Rutgers Law graduate Brisa De Angulo’s work to support sexually abused children in her native Bolivia is receiving recognition from organizations across the globe.
Founded by De Angulo in 2004 with offices in Bolivia and Philadelphia, De Angulo’s foundation, Fundacion Una Brisa De Esperanza, or A Breeze of Hope, is the first organization in Bolivia that provides social workers, therapists, and lawyers, all free of charge for children who are sexual abuse victims.
A 2012 graduate of Rutgers Law School in Camden, De Angulo was named one of the “16 Global Heroes” by the Together for Girls organization, a public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children. Vice President Joe Biden was among the other honorees. An alliance of five United Nations agencies and the governments of the United States and Canada, Together for Girls partners with several private sector organizations and more than 15 country governments in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
In the fall, the With and For Girls Collective in London honored De Angulo with the group’s Global Award. She also has won awards from other women and children advocacy organizations, including the Women’s PeacePower Foundation and Light My Fire.
De Angulo was 15 when she was sexually abused in Bolivia, where one-third of children and adolescents have experienced similar fates. Not only did De Angulo come forward to testify against her accuser, she established the first and only facility that specializes in providing comprehensive care to other victims of sex abuse.
“As a survivor of rape, I started A Breeze of Hope to provide other girls what I never found; a safe place where they can receive the help and support they need to dream again, rebuild their lives, and access justice,” says De Angulo. “This path has often been lonely and difficult. So receiving these awards has been a major encouragement for me.”
De Angulo credits her education at Rutgers Law School for preparing her to run A Breeze of Hope. At Rutgers Law, she and Palmer worked with Beth Stephens, a Rutgers Law professor, in the Human Rights Litigation and Advocacy clinic where they drafted briefs and memos and conducted research on international human rights cases.
“Rutgers Law equipped me with advocacy skills that I use every day in my work with child and adolescent survivors of sexual violence,” says De Angulo.
A Breeze of Hope’s plans for its future received a helping hand recently when the Vidanta Foundation awarded $100,000 to the organization. The funds will be used as a down payment on a building that would create a permanent home for the center in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
“We still need $500,000, but this award pushes us toward a dream that we’ve had for the last 13 years, which is to own a building,” says De Angulo. “Right now we rent, and we are constantly moving from one building to another, which is very traumatic for the children. Their lives are so chaotic that our center becomes their only constant, and when we move to another building it totally destabilizes them.”