Over the summer, Natalie Aramayo, a junior at Ursuline Academy, chose to take her call to Serviam beyond the borders of her community. Back when Natalie was about seven or eight years old, she wrote a letter to the President of the United States addressing her concerns for and desire to stop human trafficking. The president responded to Natalie’s concerns, saying that she should research more ways to make a change internationally. She became more aware of the high risk of human trafficking in Bolivia through her research and she wanted to help. Men and women who face unemployment and poverty are often targets for human trafficking in this South American country. Children as young as two years old are subject to forced labor and sex trafficking. The growing issue is often not talked about, which is why Natalie felt so strongly about raising awareness.
Last year, Natalie heard about a Spanish non-profit organization known as Levantate Mujer, dedicated to repairing the dignity of women and girls who have been victims of human trafficking and violence, through her family and friends that live in Bolivia. She researched this organization more thoroughly, which then prompted her decision to take a trip to her parents’ home country where the organization is based. Natalie was eager to start because she realized that this would give her both the opportunity to work towards putting an end to human trafficking, as well as the chance to catch up on some much-needed family time. During the three months that Natalie was in Bolivia, she was able to work on two major projects. The first project was an informational fair. Her job was to share as much knowledge as she could about human trafficking and the violation of human rights in Bolivia. Her second project was to create posters for a walk that took place in La Paz, Bolivia. Natalie shares, “my favorite part was giving out information and the fact that you could see in the people’s faces that they were grateful and interested in my passion to change the violation of human rights and human trafficking.” This really proved to Natalie that her hard work was paying off.
Aside from her service in Bolivia, Natalie works with another organization known as A21, an organization that recruits volunteers from fourteen different countries around the world to raise awareness of the human trafficking issue and the need to take action to make a change. With this company, Natalie helps to plan and organize walks, as well as other types of fundraisers, to end human trafficking. Just small acts of service can make a huge difference in someone’s life, so Natalie strongly encourages others to help out as much as they can; getting involved in an organization close to home is just the way to do so.
Not only has the work that Natalie has done affected many people, it has also deeply affected her own life. Her service has taught her many life lessons and has given her an insight into what injustice truly looks like. “A theme that I learned is that you just have to be grateful for what you have. Sometimes I lose sight of that but after going to Bolivia and working with the people there I realized that I have to be more appreciative and that’s something that I use in my everyday life,” she explains. Natalie chooses to share her knowledge on human trafficking with her peers and the Ursuline community. In November, she visited the AP Spanish class at UA to give a presentation on her work. This was an effective way to spread awareness on the difficult issue at hand. Natalie hopes to go back to Bolivia next summer to continue her work with Levantate Mujer.
Natalie Aramayo supporting an end to human trafficking in La Paz, Bolivia.