A reason to believe in a better world

by Alison Donald
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)

A reason to believe in a better world - Rhea Borda of the Jessika Borda Foundation (FUJEBO) speaks at Coca Cola's 125th anniversary celebrations. For their 125th birthday celebrations Coca Cola is holding a series of parties around the world and yesterday, Wednesday 25th May 2011, this huge undertaking rolled into Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The festivities were held in the 5-star Los Tajibos Hotel in the Equipetrol district.

One of Coca Cola's current slogans is "125 reasons to believe in a better world" and this was also the theme of the festivities yesterday (125 razones para creer en un mundo mejor).

Rhea Borda was asked by Coca Cola to speak at this event. She was chosen as someone who values life, who has struggled in the past, and who has contributed to society. As Rhea prepared to take the podium to speak, she herself was introduced as "a reason to believe in a better world".

A reason to believe in a better world

The Borda name is well-known in Santa Cruz, though maybe it is more often placed with "Jessika", Rhea's beautiful daughter whose life was taken brutally during a car-jacking seven and a half years ago.

Even in her darkest moments after her daughter's death, Rhea was thinking of other victims of crime who might not have the wherewithal (financial resources, education) that she had and who might otherwise have been denied justice.

She set up non-profit organisation "Fundación Jessika Borda" (FUJEBO) to aid victims of violent crime in the Santa Cruz area with the legal, psychological (and spiritual, if required) help they need. The Foundation also holds workshops to try to educate people on what they can do to minimise their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Every year in March FUJEBO co-ordinates "Non Violence" day in which citizens of Santa Cruz are encouraged to take part in a walk, wearing white clothing, demonstrating their pacific and graphic desire for a safer city.

Elegantly attired in a red jacket and white skirt (Coca Cola's official colors), Rhea spoke at the event of her reasons for believing in a better world.

Rhea Borda, FujeboFirstly, love. Love from God; love she receives as a mother; love which Jessika showed to the world and the love from the population here.

The work of the Foundation is her second reason for believing in a better world.

Her third (but no means least) reason is that here in Bolivia there are more smiles than acts of crime.

At the back of the room there was a board in which attendees were invited to write their reasons for believing in a better world and it was this third reason that Rhea inscribed (hay más sonrisas que hechos de delincuencia).



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