Nadia Sánchez: A Beacon of Hope for Colombian Women and Girls

Nadia Sánchez has borne witness to the resilience of Colombians across different territories. Over the course of nearly eight years, she has traversed the country with her foundation, She Is, an initiative that has transformed the lives of thousands of women and hundreds of girls.

Early Years and Inspiration

A 33-year-old business administrator and human rights specialist, Sánchez embarked on her professional journey with an internship at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington. Soon after, she was hired as a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It was during this time, while observing the peace process with the FARC from afar, that she noticed the minimal participation of women in the negotiations. Recognizing that women were among the most affected by the armed conflict, she found her life’s purpose: to work for female victims of the conflict.

The Birth of She Is

Driven by her newfound purpose, Sánchez conceived She Is, a project aimed at creating economic models for entrepreneurship among women. Despite initial setbacks, including a rejection by the IDB, Sánchez remained undeterred. She discovered a competition for emerging entrepreneurs at the White House and emerged as the winner, securing seed capital to launch her project. Moreover, she was invited by then-President Barack Obama to travel to Kenya and participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Returning Home with a Mission

Empowered by this experience, Sánchez returned to Colombia with a clear mission: to alleviate poverty among women, and to provide them with opportunities in education and entrepreneurship. Influenced by her family’s legacy of service—her mother working with single mothers and her father teaching individuals with hearing disabilities—Sánchez was determined to make a difference.

She Is Today

She Is now operates through two main initiatives. “Ella es Esmeralda” (She is Emerald) focuses on empowering women who are victims of the conflict, benefiting 17,406 women and establishing empowerment centers in Arauca, Tolima, and Putumayo. “Ella es Astronauta” (She is Astronaut) is a six-month program that has trained 560 girls in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) skills. The program culminates in a week-long training session at NASA with female astronauts, opening doors for many beneficiaries to pursue higher education.

Transforming Lives: Mirley’s Story

Sánchez fondly recalls the story of Mirley, a young woman from a rural area of Magdalena who couldn’t read or write. A victim of the conflict and displaced from her home, Mirley’s life epitomized the social neglect prevalent in the country. With the support of She Is, she completed her high school education and vocational training, and today, she runs her own textile business—a testament to her resilience and the impact of She Is.

Lessons Learned and Ongoing Efforts

Reflecting on her journey, Sánchez emphasizes the resilience of women and girls, noting their ability to turn pain into opportunities. She believes that by dignifying their lives, it’s possible to change their realities. Beyond economic empowerment, She Is also focuses on reducing the gender gap in Colombia, providing education on preventing teenage pregnancy and violence to girls.

Milestones and Impact

Over the past eight years, She Is has achieved numerous milestones. From convening 126 women leaders in Tame during an ELN armed strike in 2019 to organizing the largest gender equity forum in Latin America in Cartagena, where 340 projects were consolidated, the impact of She Is resonates across the region.

Extending Dreams Across Borders

Sánchez’s dreams have extended beyond Colombia’s borders, impacting women and girls in Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, and the United States. For this Bogotá native, raised in Cajicá, peace is built with women and girls leading the way, transforming realities with their compassion and leadership.


In conclusion, Nadia Sánchez’s journey with She Is exemplifies the power of determination, compassion, and resilience in transforming lives and communities. Through her unwavering commitment to empowering women and girls, she has become a beacon of hope not only in Colombia but across Latin America and beyond. As she continues her mission, Nadia Sánchez stands as a testament to the belief that peace and prosperity can be achieved when women and girls are given the tools and opportunities to thrive.