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In Bolivia 40,4% of the population consumes less than the daily required nutritional substances, according to the National Statistics Institute of Bolivia. In Cochabamba this rate is of 39% and there is a particular subgroup, the working children, who live deprived from social opportunities. Despite the motivation and hard work of these children – which they are very proud of – they cannot beat the system. Very few get out of it, and many struggle to at minimum work with dignity. Though endless efforts and resources have been spent over the years to address such poverty issues, today we are no closer to solving any of them. The problem of poverty is multidimensional and requires systemic shifts at various levels. While macro-level interventions and strategies in the traditional way continue to be important; in terms of investing in areas as those identified by the millennium development goals; two important catalyzers of change are not as valued, and therefore not strengthened, as they should be: citizen engagement and local talent.
With Educating the Streets – Building Society we seek to break the barriers that prevent the development of their full potential, while shifting current social dynamics to strengthen our communities’ social capital. We believe the greatest engine for change is Youth.
ES-BS includes training performing arts, education and multi-sector collaboration in a integrative capacity building and entrepreneurial program that facilitates a work-study balance for working children, with increased capabilities and improved opportunities; while fostering engagement of the broader community throughout. Children, who are protagonists at all times and co-developers, receive support and tutoring for education, technical training and exchange experiences with local and international volunteers. They will participate in marketable activities, the revenues of which will be returned to children in an innovative and empowering manner.
The ultimate outcome? A transformed society, in which all individuals can fully exercise their rights, participate and contribute as citizens, build their capabilities and have equal access to social, health, environment and economic opportunities.