“Education builds trust. Trust generates hope. Hope generates peace.”
Zera is a non-profit educational foundation based in La Paz, Bolivia, registered under Bolivia law.
Zera (זָ֫רַע zeh’-rah) is the word for ‘seed’ in Hebrew.
But it is not just a seed, it is also the plant that comes from it and provides sustenance. It represents a process of growth. Like whole grains that provide nourishment for the body, Zera aims to be the food that nourishes the spirit.
And it can also mean:
Sharoll was 12 years old. The teacher asked: ‘How can we change the world?’ ‘With education, of course,’ she immediately thought.
While living in New York, Sharoll Fernandez volunteered for Spirituality For Kids, and was exposed to similar education initiatives around the city. She saw that it was possible to mix education, arts and emotional development.
From this idea came the belief that every person’s potential is like a seed, each with the ability to grow and become a more informed, self-aware and responsible human being. However, a seed can’t grow in an inauspicious environment, no matter its potential.
Thus, Zera was born, an organization that wishes to share knowledge, new perspectives on education and help people become better, stronger individuals.
Zera started in 2013, in a small office in La Paz and a strong desire to make a difference.
Zera works with the Bolivian Ministry of Education, all the children’s hospitals in Bolivia, child psychologists and teachers in 16 prisons, children’s homes from the Municipal Government of La Paz and various public schools.
In March 2015 Zera started giving classes to its first SFK (Spirituality for Kids) group. The Zera team went to a prison in Obrajes and taught a group of 13 children who live in the prison with their mothers. As a result of the positive changes seen in the children’s behaviour and mood, the mothers sent a letter to Zera’ asking if we could return to deliver the follow-up stage of the course.
Our work in Bolivia has reached over 12,000 children, We have worked with:
- The women’s prison in Obrajes, La Paz
- The school Adhemar Gehain, La Paz
- The cultural space Casa Espejo, Sopocachi, La Paz
- The modern dance company La Lupa, Cochabamba
- Group of families, Calacoto, La Paz
- Group of families, San Miguel, La Paz
- Direction of Coordination for Equality Policies – Municipal Governement of La Paz
- Secretary of Education and Culture – Municipal Governement of La Paz
- The national penitentiary system: 16 centres spread in the 9 Bolivian departments
- The national children’s hospitals network throughout the 9 Bolivian departments
- Secretary for the Women and the Family in the Municipal Government of Tarija