2941_historia_mis-suenos2 My name is Fabiola, I am 19 and live with my parents Emilio and Elsa, and my siblings José, Arminda and Fabian. This year is very special for me because I finished High school and I will study in a Gastronomy school near my home.  I believe this is the result of years of effort and knowledge earned in the Project Un Nuevo Caminar.

I’ve attended Un Nuevo Caminar Project for around 10 years,  participated in the Youth Club activities. I learned, for example, the importance for fulfill my dreams and chase my best opportunities to achieve something. One of them: become a professional chef and make my dream come true.

I am really thankful with Childfund and my sponsor Timothy, I have received a lot of support to reach my dream. With their advices and donations I had the chance to buy school material, and their letter encouraged me never to surrender.

The Project was an important part of my life. After school, I used to go to the Youth Club and participate in lots of activities about leadership, violence prevention or micro projects to improve solutions for my neighborhood with other boys and girls. That was a moment to share our experiences too.

I also had the chance to travel to other cities; I was chosen to represent my project in the National Clubs Meetings and gather with other Club members from Bolivia. There are so many good memories with my friends. I am very thankful for all those to ChildFund.

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OUR FIRST STEPS TOWARD OUR FUTURE

Bolivian youth are changing the way of thinking in a new business. 62 youth were part of an innovating project funded by Barnfonden to help them to create and develop their own business plan.

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THE BEGINNING

Oruro is a small town located in the Bolivian southern side, last century the region had its golden era with mine activities but today most of its populations work with formal and informal commerce, due to the near Chilean border, this is the main economic activity. Youth in this town look for an income source to help their family but the lack of knowledge about basic business management is an obstacle. “There are courses about this but they are expensive”, tells Alvaro Vargas, ´Estrella del Sur´ program coordinator, “enrolled youth can´t afford them and their future is unknown. With this opportunity we can give a hand to great youth ideas.”

ChildFund Bolivia and Barnfonden from Sweden developed a project to help these girls and boys with free technical and financial instruction about business development, “we must help our families, this is a great opportunity because they give us technical training, and also materials are free. Of course we must compromise our time and commitment to complete the course and create our small business” says Diego, one of the youth entrepreneurs.

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THE PROCESS

This project had different steps: 62 girls and boys were selected by their ideas and commitment, each one with a business idea. There were chefs, artisans and engineers who trained them and helped to develop that primal idea. Then, they also learned about business image and marketing; of course finance managing took part in training too. “These boys and girls are an example for us. I know many of them since their first years. There is hidden genius among us” tells Isabel Mamani, ‘Jesús de Nazaret’ Project coordinator. “they learned about finance and numbers very fast. Suddenly they were able to calculate costs and benefits,” tells very happy.

“It is amazing how these young boys and girls have unique ideas”, tells, Mayra Andrade, chef in charge of baking courses. “They have huge expectations, and the most interesting is their age: fourteen, sixteen year-old boys but with big dreams.”

Finally, after 9 months of technical training, they can proudly present their ideas to the public. They managed to have an exposition in the local government hall. That morning investors and local authorities visited every stand where girls and boys explained their ideas.

THE RESULT

That day, eight projects were selected by different investors and other 42 are in a promising negotiating process. That new experience for all youth entrepreneurs was also a value lesson. “I feel I am a winner,” says Max, he is 16 and created an electrical repair services business, “despite I get an investment today or later, or if I must re think my idea, I know I can reach my goal now because learned how to improve my ideas.”

What comes next? Every project selected by an investor must prove it works; the other ones must improve some weak points to get investments too. Oruro might look as a small city but it is full of gigantic ideas for sure.

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Our firts steps with entrepeneurship

Jaime is 15 and lives in Oruro, one of the main cities in the southwestern side of Bolivia. Jaime is part of JORFEOR, a local youth goldsmith organization created with the help of ChildFund Bolivia and its Local Partner “Renovación Madre niño”. This small organization reunites sponsored and enrolled youth in Oruro.

 From November 20th to 29th, 2015 these youth attended Expoteco, the main commercial fair in Oruro, to sell the handmade jewelry and generate business with other buyers. We visited the stand and interviewed Jaime about this new experience.

 

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Jaime, (wearing the white jacket) selling at EXPOTECO

How do you feel about this experience? 

 I feel happy and excited. When I was chosen to attend the fair I was astonished. I have some experience selling things. I help my mom selling in the market since I was 7 years old.

During the first days at EXPOTECO I felt intimidated. There were a lot of people; some of them were big business men and business owners. We were just kids, but despite this fear we were able to talk with people, with customers and other business people. It was a challenge and we had to face it. Besides, this jewelry was made by our hands and this gave us confidence.

 

Were you prepared for this experience?

I had some experience as salesperson, this was some helpful. However this was a different kind of audience. People had more money and wanted good quality products. I realized I needed more experience on selling, talking and convincing people to buy my products.

 

What were you expecting for?

Well, my products were engagement rings, but somewhat of them were too big or too small for the customer’s fingers. I also learned a lot about planning and preparedness for selling. I feel confident because I also have a lot of requests and business intentions.

Our group sold about 35 items; we made some business contacts and our brand “ARCANGEL JOYAS” became known by others. At the end we started to enjoy the business movement and organization. In the future I would like to study Business Administration or create my own company.

 

Would you change something if you had the opportunity?

Well, one important thing is to work full-time in the stand. Since I am still attending school I worked at the stand just half time.

It is necessary to have more rings, for different finger sizes and different models. Now I know which ones people want and which are their favorites.

I realize it is also important to have a printed catalog, business cards and merchandising material.

I would also like to learn other goldsmith techniques and about selling strategies.  Of course, we want to sell more.

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Members of ARCANGEL JOYAS at the fair.

I feel safer and happier now

My name is Elmer, I am 10 and I have four best friends in my Project. We do a lot of things every day, such as playing football or going to the Children’s Club in our neighborhood.

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At the beginning it was different. I was shy and my older sister used to take me to the Club. We ride a public bus because it is a bit far, although I was afraid of the other kids, I didn’t know them and maybe they would make jokes about me. That’s why I was always just next to my sister. One day the Club was working with photography cameras and they invited me to use one and learn about it.

They told us to make groups and take pictures in our neighborhood. Our group realized we don’t have water service, public lights and at night it is dangerous to walk alone. That’s how I met my friends.

Together we also learned about Leadership and team work. Now I realize the Children’s Club is a funy place to go after school.

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This week we started the ECC activities (Education and communication’s corner). They have great games, I am learning about drawing and writing.

Now it is not necessary to ask my sister to go with me to the Project. My four friends and I gather at the bus stop and attend the Club together.