By: Julia Battistoni & Julia Henry


Mayerly is a 16 year old girl that lives in the town of Soacha. Her and her family is very poor along with her neighbors. She has a younger sister named Yeimi. She also had a cousin named Milton. Mayerly and her cousin went to school but violence was rising very fast. Mayerly believes that the gangs are making her town more worse and more violent. She is determined to make a change.


Mayerly is a part of a christian organization , called the World Vision Group, that keeps parents and children safe. This group helps children like Mayerly to seek help and become comfortable knowing that they are safe. She is hoping to accomplish being a leader that people can look up to. She is determined to help children get education, health care, food ,and water for their every day life. She hopes to prevent accidents ,like what happened to her cousin Milton, from happening to other kids and adults.


The town Mayerly lives in, Soacha, is right outside the city limits of Bogota. Soacha is a poor town with dirt roads and cement houses. The land rises steeply and the higher you go the poorer the houses. Some were made of cardboard and plastic sheeting. There are also armed gangs who attack kids to and from school. These gangs demand money, pens, pencils, books, and push kids around. Mayerly said,”Sometimes the violence to the kids get worse and can end fatality”. People living in the north of Bogota are scared to travel down to Soacha. Up in the north, they are richer and have modern-day electronics. To add to that, El Progresso families live in so much poverty and debt that they can not go to school for education. Schools consists of tin roofs, desks are broken, the floor is made of dirt, only one window, when it rains the roof leaks. Some of the walls are decorated with paintings of the children's dream homes. Also, in the schools there are no qualified teachers, instead they have to higher people from cops to random people off the streets.

Promoting Change

Mayerly goes to schools and talks about her life and her idea on how to change Soacha and other poor towns near by. Many kids agreed with Mayerly and wanted to vote in her voting stands in the city park. Almost all the kids that she talks to wanted peace and no more gangs. The government changed the law to, "Kids under the age of 18 are not allowed in wars." Mayerly had made a change! Also, in the future, Mayerly wants more peace but is happy with the peace she earned now. And, is changing the future for the next generation.

What Influenced Her

Mayerly was influenced my the tragic death of her cousin Milton. He was stabbed in a gang fight and sadly could not be saved. After that she was determined to stop gangs from having any more victims. The gangs were destroying her town and she wanted to make a change to the violence.