Stories of Change

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Jeremy Hurtado

"I haven't decided what I want to study yet... I like to draw, and I would like to create a shelter for street animals: pick them up and give them to people who can adopt them. I especially like rabbits. Sometimes I also think about becoming a firefighter to help people in need."

Jeremy is laughter, kindness, four tongue twisters, and a sustained pencil drawing. With the smile of those who dream of being great since childhood, he forges his future with a desire to learn.

In his mind, there is no impossibility of learning. He always comes up with a different idea, with an ingenious idea to solve that fear he would feel if he couldn't go to school: "If I couldn't study, I would ask a friend to teach me, I would work, I would find a way..."

Jeremy is not ashamed to speak in Spanish or English. He came to Cali at the age of five after living "far away, over there in Huila". Finding him a school was a real odyssey until he met La Fontaine, where he receives quality education and bilingualism in the 20th commune of Cali. When he entered La Fontaine, he began to speak English fluently. His grandparents were terrified when he greeted them with a "hello" and when he formulated perfect sentences in that foreign language.

Of the four years that Jeremy has been in school, the happiest moments he has experienced are small victories that awaken a downpour of joy within him: declaiming -without making a mistake- four tongue twisters in front of a demanding audience, getting a perfect score for answering a math exercise from first grade, and becoming the class representative with the decisive vote that one of his classmates gave him after a clean but close competition.

Jeremy is an inspiring leader. Almost always, he answers the questions he is asked with another question:

"Jeremy, what would you do if you didn't have a notebook?"

"Seeing the other kids using their notebooks and me sitting there, unable to write anything? Oh no... that's really tough! With a notebook or a little notebook on hand, you can pass on the information and everything you learn. The information stays there, even if time passes, and later, if you forget and need to remember it, you review your notes and remember. That's the good thing about a notebook. If I didn't have a notebook... I would ask a friend to lend me theirs.

"I would tell children without a notebook to try to remember all the knowledge in their minds... although I would like to accompany Educambio and distribute notebooks to these children, asking others to please recycle the paper they don't use from their old notebooks to create new ones."

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