Interview with René Escalera
René Escalera has dedicated 14 years to Alfalit International and is now Executive Director of Alfalit Bolivia.
What inspired you to join Alfalit International and stay active every day?
The reason I was inspired to join Alfalit was its vision and the programs that are directed towards poor people with few opportunities for advancement. We are able to effectively implement projects that provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people through education.
Also, the interest and motivation of the students to learn to read and write, despite their limitations. The volunteer teachers work with care, and from a place of goodness in their hearts.
Who are the students? How does your team, and Alfalit in general, affect them?
They are families of indigenous origin, humble, with scarce economic resources. Each family is composed of 4 children, they work in agriculture, raising cattle; others work in informal commerce, as hawkers and vendors on the street. Most women are housewives, caring for their children and the home.
Because it is a vulnerable population and our team knows the psychology of the illiterate adult, they are motivated with topics of leadership, values, women’s rights, family planning, and exemplifying stories of life changes. On the other hand, they carry out activities of fellowship such as: cooking, celebrating birthdays, games, and giving advice about problems they have. Alfalit motivates them to complete the offered programs, and immediately introduces teaching texts and provides bibles to the interested students to strengthen human values.
What have been the biggest challenges and limitations facing Alfalit’s affiliate
- Our students that learn to read and write reach a basic level of education.
- Ensuring the students are active and productive through family business entrepreneurship.
- Strengthening human values through the reading of the word of God.
- That private and public institutions recognize Alfalit as one of the best programs in the country.
- Permanent social conflicts.
- The political impositions of the government towards different community leaders.
- Finding volunteer facilitators and supervisors with a vocation for teaching and service.
- The different languages and or native languages that the students speak.
- The disperse areas and access to the marginal neighborhoods and communities.
Tell us an outstanding success story from the last year.
Ms. Rosa Estrada from Sucre, a humble, poor woman who helped with cleaning the New Jerusalem Church, enrolled in Alfalit’s literacy program and learned to read and write. She continued studying until she completed the sixth course of basic education, in parallel she took the technical vocation “cooking” courses, where she learned how to make broaster chicken, starting with selling chicken in a small garage located in the Palestinian neighborhood. Her sales slowly increased, she rented another area that was bigger, two of her children began to help her, which is how the entire family got involved in the business. The life of Rosa was changing, it improved her income, her children became motivated to get a higher education, they made some improvements in their home, and now they have the vision of selling food in other places, thanks to the programs of Alfalit Bolivia.
What do you want people to know about Alfalit?
Alfalit is a positive impact on the students and their families.