Voces Bolivianas Summit

This weekend, the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia will play host to the first annual Voces Bolivianas Summit. The three-day event is being called “Web 2.0 Para Todos” (Web 2.0 for Everyone) and is attracting 25 members of the Voces Bolivianas community, including participants and trainers. The festivities will include a public conference, mini-workshops, group discussions and a chance for everyone to get to know one another.

Here is the poster for the January 30 event:

Helping Bolivians in Argentina Find Their Voice

Estimates place the number of Bolivian immigrants living in neighboring Argentina anywhere from 250,000 to 1,000,000. Many crossed the border to find greener pastures, and its close proximity made it easier for many families to make the leap in comparison to other destinations such as the United States and Spain.

News from Argentina regarding the Bolivian population rarely make it to Bolivia unless it is about mistreatment, discrimination or other tragedies. However, we know that there is a rich tradition of Bolivians adapting to new surroundings, maintaining their customs, and participating in many positive activities.

Voces Bolivianas is pleased to announce its first step towards expanding our activities to work with the Bolivian population in Argentina. Earlier this year, we received an email from Juan Vasquez a member of the youth group Juventud Boliviana (Bolivian Youth). They already had a website, but wanted to find out more information about the use of blogs.

During a visit to Buenos Aires, I was able to meet Juan and show him firsthand examples of blogs and indicated that we would be very interested in helping him set up and maintain his own blog. When I returned to Bolivia, I received an email with the address to his blog that he created called Un Boliviano en la Argentina [es] (A Bolivian in Argentina).

Through email and instant messaging, I have been able to answer his questions, provide tips and support his blog. He also indicated that he would like to be a part of the Voces Bolivianas community and placed the badge “I Belong to Voces Bolivianas” on his site.

Even though he wants to use the site to tell others about the realities of Bolivians living in Argentina, which includes abuse from the police and other problems, he also writes about the positive activities in the community. His recent post is about a solidarity event for children called “Jovenes Unidos Por Los Niños” (United Youth for the Children), where different groups will help provide toys and provide games for Bolivian and other children in the neighborhood. See here for the flyer. The groups in the neighborhood..

se reunen para darles a los niños ya sean bolivianos o nó, una grata tarde en la cual como primer objetivo ellos puedan recordar los juegos q al dejar nuestro país dejaron de jugar, esos con los q crecieron y aprendieron las lecciones q solo la vida te la da a tan corta edad.

get together to give children, Bolivian or not, an enjoyable afternoon where the primary objective will be to show them the games that they left behind when they came to this country and which they grew up with, as well as learn lessons that are given at that age.

His group will participate once again this year on January 10th, and he summarizes last year's event, which only expected 300 children and in the end attracted more than 700 children.

La tarde fué emocionante desde un principio, ya q a la convocatoria no solamente se aproximaron mas jovenes sino tambien personas con alegria y con ganas de donar un poquito de lo q tenia para q alcanse para todos los chicos.

Tambien se acercaron personas con regalos, ropas, gaseosas, o con un simple pero importantisimo “puedo ayudar en algo?”

The afternoon was exciting from the very start, because not only more young people attended, but also other joyful people, who had the desire to donate a little of what they had so that it was enough for all of the children.

Other people came by with presents, clothes, soft drinks or with the simple, but important question, “can I help with something?”

We are looking forward to working more with Juan and his group and be able to expand our support for Bolivians living in Argentina.