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Walden Magazine // Jul 01, 2010

Beautiful Minds

A social change mentor helps Bolivian students find hope through creativity

Photography by Dr. Eric Greitens

WHEN HUMANITARIAN and documentary photographer Eric Greitens arrived in Bolivia to work at Mano Amigo, a home for children of the streets, he was surprised to find the students weren’t immediately taught the basic skills of reading and arithmetic. Instead, the impoverished children wrote plays, sang, and created artwork.

Little girl drawing on a sidewalk with chalk.

“The most important thing for them was to learn that there was beauty in the world and that they could create it,” says Greitens, who delivered the plenary address during Walden’s Academic Residency in Dallas in January 2010. With the guidance of adult mentors such as Greitens—who founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that helps wounded and disabled veterans continue to serve in their communities—children of war-torn Bolivia imagine a more positive world and discover their potential to create change within it. —L.D