Partner Program: Brother Manolo Centre (Centro Hermano Manolo)
When Sandra was only 6 years old her family left their small town in the mountains and migrated to Cochabamba in search of better life opportunities. Their small town was located among the mountains in Potosí Department, which is over 4,000 metres above sea level, in the south of Bolivia.
The family had many difficulties when they first arrived in the city mainly for not speaking Spanish as they only spoke Quechua. This situation frustrated the father who started to have drinking problems. He would leave home for several days and the mother and children remained alone. Due to this situation, Sandra and all her brothers started to work, with her mother, to cover their basic needs. When it was time to go to school, they had to work double to be able to buy their school supplies and uniforms.
Three years ago, Sandra visited the Brother Manolo Centre for the first time at the invitation of her older brother, Eloy. At times she was too busy to attend the Centre regularly as she was working in an electronic games park. Her job was to monitor and charge for each game, it wasn’t a difficult task, but the schedule was a challenge for a 14-year-old who worked from 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Her teachers told the Brothers’ that she would fall asleep in class and forget her books.
Sandra is now 17; she lives with her parents in a small rented house. There are seven at home, five children (3 boys and 2 girls) and the two parents. She is the second child. She quit her job at the games park and started selling jellies on the market “La Cancha”.
It’s been more than a year since she began attending the Centre frequently. Last year she took the leadership course at the Maryknoll Institute. She successfully completed it and has since been representing the Centre in several meetings with other organizations. This year, Sandra completed her technical training as a hairdresser while still in high school in her last year. At school she has changed completely. She is focused and an outstanding student and leader.
The Brother Manolo Centre is focused on helping and conselling Sandra’s family and her parents. Earlier this year, Eloy, her older brother, with the help of the Centre, managed to enter University and is currently studying Social Work. It is wonderful to also hear that both parents are proud of their children and grateful to the Centre for the support and education they have received.
Sandra has a part-time job as a hairdresser. She is one of the best hairdressers according to her employer. She has time to attend the Centre almost every day. She is also part of the Committee of Children, Teen Girls in Cochabamba. She participates in the teenage group of the Centre and in the near future, Sandra wants to start her own business as a hairdresser.