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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 El Alto, Bolivia

Sponsored child from El Alto
Sponsored child from El Alto

A child sponsorship Report from El Alto 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 during this first semester.

Bolivia is going through a period of changes in the political, economical and social structures and these changes generate sometimes confrontation. However, these changes also allowed the inclusion and recognition of the substitute families, families from the Villages, in the New State Political Constitution.

The zone where the village is located is an urbanization barely populated although the efforts the local board made ‘demanding’ the owners of lands to build up their houses since the existence of fallow lands don’t allow the arrival of basic supplies and services and the transportation public service to the zone. However, little by little, the streets are being repaired.

Regarding the families from the SOS Children’s Village El Alto, we have 12 families with 107 children and adolescents. Six youths are in professionalization stage and four are in the advising stage toward the independization.

During the summer vacations, the family of mother Rosa traveled to Cochabamba City (a valley with warm weather). This was a trip where the family could integrate and some of the children’s expressions were: ‘It’s so nice! I like Cochabamba because you don’t have to wear a jacket and there are many trees’. ‘I didn’t know that my sister loved me very much because she took care of me in the swimming pool so I don’t sink; now I know that she loves me’. Other family decided to celebrate the New Year outside the village, at mother Julia’s house. The children said that it was quite different because ‘people were very busy; they played with fireworks in the other houses. My mother and siblings hugged each other and we wished us a Happy New Year. We were very pleased because of their love and now we call that people ‘uncles and aunts’.

Other group of youths is one of two adolescents who applied to study at the Art School of the Municipal Govern of El Alto City since they both showed their art skills in the dance and oratory workshops they took at the village as a service to the community as well. They were accepted and now they are attending that school, one of them attends dance classes and the other one attends theater classes. Two adolescents from high school are participating in the Math Olympiads of their school and we hope they do well since after that, we’ll have the Math Olympiads at a local level in El Alto City and then, at a national level.

Other activity we had was a course of Oratory and Good Social Manners, which was taken by all the mothers and aunts in the village. It lasted 3 months and then, the mothers and aunts taught their children what they had learned. The collaborators of the office were also qualified on Human Rights and the way they can be facilitators of entrepreneur people; this qualification was held through the Ombudsman’s Office and the ILO (International Labor Organization).

The SOS Social Centre Program now has a population of 1,639 children from 1,362 participant families. The Family and Community Strengthening Program works since five years ago and it assists children under 6 years old and their families; the program supports them with orientation and guidance through services of personal development, formation on rights, labor formation and insertion and especially, on health care for the prevention of terminal diseases on women. Regarding families, our principal support resides on the strengthening of couples (chacha-warmi / husband-wife) and the family integration.

The Program’s management is being developing on the whole through a covenant with the Municipal Government of El Alto City with its program called ‘MANITOS’, and governmental and no governmental institutions  as well as the involved community, which includes the Sub- Municipalities, Local Boards and Family Committees.

The Program’s participant children come from families who emigrate from the countryside with different daily habits and customs. Most of them are children with a good development of their thick motricity but whose nutritious habits and health care hadn’t been good enough as some of them have malnutrition problems. In relation to this situation, the Family and Community Strengthening Program gives education services for parents about the culture of well-treatment and development and growth of children under 6 years old, considering that they are the first socialization school.

Marco Antonio Tapia

Director SOS Children’s Village El Alto