My name is Andrea Gonzalez Duarte Van Der Leeuw. I was born in Bogotá, adopted as a baby and raised in the Netherlands. My biological mom gave birth to me while in an abusive relationship. She made the brave decision to leave but didn’t have the resources to give me the upbringing she wanted. Although I have many great memories of my childhood, growing up in a small Dutch village as the only colored kid was strange. After all, you become very resilient growing up in a community where you are always different. People around me believed less in my abilities, and it gave me extra strength to prove myself against them.
After finishing my degree in social work at Hanze University in the Netherlands, I traveled the world then moved to the beautiful city of Medellin, Colombia a few years later. When I returned to Colombia, I saw a striking difference in women’s role in society and was tired of it. The women I know are working, creating, providing, and fighting - and then there is such a huge gap between the sexes? That does not fit into our modern times. When I started the foundation, I knew right away that I wanted to work for equality, especially for women and children, because they have a right to equal and fair opportunities and treatment, like everybody else. I feel very strongly about this subject because this inequality is the reason behind my adoption. Now I am committed to changing the unequal conditions and working together for a fairer world.
**Board members do not receive any remuneration for their work. The board members can, however, receive compensation for the costs that they have reasonably incurred while performing their duties.