Young performer, advocate and leader

21 Jul 2015   |   Blog   |   Bolivia   |   Long-term Development

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Early on Saturday and Sunday mornings in Cochabamba city, Bolivia, a young girl can be seen leaving her house with a handcart full of plants she has grown to sell at market.

Carmel enjoys tending to her household garden, and proudly tells others that she knows a lot about plants.

Carmel has come a  long way.

Just two years ago she was very shy, lacked self-confidence and rarely spoke. Coming from a broken family, Carmel and her siblings were left to look after themselves, without the appropriate support from their parents. She had average school grades.

Then Carmel’s big sister, Roxana, introduced her to Educar es fiesta, a program supported by Caritas Australia.

Through the program, Carmel has acquired many skills, including dance, acrobatics, trapeze, music, and circus performing.

Roxana has seen her little sister transformed. “Carmel lost her shyness,” Roxana says. “She feels more confident, she has clear goals and her grades have improved a lot. But dance is what she likes the most.”

Carmel  is now one of the best students in her class. She is known as an active participant and is responsible with her homework.

Carmel, left, enjoys an art activity at school with her classmates. Photo: Educar es fiesta

Advocating for education

In April this year, Educar es fiesta joined a caravan called For the Right to Inclusive Education, which travelled around Bolivia presenting authorities with proposals for inclusive education.

The caravan encouraged respect for people’s differences, local knowledge and cultural diversity. Carmel was active in helping build the caravan’s proposals.

Carmel was chosen because she has undergone such an amazing change since joining the program. She has great memories of the trip, and says it was a wonderful experience.

Carmel and other children spreading the message about inclusive education. Photos: Educar es fiesta

Looking to the future

Carmel has also joined one of the political fronts at school and recently ran for student council president.

Who knows what this industrious girl will be doing in years to come? But, with the help of our supporters, her options are growing every day.

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