Farlis Calle

Fighter for Freedom

Bio

Farlis is a 19 year old girl who lives with her parents and is the oldest of 4 children, her two sisters Elis and Yeleny and her one brother Obier. Also she has a cousin named Enrique. another thing she did was Dated "Alfredo" for a while but broke up with him when she found out he was a part of one of the armed groups. The father worked on a plantation while her mother sold things to the workers. The Spanish teacher that she had, Senor Rodriguez, was a very good friend to her.

Geography

She lives on a plantation in the town of Apartado in the Northwest region of Colombia called Uraba, where it is was very mountainous and isolated. This is one of the places that the paramilitaries and armed groups wanted to fight for.

Her Growing Enviorment

The neighborhood that she grew up in was full of massacres and gang fights between the armed groups. Farlis went to school in Nuevo Colonia where snitches were shunned in school and in the town, she herself was shunned when she was 11 for not taking sides in an argument between her friends and a girl that had no evidence. Life at home was very hard for her because her mother and father were working all day on the banana plantation. Also she lived in a small adobe house with a small tin roof. Farlis knew that her high school education would be the most the she ever had so if she didn't like the teachers then she would harass them until they left. Farlis went to the Jose Celestino Mutis high school in Apartado, during the week she stayed with her Aunt in the town. "Most people weren’t involved in the violence," she said. “Most nights the small bars of Apartado blasted loud music, and people strolled the streets around the central park or sat at tables in the sidewalk cafes,”




One of the Armed groups

Why she is fighting for peace

Farlis saw the site of a massacre in La Chinita while all of the bodies still there and heard the story of her mother’s friend and husband. The husband begged the armed group who assaulted the party not to kill his wife but him instead so they shot them both.

More than twelve hundred people were assassinated at this time in her life, seventeen of them were government officials and not one of the armed groups was sent to court or put on trial. A few weeks later a bus was attacked on the side of the road and these were her thoughts,“ A friend of my fathers was on killed on the bus. We never spoke of it as a family, but we all sensed that next time it could be one of us.”

Stones with the names of people who died in a massacre

What she did for peace

Farlis went and talked to the leaders of one of the armed groups so that they wouldn't disturb the events that she put on for the kids of the town as Child Mayor. Then she and her group decided that they were going to put on a child election so that the children could pick what rights they wanted enforced for themselves. The process was long and hard, she had to get every kid that she could to learn the rights that they had and get all the kids to the capital to vote on them. Both UNICEF and Redepaz wanted to stop the event so that the kids couldn't get hurt like people do at every election. But Farlis wouldn't stand for it and stomped into the office demanding that they put it back on saying, "We have to take our chances. We can't let fear control us." Another thing that she had to do was write a letter to all of the armed groups telling them not to go and attack the kids who were voting. Farlis had hoped that 500,00 would take part but in the end 2.7 million kids and adolescents turned up at the polls even in the most violent towns.

What she hopes for in the future

Farlis hopes that in the future every child will have their rights and freedom, she also hopes that the war will stop and life will become easier in Colombia.

By Dylan Mulligan & Tyler Kreh