Fundación Educativa Madre Butler (“Fundemabu”) is a private, Catholic school for girls and young women from economically disadvantaged families originally begun in Marymount’s classrooms after school by Mother Vianney Stewart, RSHM, in 1957. In 1960, with a group of parents, students and alumnae, Mother Jean Baptiste, RSHM, convinced the city council to donate a piece of land and constructed the one-story school building still in use today. Mother Annunciata, RSHM, founder of the three Marymount schools in Colombia, directed the “Escuela Gratuita de la Madre Butler” in its first years firmly establishing its mission, Catholic identity, and connection to Marymount. The Mother Butler Educational Foundation is well-known in the city for the formation of Christian values as well as for academic excellence, ranking among the top 500 schools nationally. Today all of Fundemabu’s graduates have the possibility of continuing their studies at the university level, some even earning scholarships.
While Fundemabu offers free education to approximately 350 girls and young women from preschool through high school, the quality of education they receive is expensive and is ultimately the responsibility of the Marymount community. From its beginning, a percentage of Marymount’s tuitions was enough to support Fundemabu. But this became more and more difficult to manage as the years went by. In 2016, as the Board was about to initiate construction of the new facilities for Marymount in Sabanilla, it was forced to recognize that Marymount could no longer provide the funds for Fundemabu and announced its closing. Many in the community reacted strongly to this sad news and moved heaven and earth to find the way to continue the Foundation. Thankfully, since 2017, financial help approximating 35% of the annual operating budget has been offered by the local government, but the rest must be obtained by Marymount through ongoing donations and fund-raising activities.
As part of the mission we have inherited from the RSHM Founders, Marymount Barranquilla families and alumni are committed to continuing Fundemabu, carrying on the tradition of offering a brighter future to these girls and young women whose lives have a positive impact on their families and communities.