Developing a sense of entrepreneurship in Colombia

Colombia

A year ago I applied to America Solidaria, without being fully aware of the challenge that I would face. This experience has made me more human and more sensitive and flexible to the difficulties that arise day to day. Every good and difficult moment was necessary in order to have a comprehensive understanding, and being out of my comfort zone has taught me to live in a permanent renewal of the mind and soul. I firmly believe that we can create our own opportunities, and volunteering for America Solidaria gave me the tools to help others, and at the same time to generate opportunities for teenagers.

The project “Reescribiendo mi Historia” (Rewriting my Story) was developed within the OPNI institution, and workshops are taught within the schedule of activities. Our workshops are focused on the development of life skills and occupational skills related to youth entrepreneurship. We also collaborate in other activities that take place in the institution, such as accompanying visits by other volunteers, assisting other teachers, etc. I even contributed in the kitchen, and I have learned what it means to cook for 70 people daily!

In this first year of the project we set in motion activities to build a space dedicated to youth entrepreneurship within the institution. There are many challenges yet, but we hope it can be consolidated in the coming years of the project.

For example, creating an entrepreneurship fair with 15 teenagers has been a remarkable achievement where they showed the different skills they developed. Our goal hinged on improving the lives of teenagers and perhaps also their families, through the contribution to their welfare and family economy. And it’s not enough to share knowledge, it is also very important to know that it has been understood. The theme entrepreneurship has echoed in their lives through the recognition of the meaning of the word. And the fact that teenage girls identified that there are entrepreneurs in their families was more valuable because they gauge the effort of their parents and see that it is not easy to start from nothing.

I will always remember all the love I received from the teenagers with whom we worked, and how they showed their affection in little details, words, and asking for our emotional support when they were going through difficult times. Working on the project gave me great satisfaction in knowing that I was in the right time and moment.

Undeniably, I have developed professionally in areas that I hadn’t explored before, through working with other vulnerable populations different from what I had experienced, and trying new work methodologies.

I consider it essential that young people try to be part of a volunteer program, because being part of an organization that works on social projects makes a difference in your way of thinking and acting. You obtain a different perspective on things, and helps to understand the phrase “do not judge someone because you don’t know which battle are fighting in their lives.” I’m satisfied with what I do, with what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished. This experience has helped me to strengthen my passion for social projects, which for me is a space of time and place that produces changes, with actions that impact the world in a positive way.