- Title: Venezuelans donate school supplies in exchange for tattoos
- Date: 2nd October 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS OF TATTOO ARTIST, LEONEL CASTRO, TATTOOING A WOMAN
- Embargoed: 17th October 2016 00:46
- Keywords: Venezuela crisis school supplies donate tattoo
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002526B48Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Venezuelan tattoo artists are putting their ink where their mouth is to collect school supplies for students who can't afford them.
On Saturday (October 1), hundreds of people came out to get free tattoos in exchange for donating school supplies in a school supply drive aimed at helping poor school students in the Caracas slum of Petare.
Oriana Herrera, who got a matching tree tattoo on her wrist with her mother, said the two were already considering getting the tattoos when they heard of the school supply drive. So, she says, they decided to kill two birds with one stone.
"It's a really great way [to help], in a country like Venezuela, where everything is so bad and everything costs so much money, in a big area like [the Caracas slum of] Petare where young people want to study, well than you can come and get a tattoo and at the same time donate school supplies so that they [young students] can. So with these two things, we decided it was the time to do it [get a tattoo] and so we did it," Herrera said.
Fourteen tattoo artists were donating their time and their talent over the course of two days in order to collect the supplies for 500 students in the impoverished neighbourhood.
"We know we're going through a difficult time and luckily tattoos have boomed and have grown a lot, so we used it to give a little bit back to the community and to Venezuela," tattoo artist Leonel Castro said.
Some 7.7 million Venezuelan students went back to school this week, but with a deepening economic and political crisis, opposition lawmaker Miguel Pizarro said parents are struggling to pay for supplies.
"To buy a list of school supplies is almost impossible today. Someone who makes minimum wage can't afford to buy food, pay for transport and pay for school supplies for their kid. And we know how important it is for a kid to go to school with a new notebook, a new pencil, with a quality-made book and all their supplies… and that's why we're working so hard, and here we see the work the tattoo artists are doing who are using their talent and giving up their pay to work and for two days will tattoo people in exchange for school supplies," Pizarro said.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro is struggling under an unravelling socialist economic system that suffers from triple-digit inflation, extensive shortages of staple products, and food riots.
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