Isabel has had a difficult journey. Abandoned by her alcoholic mother and divorced father, Isabel lived with her aunt in Cochabamba, Bolivia, helping her sell goods in the market. Mixing with the wrong crowd at school, Isabel begun to spend most of her days and nights on the streets, consuming alcohol and drugs. Eventually, when Isabel was in seventh grade, her aunt asked for government help, taking her to a shelter for teenagers. “My aunt took me to the shelter because I got home late and I didn’t obey her,”
At the teenagers’ shelter, Isabel met other children and teenagers with whom she shared experiences of life on the streets. Little by little, Isabel gained more confidence and began to participate in the activities at the shelter.
Isabel returned to her home briefly, but this was short-lived, due to the continuing negative influences of her peers at school. With the support of the shelter staff, Isabel agreed to return to a shelter in a different city.
Isabel now lives at the Toybox-supported Talitha Kumi centre in La Paz and is in the process of rehabilitation. Her teachers report that she has shown great improvement and is recovering successfully. “I want to change,”
Isabel says. She dreams of becoming a policewoman or a doctor in the future.