CNN Hero Jenifer ColpasA half-century of armed conflict left many Colombians without basic services. This CNN Hero is delivering water, power an...CNN Hero Jenifer Colpas
A half-century of armed conflict left many Colombians without basic services. This CNN Hero is delivering water, power and sanitation to those who need it most
Growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia, Jenifer Colpas was mostly shielded from the poverty outside her door.
It wasn't until after college, when she moved to India for a job in information technology, that she appreciated the vast social inequalities people endure.
"Something inside me (was) saying, 'You need to do something about it,'" Colpas said, which is why she changed her career path.
She returned to Colombia, settled in Cartagena and volunteered with community organizations that helped people living in poverty.
"I felt very saddened to see that people were living without the most basic things," she said. "People don't have clean drinking water, indoor plumbing, electricity."
She wanted to do more to help bring these essentials to communities most in need.
In 2015, with the help of friends, Colpas co-founded Tierra Grata. Today, the non-profit provides access to clean water, solar-powered lights and electricity along with eco-toilets and showers for remote rural communities throughout Colombia.
"We didn't know anything at first, but we had all the determination," Colpas said.
Colpas, now 31, and her team of other young like-minded counterparts currently serve 35 communities and their services have helped improve the quality of life for more than 10,000 people.