News

Two Women, Three Prisons - Part 2: Creativity

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Magaly and a Community AVPer Doing the Graduation Dance

We introduced you to Magaly and Mabel in Part 1, here. Now we'd like to tell you a bit more about their creativity and resourcefulness in nurturing Alternatives to Violence Project workshops and participants.

Two Women, Three Prisons - Part I: Courage

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Magaly and Mabel share a quiet moment lakeside

Sociology graduate Magaly Quispe is a former BQEF scholarship student who initially visited San Pedro Prison for her thesis research.  While she was there, she thought about doing AVP and asked for permission from the people in the social department - who said “Yes!”  Magaly convinced some of the other local facilitators to come in and help with the workshops, including her friend Mabel Mena Fonseca (also a BQEF scholarship student), who started out by helping with logistics – snacks, supplies, etc.

Women and Political Influence in Bolivia

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Bolivia is the first nation in the western hemisphere where both houses of the parliament or legislature are now headed by women.  This kind of dramatic social progress further inspires our work in support of educating and encouraging women in Bolivia.  Six of the 20 members of Evo’s cabinet are women.

Not parity yet, but headed that direction.

eta: Bolivia ranks 35th globally for women in the national legislature, compared to, say, the U.S. at 71st. See chart here.

A Lifelong Love of Learning

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Nancy Mamani Aspi in front of her home

Nancy Mamani Aspi comes from a family committed to education – her father is a teacher, her three siblings have stayed in school despite challenges.

In high school Nancy received a music scholarship so she could learn guitar, charango, and music theory.  She still loves music and practices guitar in her free time. Nancy was also chosen while still in high school to represent the indigenous young people of the Department of La Paz in a congress of eight Latin American countries held in Guatemala. The theme of the meeting was “Peace”.

What Are These Kids Doing Up So Late? Working on Their Future!

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Albertina and a T-shirt with her original design, ready to sell to help pay for a field trip

Working till 2:00 a.m. to fill orders might not be every teenager’s first choice, but that’s what David, Juana and William decided to do (unknown to we adults until the next morning) on my last night in Sorata this past trip. They were silk-screening designs on T-shirts requested by recent Study Tour visitors from California, determined to complete as many as possible for me to bring back to the US. I delivered them at a group reunion the next week, to everyone’s delight.

Call for Volunteers

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Art therapy workshop 2007

In our very first year, students at Friends schools and colleges as well as other adults began asking to volunteer.  Now they range in age from middle-school students in family groups to retired professionals.  Volunteers help with school and adult ed classes (especially English), and come home amazed at the richness of their experience. In 2011 one family with three teens participated, a doctoral student spent a full year, and a retired teacher from the UK spent four months.

Not ready for the Andes just yet? We also need volunteers for document translation, regional committees, and spreading the word about this work.

Do you have time and talent to share in support of Bolivian Friends education?  If you’d like to experience the joy and growth of volunteering on behalf of Friends in Bolivia, please send us an email at office_ (at)_bqef.org.

Bolivian Grads Give Back, Sponsor New Student

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From reports by Juan Yujra, Bernabé Yujra, Rubén Hilare, Beatriz Apaza, and Abigail Medina

One Saturday this past June, 17 of the 77 graduates of the BQEF Scholarship program gathered for a reunion. There they met the challenge of helping the next generation.

During the reunion, the Scholarship Committee and Bernabé Yujra presented a challenge: to support the next generation of Quaker young people who have the same needs that they had as students.  As part of this challenge, he asked for commitments to help at least one scholarship student in the second semester of 2011.  

Meet Irma
The former scholarship students responded generously and provided contributions and pledges that now support the first scholarship student sponsored in Bolivia.

Emmanuel Escuela welcomes Teachers

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El Alto is perched 1,000 feet above La Paz, the capital or Bolivia. When the sun glitters you stare down into a cascading spiral of lego-like houses. Once your lungs have adjusted to less oxygen, El Alto seems like Kansas City. Except everyone speaks Aymara or Spanish. Except there’s no SUVs. Except instead of greasy hamburgers, open markets sell quinoa drinks and fish soup.

I fell in love with the Aymara students at Emmanuel Friends school. I met Flavia, Marta, Estevan, and Eduardo in 2011 when I volunteered for 6 weeks. Some classes had 7 students but most classes had 18 students. In high school Bolivians study English twice a week. It’s usually their 3rd language and they can start it as early as 6th grade. Their class load is immense, and even 8th graders study philosophy and technical arts.

Waliki: Soothing a Weary Traveler

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Jhobana welcomes Minga to Sorata

 Kamisast’asa? Jisa, Waliki? How are you? Are you well?

The Latest Scholar Joins BQE

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Pablo with BQE Class 2011

 

Pablo Pillco Cultipa joined our BQE family 2 months ago. In fact, he was added as our 40th, and we’re fortunate to have him. BQEF in 2011 decided our budget could increase our number of scholarship students.

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