Tiquipaya is one of Bolivia's fastest growing towns. 10 km from the city of Cochabamba, is has largely grown unplanned and without sewerage and fresh water facilities.
Most of the residents of Tiquipaya live in extreme poverty. SOS Children's Villages has been supporting vulnerable families and children in Tiquipaya since 1974.
In the last 20 years the population in Tiquipaya has grown almost tenfold, and is now around 30,000. Much of the migration to the town has been due to the closure of local mines in rural areas of the department. Much of the land now developed used to be agricultural land, on which shanties have been built without things like running water, sewerage, or electricity.
Due to the explosion in population, local services have struggled to cope. Not everyone can access healthcare or education, and there is little work in the formal economy. Environmental conditions are poor which impact on the health of local residents.
Children lack opportunities
This is not a very good place for a child to grow up in. Due to the poor local economy, many children are malnourished. Their parents unable to get work that pays enough to support the family, many children have to go to work to help them. Because children have to work, there is little opportunity to get a formal education which impacts on their prospects for the future.
President Evo Morales has endeavoured to improve the situation of the poor in Bolivia. He has changed things for the better for many, but there is a long way to go. Illiteracy is still extremely high, and without educational qualifications it is almost impossible to get a job in the formal economy. This impacts on families, reducing the income they can earn, and has knock on effects on children's physical and mental development.
What we do in Tiquipaya
As a result of the difficulties faced by residents of Tiquipaya in getting formal employment, SOS Children's Villages has been focusing on helping people get vocational qualifications and education.
The first work we did in the town was to set up a vocational training centre where young people received training in bakery, dressmaking and computer repair among a number of other disciplines. Those in training are offered shared accommodation, while counsellors give them guidance as to make the best of their lives as adults.
SOS social centres in the town offer family support courses to help alleviate hardship in the community. In giving people the ability to work, so their children do not have to work to support the family. We also have a day-care centre where people can drop their children while they go to work. There is also a dentist and pharmacy to meet their other needs.
Finally, in our Children's Village in Tiquipaya, there are several SOS families for children who can longer live with their parents. Here, children grow up in a loving home, are cared for by an SOS Mother, and go to school in their community.
Children living in SOS Families are supported by child sponsors. Growing up in a nurturing home, they have hope for the future. Will you sponsor a child today?