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Following an earthquake which struck Bolivia in 1998, SOS Children's Villages established an emergency relief programme providing food, medical care and shelter, as well as temporary accommodation for over 500 children separated from their families in the disaster … more about our charity work in Bolivia

Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Mallasa, Bolivia

Sponsored child from Mallasa
Sponsored child from Mallasa

A child sponsorship report from Mallasa in Bolivia. Written in 2009.

Dear sponsors,

Once again, we thank you for your support, especially in this situation of crisis and changes the world has been going through. The principal objective of this information is to keep you informed of what happened in the Village during this first semester. Thanks to you and your continuous support, we are able to help more than 14.000 beneficiaries, from whom, almost 1,500 live in a SOS Children’s Village.

Throughout this report, I feel very happy to be in touch with you and tell you about the achievements in this first semester. In many cases, the children themselves tell you spontaneously about their personal stuff through letters they write regularly; but now we’ll give you more general information. This telling you makes us feel that we share our aspirations, what we can achieve in the practice and also our frustrations with you.

The Long-term childcare in permanent substitute families Program
This year started with better spirit on the part of the mothers after the last year, which represented a stage of an important learning. Further making our best to implement the objectives of the organization, the mothers understood that they have more incidence on the children’s lives. The relationships within the families of the village are more stable and harmonic. The mothers and aunts have much merit for this result.

Although we foresaw that only five children would fail in school last year, unfortunately they were ten….. One of the actions we took this year in order to remedy this situation has been addressed to improve the school support service for children. We signed a covenant with the state university of La Paz City for the university senior students of Pedagogy to have internships in the village supporting children with their school performance. The modality of working only with volunteers has improved.

Likewise, we signed other covenant with the Catolica Boliviana University in order to do an integral diagnosis to each child and then, establish his or her emotional, affective and cognitive situation. This will allow us to know the real situation of each one of them and to identify more specific services of individual support. All this work is being planned from a family framework. These actions and others are part of the pilot project to improve the assistance to children, which we already told you about a year ago.

A few months ago, as in many other opportunities, we felt the happiness of welcoming three children who are now part of Wilma’s family. They are biological siblings who are four, seven and nine years old. To welcome children is always moving and a reason to celebrate within the families. This year we won’t be able to increase the assistance to children due to the financial situation that affects the organization’s projections. There were some spaces left by youths who are now in other stages; however, we’ll be able to welcome only six or seven children more.

Around sixty youths are in different development stages; some of them are in better situations than others. By the end of last year, we gave more attention to the program called ‘Dialogue mother-youth’. In fact, it was an organized mediation between mothers and youths, which, in a collective and individual way, approached conflictive aspects of their relationship. Before, we already had some positive results; however, before the demand of mothers and youths, we went deeper in this mediation in such a way that although not all the youths are overcoming their problems, most of them have assumed a better attitude to do it. It’s fair to mention also that several mothers have changed favorably their attitude before the problems of the youths.

Now, two programs are being designed and they will be running soon; the first one is addressed to develop self-protection postures in children toward situations that attempt against their integrity, especially preventing the sexual abuse. The second program is addressed to adolescents and youths so they can be aware and recognize risky aspects in the prevention of HIV AIDS. We signed a covenant with a health care institution that works on reproductive health for the youths to access those services at a low cost.

With a lot of satisfaction, at the beginning of this year, we could see how a 23 year old girl finished her university career, Systems Engineering. Now, she’s is getting ready to get the degree by elaborating a project. We hope to see her work on her professional area very soon.

One important event some time ago was the appointment as SOS Mothers of five aunts, who were in charge of a family, each one of them. Some of them had that responsibility even for almost five years. This was a moving act because of the expressions of their children; therefore, this appointment represents a lot, not only for each one of the aunts, but also for their whole families. The Mayor of the community and other authorities as well as the biological families of each newly appointed SOS mother were also invited to this act. This appointment is not a graduation, but a social recognition of the labor the SOS mother does.

Family Strengthening Program

The Family and Community Strengthening Program of La Paz assist 797 children and 725 families in 20 Community Homes and Centers located in outlying districts of the city. The services are developed in an alliance with the Municipal Government, which supports a population in high social risk where there is an important percentage of women who are the head of household.

This semester, we are addressed to strengthen our services by establishing monitoring actions and reinforcing the in-situ qualification of the community mothers. In order to show impact results, we have traced the base line of the health, nutrition and education situation of the participant children as well as the socio-economical situation of the mothers and families.

Likewise, we are working on the strengthening of the leaders of the Family Committees in order to assure a higher co-responsibility in the development of the services and the management of the tally resources assigned to the enlargement and repair of the Community Homes and Centers.

To celebrate the Child’s Day, we developed activities to promote the children’s rights, which were organized by the Family Committees and the Local Boards. They entertained the children and meditated as a community about the practice of their rights.

The developed experience shows the relevancy of the family strengthening strategy, which involves the participation of the family as the fundamental axis for the integral development of the children and the promotion of the protection and defense of the rights in their daily lives.

Entrepreneur Education Program

The principal activities and achievements already started last year as all the collaborators did our best to make this new stage we are in real.  In this stage, the Educative Unit has 558 students and the Entrepreneur Technical Formation Unit has 141 students. Now, we have a combined and supporting work with a common objective: to form entrepreneur children and youths.

In 2008, we developed qualification actions under the new model of formation of entrepreneur people and, under the Competencies Based Formation (CBF) focus. In this new dynamic, the students are part of an educative process that lasts one year and which is divided in three phases:

  • 1st Phase. Of Formation: The participants acquire competencies in the technical area; they work on the development of their entrepreneur spirit and learn to design business plans.
  • 2nd Phase. Of Practices in Enterprises: The students work in well-kwon enterprises of our environment in order to strengthen their technical and entrepreneur competencies.
  • 3rd Phase. Of Pre-Incubation of Enterprises: Here, the students identify their business idea and then, elaborate their Business Plan

In 2008, we started qualification actions on Installation of Telecommunications Nets, Guides of Tourist Circuits and Traveling Advising, Computing Tailoring and Foods Elaboration. This year, we also have: Spatiality in Hairdressing and Cosmetology, Specialty in Maintenance and Repair of Cell phones and Computers, Technicians on Car Electricity, Technician on Bakery and Pastry and Guides of Eco-tourist Routes.

At the same time, we continue developing qualification actions thanks to alliances with external programs under the premise of forming technicians with solid competencies. These qualifications are given in Graphic Arts, Graphic Design and Design of Furniture.

The incorporation of the Entrepreneurism in the planning and cycle and course activities is definitively the most outstanding work during this year. This is a process that continues and which is carried out with much responsibility. The first results were the execution of entrepreneur projects by grades, which were developed along this year with very favorable results, and the execution of the First Entrepreneurism Fair where the business ideas written by children from 1st to 8th grade participated, capturing dreams and becoming them true.

Finally, we want to mention that facilitators and teachers from the Educative Unit as well as from the Technical Formation Unit finished their qualification on Competencies Based Formation and Entrepreneurism. This focus will allow us to improve the educative quality within our learning spaces as well as the future possibilities of the participant youths.

José Pereyra Calla
Director SOS Children’s Village La Paz

Paloma Delaine R.
Sponsorship Advisor
Children’s Villages SOS Bolivia