The foundation was established on May 15th 2014 in the Netherlands by Karen Hessels and Ryan Franca.
As part of her Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Barcelona in Spain, Karen traveled to Colombia to learn more about indigenous cultures. There are nowadays approximately 87 indigenous groups in Colombia and was fortunate to meet an Arhuacan family who invited her to spend some months with them in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. She was immediately impressed by their simplicity, spirituality and wisdom as well as by the mystical surroundings. During her stay she was impacted by their character and resolve, because despite having lived so many setbacks they continue to be extremely proud of whom they are and show infallible strength to continue fighting for the preservation of their culture. Based on this experience Karen wrote her thesis on the transformation that took place over the last three decades within this indigenous group and the way they combined Modern (Western) tools and practices to strengthen their cause and struggle to preserve their own culture.
Since coming back to Europe Karen has been looking for opportunities to support indigenous cultures in Latin America and particularly in Colombia in their struggle for self-preservation. After being approached by a member from the Arhuaco community of Sogromin to support his project to rebuild a school, Karen and Ryan decided this is a challenge they could take on themselves and decided to establish a foundation.
As a Medical Doctor Ryan thought it would be a good idea to compliment the foundation with projects promoting childhood health and disease prevention.
Foundation protect our Cultures was so created with the mission to help preserve the cultures and traditions of indigenous groups, through the promotion of their culture and assistance in improving their overall well-being.
Our strengths and methods
- We are a qualified team consisting of anthropologists, medics, project managers and fundraisers
- Continuous contact with indigenous peoples
- You can choose which project you wish to support
- We have access to unique, hand made products
- Experience in the field and in conducting qualitative research
- Support projects created and led by members of indigenous groups
- Transparency; you'll be informed about the contribution you've made
- You can order the products from any location