“Paramilitaries, guerrillas, drug violence and street crime have created an atmosphere of fear and instability,” the foundation's website says. “This hostility, along with lack of access to education, forced displacement, social injustice and weak governmental support ... are all contributing factors to the excessive poverty found in the country today.
“The lack of employment has generated high destitution, where 64 percent of the population lives in poverty. ... The lack of education has consequently led to a perpetual state of poverty and conflict, evidenced by starvation, teen pregnancy, prostitution, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and crime.”
Most funds raised by the foundation go directly to helping Colombia's children. Amaya's group is composed solely of volunteers.
If you go
Individual tickets to the gala are $40 in advance and $45 the night of the event. Sponsorships range from $110 to $880.
The gala will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market, 311 S Klein Ave. For more information or tickets, go to smilecolombia.org, email info@smilecolom