Press Release — July 01, 2020

Johana Bahamón Gómez Honored as One of the 2020 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World


July 1, 2020, St. Louis, USA — For her impressive activism and unwavering commitment to criminal justice reform, Johana Bahamón Gómez of Colombia has been selected as a 2020 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) Honoree in the category of Contribution to Children, World Peace and/or Human Rights.

Johana Bahamón Gómez began her career as an actress in 2000 and participated in fifteen TV productions. However, she realized she had a greater calling and stepped away from the screen to dedicate her time to the prison population. In 2012, she created a theater group at the women’s prison El Buen Pastor in Bogotá, which strengthened her bond and solidified her interest in criminal justice reform.

Ms. Bahamón Gómez took her activism even further when she created Acción Interno Foundation (Internal Action Foundation) in 2013 with the aim of dignifying and improving the quality of life for the prison and post-prison populations in Colombia. By connecting entrepreneurs with national and international organizations, she has made it her goal to transform, reclaim and reconcile the prison population with civil society.

She has continued to push the boundaries as an advocate for inmates. In 2016, she founded and created INTERNO, the first restaurant open to the public in a women’s prison. INTERNO was selected as TIME Magazine’s 2018 World’s Greatest Places. Motivated by the success of the restaurant, she replicated this model in 2019 to create AGENCIA INTERNA, the first publicity agency inside a men’s prison.

Currently, the Acción Interno Foundation has completed 31 interventions in Colombian prisons, reaching 40,000 inmates to promote reintegration, social inclusion and dignity. Ms. Bahamón Gómez continues to use her platform to raise awareness among civil society of opportunities for the prison population and destigmatize their experience. She has won several awards, including Social Entrepreneur of the Year EY Colombia 2017 and Inclusive Leader 2019 by ANDI Foundation and USAID. Johana inspires many through her belief in freedom and the immense power of second chances.

About JCI TOYP: JCI (Junior Chamber International) honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and have extraordinary accomplishments regarding individual development, business and entrepreneurship, community action and international cooperation. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young leaders create positive change on a local and global level.

The ten honorees will be recognized at the 2020 JCI Awards Ceremony at the 2020 JCI World Congress in November.

About JCI: JCI, a global leadership organization, provides personal and professional development opportunities to young leaders age 18 to 40. Through its international network of around 110 countries, JCI unites all sectors of society and empowers the leaders of tomorrow to create positive and lasting change today. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Alex Vietor
Communications Manager

Share this article
Support our impact! Donations fund numerous national and international projects contributing to training, development and sustainable, positive change around the world.