As we begin the International Year of Youth, Berta, a 19-year-old Bolivian in her first year at university, describes how she found her way to a better future with support from her community and ChildFund’s after-school programs that focus on math, language, self-expression, reading, writing and computer technology. Because the Bolivian education system lacks many core components, most children miss out on important basic learning and skill-development classes. –Reported by Monica Planas, ChildFund Americas Regional Communications Manager
My name is Berta. I came to the ChildFund Avance Comunitario Community Center near La Paz when I was four. I have siblings who are also enrolled.
I was very shy and quiet, I used to sit in a corner and never participate. Growing up I discovered I wanted more, so I signed up for leadership and self-esteem courses at the ChildFund community center. They’ve helped me out so much that now I’m a totally different person. I’m open-minded. It has contributed to lots of things especially at school. Last year I ran for president of the student council and won.
Many recognized my hard work and I was able to form my own group. Because I’ve been good at what I do, I’m now working at the community center and helping younger children. I like being here because it’s fun. You have the opportunity to participate in workshops. We also receive human rights speeches. You’re able to make new friends.
I’m now studying at university and participating in the university student council as well. I have this capacity because ChildFund and the staff at Avance Comunitario offered me the opportunity to take these trainings.
Everyone at the community center has supported me in one way or another; now it’s my opportunity to guide and help the new generation.