“Before I had my ID, I felt sad. My parents couldn’t find work anywhere because they didn’t have their birth certificates either. It was difficult for them, walking around selling sweets and caramels every day. Sometimes it was freezing cold, other times it was raining. Some days, we didn’t manage to sell anything which meant we didn’t have money to buy food.” Ines
Ines is a charismatic and happy 9-year-old who lives in La Paz, Bolivia with her family. Not long ago, her life changed when she and her family received their identity documents.
An education for the future
For Ines, officially existing meant she could finally go to school. Not only did she have a name to enrol under, but she could also access a government scheme that gives education vouchers to children from vulnerable backgrounds. These vouchers help to offset the costs of things like transport to school, books and uniforms, making education accessible to thousands of children just like Ines – once they have their identity documents.
“Now, I feel so happy because my whole family has their ID cards. I’m enrolled in school, I get school vouchers and can go to an after school club to get help with my homework. We can also travel and my parents have new jobs.” Ines
For Ines’ parents, Waldo and Dowal, they’ve been able to leave their days of selling sweets and caramels on the streets and buses behind. Now, they both have stable, salaried jobs in restaurants – giving them the certainty of being able to support Ines’ dreams, as well as their own.
On the road to success
Little by little, Ines’ parents have been working to improve the life of their family. Ultimately, they are hoping to open a bank account with the dream of saving enough money to open their own restaurant.
Each day, Ines wakes up at 7am and is the first in the bathroom. “The night before each day, my parents get my school uniform ready for me. We have breakfast together and then my mum or my dad walks me to school,” she says.
Ines finishes school at 12.30pm and after lunch with her parents, she attends an after school club where she gets help with her homework. At 5pm, her parents come to pick her up. Sometimes there is time to play before dinner, a cup of tea and bedtime.
Ines loves drawing, doing junk-modelling but more than anything, she loves animals. She is always trying to find ways to protect them and feels so sad when she sees them being mistreated.
“My dream when I grow up is to be a vet.” Ines