Kevin VasquezBogotá, Colombia
Kevin Vásquez is 22 years old, Afro-Colombian, and lives with his siblings and mother in El Paraiso, a shantytown in the Ciudad Bolivar neighborhood in Bogota.
His parents were forcibly displaced by armed violence and when they arrived in Bogota, they could not find stable jobs, so they built a house in an informal neighborhood. They have always faced economic crises, making it difficult to get food, study, necessary items for daily life.
Kevin states, “I grew up as a young man with a lot of hopelessness for life, I had no dreams, but when I came to the YMCA. The YMCA helped me to finish my high school and supported me with my entrepreneurship goals, however, not having a degree or something to prove my empirical training and my talent has made it difficult to get a stable job mainly related to dance. Also, because of the where I live, I have felt discrimination in employment. However, at the YMCA I managed to find a meaning in life, and it was dance as my life purpose, so I became an entrepreneur of a dance academy.”
Kevin is the Founder of Dance for Peace, a social initiative led by a young people from vulnerable conditions and who identify as members of the Afro-Colombian community, who due to the barriers they have faced to get a job or enter an academic opportunity, found in dance a purpose for their lives.
With support from the GOYN Youth Innovations Fund, Dance for Peace, will build on its sense of social responsibility, and a desire to contribute to social transformation, to strengthen the social and economic empowerment of young people of black and Afro-Colombian communities in the town of Ciudad Bolivar who do not study or work, contributing to their social and economic inclusion.