Laura Ulloa is a political scientist from the University of the Andes, with a specialization in organizations, social responsibility and development. She has worked for the Security Council of the United Nations in New York, with the Colombian Agency for Reintegration and currently serves as a coordinator for Social Projects at the Corona Foundation in Colombia. However, when she was just 11 years old, Ulloa was kidnapped and held captive by FARC for seven months.
Her ordeal started in 1999 when she and her family were victims of one of the biggest mass kidnappings in Colombia. A group of guerrilla members dressed in military fatigues captured around 300 people attending church. While she and her family were able to escape, others were not so fortunate. Two years later on September 20, 2001, members of the FARC-EP hijacked her school bus and took her as the sole hostage. Despite the pain endured by her and her family, today Ulloa offers us an interesting perspective through a refreshing and encouraging story for times of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Her latest endeavor was to bring together a former paramilitary fighter, former FARC combatant and the daughter of a former M-19 guerrilla member, to start YTA, a leather goods and accessories brand. With this entrepreneurship, she wants to show that it is possible to start again, to sell products with a story and, most importantly, to highlight that reformed rebels have trades and talents that can replace weapons and warfare.