Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Fellows Journal: Amazed by Raíces

This post marks the second installment of a series of accounts by the 2011 Roots of Hope Summer Fellows, focusing on their experiences, thoughts, and musings over the course of the coming months!

Amazed by Raíces

By Chabeli Castillo

My first two weeks with Raíces de Esperanza have been incredible. There is no other organization in the planet where so many brilliant, successful, and passionate people have come together to give Cuban youth a voice.

I feel very fortunate that Raíces gave me the opportunity to become part of its restless family. I don’t have words to describe how grateful I am to all the people that collaborate with Raíces, in one way or the other. Their dedication to empowering the Cuban youth is admirable, and it is what makes Raíces de Esperanza so unique and genuine.

I came from Cuba to The United States in 2008, and I can tell you that what Raíces is doing for the youth in Cuba is exactly what I would have loved for someone to do for me when I lived in the island. The youth in Cuba live within an atmosphere of constant pessimism, and their only hope of having a future is leaving the country.

The Cubans in the island need to know that there are people out there who care about them, and want to give them the support that they need to be able to make the changes that they want in their society. It is very gratifying to see the excitement and gratefulness that they embrace Raíces de Esperanza with.

We have already started very promising projects that we will be working on throughout the summer, and I can’t wait to celebrate the accomplishments. We are profoundly determined to bring, relief, friendship, love, and hope into the lives of many Cubans on the island.

Chabeli came from Cuba to the United States in 2008. She will be starting her 3rd year of college next fall, pursuing an environmental science/policy making major at Warren Wilson College, North Carolina. She is passionate about defending the fundamental rights of the Cuban people. Email to contact her.

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