Meet HIAS Colombia’s Fundraising Expert

By Beverly Goldberg

Meet HIAS Colombia’s Fundraising Expert

Jael Goldschmidt at the HIAS Colombia office on February 6, 2024. (María Fernanda Hernández López/HIAS)

Jael Goldschmidt serves as the senior institutional development coordinator and a founding member of HIAS Colombia. In her current role, she supports the country office with identifying and applying for funding opportunities for programs. Here’s what she had to say about her time working with HIAS.

Tell us about your journey with HIAS Colombia.

I joined HIAS Colombia five years ago. Around that time, we were starting to open our first-ever office in Barranquilla, on the Caribbean coast. During our first year of operations, we received support from HIAS Ecuador and our global team to get started. We also spent a lot of time exploring different areas of the country to carry out needs assessments and to develop tools that would allow us to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need.

One of my favorite memories from my time with HIAS was seeing the first group of women that we supported through our economic inclusion program in Barranquilla. The women bonded as a group and built a support network. It was really nice to see how they provided each other with mental health support and how they gave each other advice about how to access essential services in their new city.

Why is supporting refugees important to you?

Working at HIAS and supporting refugees matters to me because I come from a family of three generations of refugees and migrants. My grandparents fled Europe during the Holocaust and sought refuge in Latin America. Little did they know, my parents would also have to flee from Colombia to Venezuela to escape the armed conflict.

When I was an adult, I returned to Colombia to start working with HIAS and have been living here ever since. Because of this, I can relate to what other people are going through when they leave their homes, and I understand the challenges they face to start a new life abroad.

Why did you join the HIAS Colombia team?

I had always wanted to work in the humanitarian sector, and HIAS gave me the chance to do that. Working at HIAS is an opportunity for me to share some light with the world by doing what I love to do, and what I do best.

If you could choose either a word or a phrase that best represents your work with HIAS, what would it be?

The phrase that represents my work with HIAS the most is hachnasat orchim (“welcome” in Hebrew). This phrase encapsulates the welcoming atmosphere that we create for our participants, but also for our team members and partner organizations here in Colombia.

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