project to Colombia and adapt it to the needs of our country.

What is it about a bed that changes lives?

We transform a cardboard box into a vehicle of opportunities, we go to the mothers, to the vulnerable population, we design a plan with Dr. Julieta, where we talk to mothers about conscious gestation, breastfeeding, parenting, planning of children, of a project for life, and we are going to add a new pillar: inclusion.

Who makes up the group of Cunas con Amor?

We are a team driven by love: my husband Óscar is director of digital marketing, expert in online creativity; Dr. Julieta Villegas is a scientist and has carried the baby-kangaroo plan all over the world; Érika Bonilla is also a doctor and has a message of love, an angel in heaven, and invites us all the time to take care of our children; Haydi Martinez has been our backbone since we started, because she is our accountant and now the fiscal reviewer; Pedro Felipe Estrada is our strategic planning consultant, and we have many more angels who guide us in this mission of being self-sustaining .

How are you financed?

For us, the most important thing has been to become a social enterprise, we have a long-term, medium-term and short-term business model that allows us to be sustainable. We started with a family investment with which we got our first production of cribs, all that we have delivered has been sponsored and we have already started a model for ecological moms, where they buy their crib and with it they are donating another for us to deliver to our Beneficiary population.

You have received several recognitions, including one with MIT. What are they?

The initial one was by the University of La Sabana, it was the first seed for entrepreneurship that opened the doors for us. A whole career of entrepreneurships began that allowed us to grow, to strengthen ourselves entrepreneurially. Recon was very important for us because it allowed us to enrich ourselves from the inside, as people, in order to take our business model to another level.

Talk about another level. What is the next step?

It’s called Casa, Fruto Bendito, which is the house to receive moms, make them productive, give them job opportunities and have the same opportunity I had with Gabriel: to be there to see him grow while I generate opportunities for my family, for my environment work and it is also about education.

When one looks at northern Europe, this issue of cribs is state policy. Should a country like Colombia, leveraged in initiatives such as Cunas con Amor, convert it into State policy?

Of course, Colombia should adopt Cunas con Amor as a state policy, that would allow us to have a much greater scope. In Finland, every baby that is born receives a Cradle with Love, what is being generated is equality from birth. We have opened doors and we will continue to do so until the Government realizes that we need to dignify the life of every baby born in our country.

What happens when a baby has access to a Crib with Love? How does your environment change?

First, we told the parents that we can educate our children based on love, that empathy is fundamental, that we are tearing down myths of traditions that have been around for decades and with which we have educated the youth. We talk to the mothers, we invite them, we sow a seed of love so that each baby that is going to be born has a dignified, egalitarian beginning, and from there we check up on them.

How is this cradle organized? What comes with it?

We allied ourselves with the best supplier in our country, because it has to be certified, with organic inks suitable for babies. It is a single piece, it is not stuck with glue, it is not assembled with other pieces, it is very safe for the baby, it measures, approximately, 76cm by 46cm, we deliver it with a mattress that already has a special density, because we protect the children of sudden infant death, taking into account that in Colombia babies die because dads do not have good practices when sleeping with them. We invite them to be in the same room, but each child has their space. We deliver the cribs with their mattresses, with their protective blankets, when we donate them they are full of love, with diapers, with clothes, with everything a baby needs. In addition, the education plan for families. We have to enjoy our children more, without fears, myths. We forget that they are borrowed, that we are only going to have them for a while. We talk about love. You cannot imagine the beauty of a cradle. We did it in the jail of San Diego, in Cartagena, and the mother told us that, after having three children, it was the first time they told her that she could educate her son based only on love, and she hugged us, that’s what feeds us every day to get to transform more lives in Colombia.

There are those who fail to combine social innovation with a business model that makes for sustainable entrepreneurship. How are you doing?

The base of our enterprise is called Haydi Martinez. She is our tax reviewer. If we have clarity on the financial issue, we will have a long-term projection. Since we started, we had a very important issue: we are a foundation with the sole objective that the profits are not going to be distributed into our pockets, but are going to be reinvested, but for the rest we work just like a lucrative company.

When you talk to people who are making social changes, through their leadership, they always talk about leaving a mark. How many people have left their mark since Cunas con Amor was born?

We have educated 2,500 children, 2,500 families, 2,500 newborns have had a decent place to be born in Colombia, in 10 cities and municipalities throughout the country.

How do you choose the beneficiaries?

We make alliances, we work with the mayors’ offices, with the foundations, what they do is deliver a list of mothers who have been judicious with their prenatal check-ups, who have really been in vulnerable condition, who need the crib and who are willing to receive our support, and so we come and we can follow up and give continuity to the process. That is the ideal with the House, to give more importance to our work, educating the mothers so that they can know all this topic of motherhood. There is no manual to be a mother, but there are many studies to be better parents and to build homes with better foundations.

You talk about equality. You focus on less privileged homes. How do you generate an impact there?

That’s why we have our hashtag #igualesconamor, because we have already sold the cradle to those ecological and famous moms who have put their children in our cribs, that has allowed us, through their social networks, to have other moms realize that we are talking about equality since birth; my son Gabriel is the sample of this. He has been using his crib for two and a half years and it became his best company. Already people from all backgrounds in Colombia have slept in a Cradle with Love.

Where do they sell them or how does the sponsorship issue work?

Sponsoring a crib has a value of 49,000 pesos. They donate it to us and we give it to our vulnerable population. If you are moms or ecological families and want to buy your crib, it has a value of 95,000 pesos, there you buy yours and subsidize one of our families. We answer directly at @Cunasconamor, on Facebook Fundación Fruto Bendito and on our website www.fundacionfrutobendito.org

By: Edwin Bohorquez

Via: El Espectador

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