In 2006, Bolivia elected its first Indigenous president, Evo Morales. Morales helped improve living conditions for many of the country’s Indigenous people. Some cholitas were finally able to get government jobs. They could go to college and become lawyers, teachers, or doctors. Today, these women celebrate their freedom.
That’s one reason the young women of ImillaSkate wear polleras. Many of their mothers and grandmothers lived through very difficult times. Some even stopped wearing their polleras in an attempt to blend in.
Now the skaters wear the polleras with pride. Their families are honored to see them celebrating their traditions. “Women in polleras are a symbol of strength,” explains team member María Belén Fajardo Fernández, 21.
When the team isn’t practicing, they compete in tournaments and give skateboarding lessons to local kids.
Above all, skateboarding reminds them that they can do anything. “It teaches you confidence,” says Daniela Santiváñez, one of the crew’s founders. “The message is to be yourself and be proud of who you are.”