Thursday, December 13, 2012

a dream not deferred

When Pedro Argani arrived at the UAC-CP in 2004 he chose to major in Education because he wanted to support the development of Bolivia. Today, the 2011 graduate is actively executing that dream.
UAC-CP Education graduate Pedro Argani.

For the past three years, Pedro has worked as a youth educator and advocate for a non-profit organization that serves children who live on the streets of the city of El Alto. The mission of the organization is to help young people live lives of dignity. "We believe in change; we believe in the whole person," Pedro explains.

An important part of his work is taking the time to get to know young people first--asking their names, their likes, their interests, and their dreams. "I can tell you their stories; I know who each of them are." Once Pedro develops relationships with the children, his job is to focus on finding them resources, like safe shelter and schools; hoping those he works with also will gain the benefits of education.

Pedro estimates that he and his team of four eductors support approximately 500 girls and boys per year (average ages 8-16). "The children are living on the streets most often because of violence at home--physical, emotional, and sexual. In some cases, the children are abandoned by their parents or they are victims of human trafficking."

While he loves his job and is very proud of his role to support children, Pedro admits that the work can be physically demanding and emotionally exhausting. He recalls a recent instance when a 16-year-old boy died of an overdose. "We had a very close relationship," Pedro recalls solemnly.

A native of Coroico, the mountain town located just 45 minutes from the College, Pedro says the UAC-CP was his only opportunity to study at the college level. Because of his family's very limited economic situation (his mother is a street vendor and his father is a carpenter by trade), the cost of tuition, room, board, transportation, and books in the capital city of La Paz was out of the question.

Thankfully, he was awarded a half-scholarship to pay for tuition. With good grades and behavior, he maintained his scholarship for all five years of study; financial support that Pedro says was a "huge help."

Pedro believes the UAC-CP prepared him both professionally and personally. "More than anything, the UAC-CP is where I developed as a person. The mission of the College...that is what instilled me with the values of working together and supporting the greater good. In my life and in my work," he said, "I'm committed to helping other people."

This article is part of Carmen Pampa Fund's Annual Appeal.  If you have already made a donation to Carmen Pampa Fund this year: THANK YOU! If you haven't, please take the time to give the gift of education to other young Bolivians like Pedro.  Give today.