Where is Laura now?

Many of you may remember Laura Diaz-Villaquiran, a young woman from Colombia that arrived to Georgia as a refugee a few years ago.  Laura came with her family, a mother, a father and a young brother.

Laura has already lived what most of us will never experience: War, the lost of loved ones, depression, being forced to move to a completely different country, hunger, lack of a roof over her head, etc.  However her spirit and her mind always push through and Laura was able to survive, go to school, make the Dean’s list and she is now thriving.

We did a story on her a while ago highlighting her involvement as a volunteer at the Homostead Project, many of you reached out to her or visited her.  So where is she now?

We caught up with Laura and we can report that her family unfortunately had to move back to Colombia.  They were simply unable to survive in Georgia.  Her mother was not able to get a better job or a promotion at the local McDonalds and her youngest brother was bullied in elementary school.   After a heavy heart and months of considerating several options, they went back to their country.

Laura stayed, committed to study and make the best of the situation.  After a difficult period adjusting to be completely ALONE, she has, as always, pushed forward.   She worked at a local grass-roots non-profit in exchange for roof and food. She cooked, she fed the homeless and she managed some of the logistics of the program.

Some time later, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta offered her a position with their early education bilingual program (which she loves and enjoys).  Thanks to this opportunity, Laura has been able to move to a place she can call home and continue her education.

The best news is that Laura will be graduating in December from Georgia Perimeter College (yay!).

During the summer, Laura watched a lot of movies and was interested in the struggle of many native communities to keep their land and traditions.  She discovered several film-makers and documentaries too good not to share; of course, resourceful as ever, she put together a series of film-screenings @ EyeDrum Gallery, the equivalent of a “CineClub” in South America.

5 series of documentaries and films exploring the struggle of natives and indigenous people to keep their land were shown between September & October.

Laura is the poster girl of resourcefulness, creativity and hard work and we are always incredibly inspired and motivated by her.

If you are interested in reaching out to Laura, let me know!  gigi@latinoconnectionga.com

 

 

 

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