La Paz is full of smiling Zebras
They are the zebras of La Paz, a symbol that has become a heritage of the Bolivian city, which seek to raise awareness among pedestrians and drivers about building a better city.
Since 2001 Zebra La Paz has been out on the streets as part of a municipal program with young volunteers to raise civic awareness and road safety for the population.
"The traffic light is about to change, we're on the sidewalk," says a zebra; While, in the perpendicular zebra crossing, another of her companions is sent to stop to a vehicle so that an elderly lady who has pounced in the last minute to cross the street is not run over.
Luis Denis Sosa, who is called this intrepid zebrita, says that the first thing is his safety and that of passers-by.
The drivers, after more than 15 years seeing these nice characters in the streets, have already become accustomed to their dances and their work, so there are usually no problems.
All work is voluntary, although the mayor provides these young people with a small financial support in the form of transport, food and material required to continue with the studies, because to be a zebra you need to be a student and be between 16 and 24 years old.
The municipal secretary of Education and Citizen Culture, Sergio Caballero, explains that they have valued hiring the zebras as mayoral officials, but that, if this happened, they would lose "the essential value of what is the program, that vocation of Service of the young towards his city ".
At first, the program had a strong social sign and were young in the process of rehabilitation or social insertion, but success has made it open to all types of young people.
Caballero says that this is a long-term program and that, after more than a decade, there is already a generation that has grown up with zebras on the streets.
In fact, the greatest impact of these characters is that they produce in children, who run to embrace them and tell their parents that you do not have to cross when the traffic light is red or the papers are thrown away, because before It has been said by a zebra, either on the street or in one of the workshops they do in schools.
"To be zebra is to have an attitude, an opportunity and the desire to be able to carry the message and to massify the love within," says another of these educators, Daniel Alexander Osori. "We do not let citizenship be indifferent to the chaos of our city," he summarizes.