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Boxing toward women’s empowerment in Medellín | Mi Barrio Mi Sueño Foundation

by Sabine
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Did you know that Colombia is in the top 5 countries with the most refugees in the world? And that the country has has nearly 6 million displaced people? Millions of families have migrated from rural areas to Colombia’s big cities due to conflict and violence. Many people hope for a better life, which unfortunately is often far from reality. In Medellín, too, the problem is significant. Where millions of families live in poverty high in the mountains. Where girls and women face violence and have few opportunities for a good future. Fortunately, there are many foundations in Medellín’s disadvantaged neighborhoods dedicated to help their habitants. Like Mi Barrio Mi Sueño foundation and Children of Medellín.

March is all about women’s empowerment, and as part of that effort Andrea of Mi Barrio Mi Sueño wrote a guest blog. In which she takes you to her foundation in Medellín and tells you about boxing, the tours they organize and how you can visit the foundation.

Mi Barrio Mi Sueño Foundation in Medellín

The Foundation Mi Barrio Mi Sueño promotes positive change in the slums of Medellín with innovative programs for children and women to break free from violence, discrimination and educational barriers. Our support focuses on both body and mind, and we involve the entire community in our activities.

My name is Andrea Gonzalez Duarte Van Der Leeuw, the founder of this beautiful foundation. I was born in Bogotá and raised in the Netherlands after adoption. After returning to Colombia, I am 100% committed to empower girls and women in Medellin.

Our foundation focuses on the community of La Honda in Medellín. This neighborhood consists of many indigenous people, Venezuelans seeking a better life and families who have migrated from the countryside to the city to escape conflict.


Women’s empowerment in Colombia

In the heart of Medellin, a city imbued with dynamism and resilience, a light of hope and change shines. Mi Barrio Mi Sueño, a foundation based in one of the city’s most vulnerable slums, fights for gender equality, empowerment and a better future for everyone who lives there.

Our approach focuses on sports, education and community engagement and shows how small initiatives can make big changes.

BarrioBoxing: a project for women

In an environment where young girls and women often face sexual violence and gender discrimination, Mi Barrio Mi Sueño offers a special project: Barrio Boxing.

With this, women learn not only to defend themselves, but also to discover their inner strength. Through physical and mental training, they become better able to protect themselves and follow their own path, free from oppression.

The bracelet project

Another initiative of our foundation is the bracelet project for single mothers. These women, the head of the family, are supported by selling handmade bracelets. Part of the earnings go directly to these families, supporting them financially and empowering them to take care of themselves and their children.

This project is not only a source of income, but also of pride and connection within the community. Each piece of jewelry has a unique QR code that can be scanned, after which you can read the personal story of one of the project’s mothers.

Other projects within our foundation

In addition to these two projects, Mi Barrio Mi Sueño also offers English classes to increase the chances of getting a good job, and even to enable an international career. We also distribute gas stoves to families who still cook on wood, which improves living conditions and is also a lot healthier.

Mi Barrio Mi Sueño is not just a foundation, it is a movement of solidarity and hope. Through our various projects, we show that change is possible, even in the most challenging circumstances. With every boxing workout, every bracelet and every English class, we give a glimmer of hope and empowerment to the people of Medellin. And through their life stories, they inspire others to join the fight for a more fair and equal world.


Visit the foundation when you are in Medellín

To take part in our wonderful initiative, Mi Barrio Mi Sueño offers special tours, giving you the chance to visit our foundation and contribute to our mission in a unique way.

One of our tours is the BarrioBoxing boxing tour, where you take a boxing class with the women and children of the neighborhood. After the training, you will get a short tour of the neighborhood and sample local snacks. This tour is provided by the community itself.

You can also make your own bracelet with traditional Miyuki glass beads. The women of the bracelet project, the Madres del Barrio, are happy to share their techniques for making your own bracelets. During this workshop, they also talk about how this project has changed their lives and the impact it has had on themselves and the community.

On a tour at Mi Barrio Mi Sueño, you’ll experience a different side of Medellín and see firsthand how the people here live and go through life.

How do you arrange a tour at Mi Barrio Mi Sueño?

Contact the foundation and join one of our inspiring tours. This can be done via:


I have not yet visited the foundation myself, but definitely hope to visit it sometime and take a boxing class. I hope you got something from this article, and with it you can make your trip through Colombia even more beautiful.


Click here for more inspiration for your trip to Medellín and surroundings

The information and photos for this article were provided by Andrea of Mi Barrio Mi Sueño Foundation.

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