Ana Elisa Echeverri is as close to a living angel as one can be. Ana Elisa taught dance at her local university in Columbia for over 20 years and she owns and operates a little dance studio called Villa Danza. With the financial support of the City of Medellin government, she has been providing weekly dance lessons to impoverished children for the same 20 years. Julie, one of Anna Elisa’s students is an example of the success of the program and there are many more. The love between Julie and her mentor, Ana Elisa is incredible.
But there are hundreds of children that will never be given the same opportunity as Julie due to the fact that the city has ceased to provide assistance to the studio. Ana Elisa has 3 binders of children that have been waiting for over a year for a phone call to say that they have a spot in the class. Each file in these 3 binders has a photograph of the child, the family’s reported income (most of which was around $50.00 CDN per month) and all the details about the child’s life as identified by the local government officials. These are the poorest of the poor.
Ana Elisa told the story of a young boy named Alejandro who is an orphan. He has been on the list for one year. He lives with a surrogate mother and 4 other orphans. She also told the story of a girl who lives with her mother, essentially on the street. Her mother collects recyclable bottles as her only source of income. Ana Elisa has been giving the mother money for basics, like food, to survive during this time. The daughter was involved in the dance program but is not at the moment due to the lack of government funding. Ana Elisa describes the mother of the young girl as a terrific loving mother who was there every week to support her daughter at dance.