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Testimonial: Denise Lama

I found out about Sustainable Bolivia on the internet while researching internships on development in South America. The things that motivated me the most were that the program looked very organized, that it was affordable, and that a wide range possibilities were available to choose from. I knew exactly that I wanted to intern with Pro Mujer when I saw it as an option under Sustainable Bolivia’s interning options. After contacting John, National Director at Sustainable Bolivia, everything from there went smoothly and quickly.

I sent in my resume and after a couple of weeks had been accepted to the position with the organization. Pro Mujer is an international micro credit organization for women which not only offers micro credit services, but also training and basic health services to women and young entrepreneurs. I spent 3 months working closely with the Promotions team. During my time there, I was given a great amount of responsibility which allowed me to learn a lot and gain plenty of experience. Every day, I would go to different sites (both rural and urban) to inform women in poverty stricken areas about Pro Mujer’s services.

We would go door-do-door, or with a megaphone, inviting them to a neighborhood meeting that we would hold in a main plaza or shop of the area. After several women gathered, we would give informative meetings which covered the basics of Pro Mujer’s services. Days were very agitated, as we would spend great part of our days traveling by buses and walking long distances to reach as many potential clients as possible. Even though it was hard work, it was very rewarding. Many women would come to our meetings and join Pro Mujer for better opportunities. Besides being constantly in the field talking to women about Pro Mujer, I was also involved in developing a Promotions Manual for the Promotions team. This project was part of a wider proposal presented by other volunteers and I to Sustainable Bolivia and another organization for funding marketing programs within Pro Mujer.

With our proposal, Pro Mujer received enough funds to purchase an amplification system, a tent, bags and uniforms for Pro Mujer promotions staff. Finally, together with the Promotions Coordinator, we organized a public speaking and interpersonal skills workshop for the Promotions staff. I lived in the Sustainable Bolivia main house, where around 10 other volunteers and some of the SB staff live as well. The area in which it was located was perfect, as it was close to a main plaza and to the center. Also, it was very safe. Often, we would go out together or with volunteers living elsewhere.

The SB staff also organized a series of events in the house, and were happy to give us ideas about where to go and what to visit while in Cochabamba and Bolivia in general. They were also very active in keeping us informed about the festivals and cultural parties celebrated in the region. Overall, my experience with Sustainable Bolivia was excellent. The people are friendly, helpful and very positive. I recommend SB to everyone who would like to see Bolivia and work with organizations such as Pro Mujer or others.

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