February 14, 2018
Altamira Barboza, 81 years old, has a vitality that many youth would envy, an incredibly clear mind and an unconditional commitment to Fe y Alegría. Atilio, one of her children, is the Director of Fe y Alegría in the Western Region of Venezuela; and two of her daughters and their partners previously held management and coordination positions in centers of this educational movement. Her youngest daughter is still working at the Fe y Alegría school in Nueva Venezuela. Her children, nephews and grandchildren studied there and her 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and her first great great grandchild are still studying there, because as she says: “I love Fe y Alegría and I have risked my life for it several times. People work there for love, not for interest and many of them dedicate their lives with sacrifice and commitment”.
Fe y Alegría was established in Maracaibo in 1962 and started building a school in the neighborhood of El Manzanillo. During those years, the idea of a free Catholic education was unimaginable, and the community, manipulated by a fake leader, destroyed the school. Altamira and the sisters from a religious congregation, started explaining to the community what Fe y Alegría was, and the school rose from its ashes.
Altamira moved with her entire family to the neighborhood of La Polar, so her children could study. Later she invested all her efforts and leadership in building the Fe y Alegría school of Nueva Venezuela in La Polar, and she didn’t give up when a group of people tried to take the school away from Fe y Alegría. In the time the school was taken, she offered her own house so students could study.
Recognizing the efforts of many women, who like Altamira have contributed to making Fe y Alegría what it is today, we give thanks for their examples and commitment to providing quality education where it’s needed the most.