Helping Others Help Themselves: fighting poverty in Colombia My name is Fabio Palacio and I am a student at Ridgewood High School. Last summer I visited Colombia, the country where I grew up. While in Colombia I spent a lot of time in my home city, and in addition, spent a few days in a small village nearby, called Tubara. Tubara is the home of Raquel, a woman who helped raise my mother and me. My mother's family helped pay for her daughter's education, and we have remained long time friends with this family. When I visited Tubara, I was distraught by the conditions in which these people had to live. This neighborhood called "El Barrio los Pozos" was deteriorating and did not seem to be a stable or safe place to live. Barefoot children were running around in dirt "roads" infested with animal feces. Many lived in small, shabby houses and emaciated faces made their lack of food apparent. Raquel's daughter, Clara, is striving to help her community become a better place to live and she has gathered a group of women determined to improve the condition of their hometown. They took sewing classes and started a small clothing business. With the profits of this business, they hope to repair their homes and provide for their families. I was thoroughly moved by this experience and I soon started a course of action. This year at Ridgewood High School, I established a club called Human Advancement, devoted to helping these women. I have organized a series of fundraisers such as coffee sales, taco sales, public speaking and donations to help raise money for these women. I hope to eventually sell their products in the United States and help them expand and increase their profits. What I love about this project is that these women have to work for what they need; I am not just giving them everything they need. I hope that you will help the women of Tubara help themselves in an effort to save "El Barrio los Pozos."