David Vacasillo – Founder, Sindicato se Presente
El Alto, Bolivia
September 24, 2012
David Vacasillo founded Sindicato se Presente, a union of youth workers, when he was 16 years old. He was angry about the way young people were treated at work. Whether it was as an informal laborer in a market or an assistant in a bakery – he began to bring young people together to take action to demand respect and improve their circumstances. The growing group of youth trained themselves, made adult allies, and created a safe space where they could meet and hang out. Early victories included winning back unpaid wages for members, establishing a new level of respect for youth workers in Bolivia’s largest market, and making connections with other youth organizations around the country.
Their high level of success positioned them well to convene a national group of youth workers and propose their own language for the new constitution that was written after the election of Evo Morales. Their language was included in the constitution and now much of their work is educating around this new law and taking action to make sure that it is followed.
I connected to David through participation in the Organizers Forum Dialogue in Bolivia. We met with many talented and accomplished organizations in La Paz, El Alto, and in Cochabamba. El Alto is the fastest growing city in Bolivia and seen by many to be the ideological center of the country. The Dialogue was an exceptional part of our travels that got us well acquainted with on the ground movements in Bolivia. I will feature other Bolivian Organizers in this blog. You can see the report back I prepared for the funders that made this part of the trip possible here:
and learn more about the Organizers Forum here:
This interview is quick but clear. I asked David what are they doing to build power so that they can get what they want and what should come next.