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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 Tarija, Bolivia

Sponsored child from Tarija
Sponsored child from Tarija

A child sponsorship report from Tarija 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.

I write you this letter with joy and I send you greetings on behalf of the community of families from the Village and myself. Furthermore, my dear friends, we thank you sincerely for your unconditional support and for facilitating the development of children, adolescents and their families allowing their well-being.

During these years, we have learned to meditate and analyze the good results as well as the less successful ones convinced that we’ll guarantee that the children and adolescents under our care will become independent adults who are good for their society. We assume the challenge of growing with two new families and with satisfaction, we tell you that now the community is formed by 15 families where 130 children and adolescents live; likewise, 61 youths are getting ready for their independent life. The critical social, politic and economic situation of our country didn’t stop us from fulfilling our welcome objective. 

This year is full of work for the SOS mothers in the health area. They must plan not only the Healthy Child medical checkups and be aware of the nutritional state of their children and their adequate growth and development, but also must be prepared for the Dengue and AH1N1 virus epidemics. They are alert to counteract any symptom looking for qualification and disease prevention courses. They say that it was quite satisfying to see some children overcoming their emotional and behavioral problems with the support of psychologists and pedagogues. They learned that it’s necessary to look for external help under certain circumstances.

Also this year, the mothers have the objective of implementing new strategies for the opportune detection of learning difficulties and looking for pedagogic support and school support teachers within their family development plans. The achievement in the school area is remarkable since the children’s average mark is higher than the one in 2008. The SOS mothers are proud and tell us that 12 children got diplomas because of their excellent school performance and others participated in physics, chemistry, math, environment preservation and human rights departmental fairs.

The Qualification of Youths in the Village Centre continues working with an entrepreneur focus and had a change of vision and attitude in all the families. The learning fact is in concrete things such as the ‘Successful and United Publicity Enterprise’, which was created last year by adolescents from 13 to 16 years old and which is still offering publicity services with success in the local environment through people who work walking on stilts, mimes, living statues and skaters. They all were congratulated by local authorities and they were in the news during several days. They also got the first place as the ‘Best Entrepreneur Product’ in the service category in the Entrepreneur Youths contest.

The mothers are aware of the importance of extending the social relationships nets of their children and the adequate development of their skills and capacities; therefore, they registered their children who are older than 12 years old in sport and art schools. Now, many of these children and adolescents are part of the departmental basketball teams and swimming teams in their categories. Vanessa, Eli and Zulema are regular players of the departmental basketball teams in their categories and they participate in national championships with success. Likewise, Beatriz and Fabian have been nominated as ‘elite’ departmental sportsman because of their achievements in Tae-Kwon-Do. This example makes possible that 20 children and adolescents are now training for the Pan-American championship that will be held this year. Dayna surprised everybody with her achievements as dancer in the ‘Sangre Nueva’ Academy; she had several successful performances in departmental events. A group of 10 children performed a theater play and everybody who saw it were surprised by their spontaneity and naturalness at acting.

The achievements are also evident in the recognition made by the Infantile Municipal Council as they invited three children from the SOS families to be Municipal Counselors besides the leadership assumed by Fabian, who now works actively in the Infantile National Parliament.

Currently, 61 youths are in the qualification and formation process in order to assume their life in an independent way and with good possibilities of succeeding. Their life plans are monitored. Twenty one of those youths have the support of their biological families who supervise and are with them in an alliance with their SOS mothers as well. Twenty three of the youths are living and studying in the principal cities of our country, where there are more and better offers of technical careers as well as jobs and professional growth. Their SOS mothers visit them frequently and they evaluate the youths’ processes together. Twelve youths will graduate from their technical careers by the end of this year (car mechanics, secretarial studies, integral beauty experts, hotel industry and tourism, textile confection, dental assistants and others), and nine youths will graduate from high school. Four youths, who are already working in their technical career areas) continue studying their university careers on Civil Engineering, Biochemistry, Business Administration and Juridical Sciences. Six youths are getting ready for their independization until the end of this year in a mature and responsible way along with their biological and SOS families. Once this development and formation process is over, we hope these youths could support themselves, like Paul and Anita, who are technical professionals on Foods Processing. Now, both of them enlarged their micro-enterprises of Fast Food with the economical support of their SOS family. Paul gives the service of lunch for 200 people in an enterprise in the rural area.  Anita is enlarging her restaurant as a branch of fast food.

Regarding the Family Strengthening Program of Tarija, in the Community Homes, the active participation of parents organized in Family Committees is a very important fundament for our job, which will allow us to maintain all the achievements we could get along with them in the practicing of their children’s rights. This year, we still work with about 2000 children and 1500 families and we assist them with all the services in each one of the components.

In the Child component, we work with the services of nutrition and nutritional sustentation and we already have positive results in the recovering of children with malnutrition problems. Regarding the services of daily protection and care, we are improving our spaces of daily care in a co-responsibility with the parents and the community. Regarding the services of education, we have planned to start a qualification for the community mothers under a focus of educator guides, where the children are active builders not only of knowledge, but also of their integral being and of the relationships with other people.

In the Woman and Family components, we are focused on improving the living conditions and family relationships addressing to have families which become in positive affective spaces for children and which support their personal and labor growth in such a way that they can get an emotional and economic steadiness.

In the Community component, we are working closely with the leaders of the Local Boards or Base Territorial Organizations so they can assume their social responsibility to their children and families. We hope we can already have results with solidary and co-responsible communities without the direct intervention of our organization, which will allow us to leave gradually to support new communities.

Finally, this semester, the SOS Educative Unit of Tarija promotes an entrepreneur culture within its community. This year started with the support and promoting of the development of entrepreneur skills in the families. These processes are evident in some small initiatives such as those of three family micro-enterprises that offer the ‘School Breakfast Service’; they have advising for the management of their enterprises. Without any doubt, these initiatives of parents will increase thanks to the specific technical qualification processes in areas such as Gastronomy, Textile, Services and Communications, which are being guided with the support of the Qualification Department of the Honorable Municipal Government (with the supply of teachers) and the District Local Board (who support  with the loan of equipments). The beneficiary families of this process will have access to a fund of economical support of seed capital for new entrepreneur initiatives.

The efforts to generate an entrepreneur culture in the community have as fundamental pillar the development of the skills and aptitudes of the 770 children and adolescents from primary and secondary school, which include Entrepreneurism competencies in the curricular proposal, which is strengthened by technical-vocational orientation workshops that apply competencies of management of small business.

The strengthening to the leadership, the promoted participation and the generated co-responsibility of the parents and neighbors from the community allow us visualize great achievements in different management scopes. This semester, the secondary level was consolidated with three assistant courses that have a team of 10 teachers with 408 hours paid by the state and prefecture. We received the concession of funds from the neighbors to build a contention wall for the Module 3 of the educative unit and bleachers for the sport field. The funds from the Tax to the Hydrocarbons were assigned for the purchase of equipment for the three technical careers of the humanistic-technical level. The neighbors borrowed equipments for the three technical careers during a year and they assigned two security guards for the protection of children and adolescents and the school; their salaries were paid with the economical funds of the neighborhood.

Once again, we thank you very much and you can be sure that your support has good fruits. As always, I’m very glad to share with you our advances and let you know about our gratitude for your support, which is very important to achieve the dream of a more fair and equal world for everybody. With much love,

Lucy Maldonado
Director SOS Children’s Village - Tarija

Paloma Delaine R.