Lorena

Lorena “the Polack,” lives in the Acacias neighborhood of Montevideo along with her mother, her grandmother, and her younger sister. She is proud of her nickname, as it is linked with her admiration for “The Polack” and his music, cumbia villera (literally “shantytown cumbia”– a typically Argentine form of cumbia music born in the “villas miseria” or shantytowns around Buenos Aires and then popularized in other large urban settlements.) She joined Forge in 2007 and from the very first day she proved herself different from the rest. Lorena’s identity had been shaped by the social interactions within her rough neighborhood, and the interactions with her family and friends. Over time, that hard outer shell softened and she was able to make the changes needed to enter the workforce – she learned how to speak more eloquently, she changed the way she dressed, and became more refined. Lorena acknowledges that without what she learned at Forge she would have never been able to face her first job interviews successfully. “I changed – I grew up and matured. I am still ‘the Polack,’ but I have a lot more self-confidence now and know how to act in different situations.”