Fitting Bolivian tribute to Lola

MONEY raised at a memorial celebration for a Nottingham journalist killed in a car crash in Bolivia has been used to build a women’s centre there.

Louise Stoppleman de Almudevar, known as ‘Lola’, was travelling in a remote area of the country to report on civil unrest when the accident happened.

The taxi she was in collided with two crashed lorries near Ayo Ayo village, south of the capital La Paz on November 25, 2007.

Four people died.

Lola’s sister, Rebecca, 29, organised a memorial celebration for her on June 29, 2008 with readings, art displays and films made by Lola.

It was the day before what would have been her 30th birthday.

Ticket sales and donations from the event at the Custard Factory in Birmingham raised £3,600 and this was donated to Save the Children in Bolivia.

The money has been used to build a centre for indigenous women in the rural community of Choritotora, near La Paz.

Lola, originally from Sherwood Rise, had been interested in the charity’s work in that area.

Rebecca said: “It’s very Lola, she was a really positive person and very generous with her time and affection.

“It seems fitting this women’s centre has come from that money.”

Lola, 29, who had a Spanish father and a British mother, joined the BBC in the Midlands in 2002 and worked on local radio and TV programmes including Midlands Today and Inside Out.

She worked for the BBC in the West Midlands for four years and was working as a freelance for the BBC World Service at the time of her death.

Gary Shaye, director of Save the Children in Bolivia, said Lola was very interested in learning about the charity’s work to help empower women in rural communities.

After the memorial, Rebecca and her mum Monica Stoppleman decided to give the money to the charity to use in Bolivia.

“It was the obvious choice for us,” said Rebecca.

‘Centro Lola’ will be a place for women to meet and learn about health, early childhood development, and other issues of concern to the community.

Mr Shaye said: “Lola’s energy and drive and tremendous will and spirit will be present in the community and her family will know that they have contributed something that Lola believed in and would have herself supported.”

Rebecca, her mum, step-brother and family friends, are flying to Bolivia on February 10 for two weeks. They will attend the centre’s inauguration and visit other projects in the area.

“It is a big deal for these women,” said Rebecca. “A lot of people don’t have the opportunity when someone dies to make something good out of it.

“It’s amazing how far the money stretched and it feels really great to have done something for people on the other side of the world.”

Source: nottingham.com.uk

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