Cleto Choque is a Bolivian shoeshiner who's fighting the negative stereotypes surrounding his profession. As he struggles to pay his way through school and support his younger brothers, he's being helped by the Nuevo Dia Foundation.
My name is Cleto Choque. I work here. I'm 20 years old. I've been working here for eight years. I chose this job because I'm my own boss in this job. I can work from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. If I were to have another job, I wouldn't be able to study. My clients work in the ministry. Some are police officers. I have clients that recognize me as a friend, and others who don't know me and just walk past me.
MAN 1 [Shoeshiner]
"Shoeshiners are drunks, alcoholics." That's what people say. And that's one of the reasons why we cover our faces. We are not all the same. They generalize that we are all like that. That's how society is.
WOMAN 1 [Newsstand worker]
Sometimes, shoeshiners make themselves look bad because they work with a mask, and people degrade them, saying they are criminals, thieves. But it's good that they work as shoeshiners because they can earn their daily bread.
MAN 2 [Businessman]
I think that shoeshiners are people who make sacrifices. They have the desire to better themselves, but sometimes society does not give them the respect they deserve.
"Nuevo Dia" [New Day] Shoeshiner Foundation
In the mornings, I leave for work at 5 a.m. I'm at work by 7 a.m. I work until 12 p.m. and then change into my regular clothes. That's why I feel like I have two lives.
The "Nuevo Dia" foundation is an institution that provides low-cost services and technical training workshops for young shoeshiners.
The center currently serves 200 children and more than 50 adult shoeshiners.
RAUL ESPINOZA [Volunteer Teacher]
We offer services such as lockers. The lockers are for the beneficiaries, where they can keep their toolboxes. We have a cafeteria where breakfast, lunch, and the afternoon tea is served. We also have showers and a library, where they can take out books. Many of the shoeshiners are orphans. Some only have their mothers. Because of these circumstances, they start to work to help their mother or their family.
I have a big responsibility taking care of my little brothers because I give them lunch money. I send them to school so they can study. I do not want them to shine shoes.
We have to support the youth so that they don't work as shoeshiners forever. All those who come here must study. It is a necessity and an obligation. It's a great challenge for them to work and study. They have to study, and most that come here do, and that makes us very happy.
I've seen many people in society who are corrupt, that do bad things to people, especially to the people in the country, and there is no one to defend them. I have seen my parents treated very badly by others. That is why I want to become a lawyer, so no one can abuse my parents or relatives. And now I'm studying, and I know I can achieve this: becoming a lawyer.