Julieta's Changemaker Journey

In this Changemaker Conversation, get a closer look at Julieta, a changemaker from Chile, uplifting the voices, abilities, and ideas of young women across Latin America.
Source: julieta_martinez_2.jpg

In this Changemaker Conversation, get a closer look at Julieta, a changemaker from Chile, uplifting the voices, abilities, and ideas of young women across Latin America. Read her full story in Spanish here.

From a young age, Julieta noticed the disparity in access to healthcare equipment in Chile and wanted to help close that gap. While she was able to afford an insulin pump for her Type I diabetes, she realized that the high costs of the equipment prevented many children from seeking help. A feeling of disheartenment weighed upon her. She knew that the only way to overcome it was to help raise other children up.

She confided in her mother and expressed her desire not only to acknowledge the issue, but to actively work towards creating a solution. Supporting Julieta and her desire to be heard, she encouraged her to “go out to the street and scream as loud as [she] can.” With the help of her mother, an inspirational figure in her life, Julieta began searching for ways to help other children living with diabetes access diabetic equipment that would enhance their quality of life. At 10 years old, she took her first step in embarking on her changemaker journey by attending a march with her family to demand that diabetic pumps be a part of Plan Auge, a universal health care plan offered in Chile. 

Her participation in the march left her with a heightened sense of curiosity. She wanted to gain a better understanding of Chile’s healthcare system, so she began researching laws that protect children who aren’t able to afford insulin pumps, as well as how children from low-income areas could access such resources. 

In setting the groundwork for her path towards social entrepreneurship and community engagement, Julieta began to forge relationships with those who were just as passionate. However, in looking for every opportunity to connect with like-minded people, she realized that there was not only a lack of support for children with diabetes but also a lack of collaborative platforms. With that, she spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the latter. She contemplated how she could transform her ideas into action, and shortly thereafter, she launched her own social venture at the age of 16.

She called it Tremendas, a word that means “Tremendous” in English. It is a youth-led organization that was founded with the goal of connecting young girls and women across Chile. In doing so, the intent was to connect their talents and skills to social causes within their respective communities. Julieta wanted to establish a space where those searching for activism in every area could collaborate with others. She says, “We all have talents, and the idea is to be able to link them to a social cause, that is why we are based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” To increase her reach, she attended innovation festivals and sought alliances with different organizations and companies to help create a focus in Tremendas’s ambitious projects. 

Although Julieta faced rejection at first, she remained resilient and eventually garnered overwhelming support and admiration for her cause. After broadening the scope of influence to friends, family, and local connections, Tremendas eventually radiated outward onto a national scale. Her outreach grew as she began appearing on television programs and soon thereafter, people started to recognize Tremendas for its social impact.

Even with its growing recognition, a crucial step towards connecting with young people across the country was adapting to the digital spaces available and popular for her generation. Tremendas expanded its influence by mobilizing a community of young people through social media. With its Instagram platform, Tremendas provides an outlet for thousands of  young people to interact, free from geographical barriers, and to understand that “there are always organizations, there are always foundations that are working to make a better world.”

As someone who developed a passion for activism at a young age, Julieta wants young people to know that they are never alone and that there are people who are fighting for the same causes they believe in. Through Tremendas, Julieta continues to help young changemakers identify their passions and what inspires them to make a change in their communities, whether it be raising awareness about the climate crisis or advocating for increased access to education. She encourages others to “get out of [their] comfort zone and search for ways to make changes.”

Today, the Tremendas team is still active. Despite Chile facing the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Julieta continues to lead social change across online platforms. Tremendas has the potential to thrive everywhere and Julieta wants “to continue looking for more tremendous women from different parts of the planet, in order to build a better world.”

Click here to view Julieta's full interview. 

This story was produced by Asia Rinehart, Kylie Trask, and Hillary Alamene.