BY PAULA MORAN, MISSION COORDINATOR
Mission to Bolivia – 2012
We had a great visit with all the kids at a center for ‘at risk children’ in El Alto, Bolivia. We offered, as requested, food and working tables upon which the older children will prepare the bread that is baked on the premises. The children loved the goodie bags we distributed as well as the knitted hats. We were treated to cookies and hot chocolate made with ‘liquid milk’ since we were special guests.
As always, volunteers also spent a morning visiting several wards at the Children’s Hospital, going bed to bed delivering warm clothing, hygiene supplies, and toys. Our time visiting with these children is never long enough! Their brave smiles are definitely contagious!As always, volunteers also spent a morning visiting several wards at the Children’s Hospital, going bed to bed delivering warm clothing, hygiene supplies, and toys. Our time visiting with these children is never long enough! Their brave smiles are definitely contagious!
A donated wheelchair was given to Julio, a 40 year old father who was robbed and beaten on his way home from work. He was left for dead in a ditch and is now paralyzed from the waist down. Julio has eight children, seven girls and one boy. He is cared for by his eldest daughter who has downs syndrome. His only son, also his youngest child, is a student at a project we support, the Huascar Cajias school for the Deaf.
If you would like to join our annual trip to Bolivia, please contact us at
BOLIVIA PHOTO SLIDESHOW
Helping Hands Project
We met with Marina and Nathaly, two students whose high school studies GLP has been supporting since last year . They are both doing well in school and making plans for their future.,,
The Helping Hand Project originally focused on teenage boys who were forced to leave the Mendez Arcos State Boy’s Home when they turned 15. Many of the boys, upon leaving the home still need two or three years of high school, and no family to help support them. The Project now fills that gap and aims to keep marginalized Bolivian youth in school until they complete their high school education. The Project extended its goals and now sponsors fifty boys and girls who are attending universities or technical schools.. Housing and tuition is provided by sponsors. The students must work to pay for food and other expenses and are required to find their own housing, pay university application fees, and maintain good grades.
Hospital del Niño’s (Children’s Hospital)
We visited 2 wards at the Children’s Hospital, going bed to bed delivering toys, hygiene supplies (soap, toothpaste and brushes, etc) and lots of smiles! Our time visiting with the children is never long enough. Medical supplies including rubber gloves, hospital gowns, scrubs,dental instruments, toothpaste and toothbrushes were donated to the clinic.
Dialysis Treatment Center at Public Hospital
We were able to tour the Dialysis Treatment Center which operates 24 hours a day because of a shortage of machines. The Center has many needs including dialysis machines, blankets, beds, and even the most basic hygiene supplies. GLP volunteers presented the director of the Center with a wheelchair for special need patients.
Caritas Social Services-EL Alto:: Program RCB “Yanapasina”
Based on the recommendations of Caritas social workers, we visited the homes of disabled children and their families living in extreme poverty. We met with over 10 families and. here are a few of their stories:
Rolando, 15 was born at home with severe physical and mental disabilities including cerebral palsy. He has never been to school and requires 24 hour care from his parents. Rolando has been in the Caritas program for nearly 1 year and has shown much progress. After 1 year of physical therapy he can almost straighten his legs and is learning hygiene skills. His mother sells snacks of dried beans on the street. It takes her 3 days of work to earn the equivalent of just under $3.00. A working capital donation was made so that Rolando’s mother can upgrade her stall and sell a greater variety of snacks.
Gregoria’s son 8 yr. old Julio was born with intellectual disabilities. His father left after he was born to start a ‘new family’. Gregoria sells vegetables on the street. She would like to sell non-perishable food such as rice/beans. We offered a working capital donation so that she could buy stock and a cart.
Norma’s child has multiple disabilities and needs corrective surgery on his leg and a new brace. Her husband has left. She would like to make and sell snacks on the street to earn the money for her son’s surgery. GLP offered her a working capital donation for that purpose. The social workers and neighborhood volunteers at Caritas work closely with the families receiving aid and oversee donations.
In February 2011, over 400 homes were lost after torrential rains, deemed the worse te city had ever seen, led to mud slides in La Paz. The mudslides displaced at least 20 families who have been a part of the Caritas La Paz program. Government sponsored re-settlement camps have been set up in the neighborhoods to offer temporary housing.
GLP volunteers toured a re-settlement camp focusing specifically on the needs of families with a disabled family member. Ten of these families were helped by a GLP donation made last March. All of the mothers were very proud to tell us that because of our working capital donations they can provide their children with a better life.
One woman, who is deaf and a single mother to 3 children, was abandoned by her husband.
Soli was able to buy a commercial popcorn cart that she and her 14 year old daughter use to help support their family.
Another young mother, Rosaria, asked for an oven so that she can bake bread to sell at the market. She has a daughter with spin bifida. The girl’s father left soon after she was born.
“Another indelible memory was listening to individual requests for help to buy a usedwing machine, a popcorn maker, or some other small piece of equipment which will improve their everyday lives Hopefully, we have made a difference in a few people’s lives.” Volunteers – Bruce and Irmgard Willock
Obra Padre Lutz :: El Alto
This outreach program targets shoeshine boys on the streets of El Alto, and families at risk.
Parents are sometimes forced to work late at night in dangerous areas selling cigarettes and candy in bars and on street corners. More often than not, their children are with them. Some children as early as 5 years old start working on the streets alone. Volunteers in the program work at night bringing hot food and aid to such families and children.
The group also has a food program to help impoverished families receive basic grocery items. Food is purchased in bulk and distributed every 3 months to participating families. The head of the household has 3 months to pay back the $60.00 food loan. At the end of the 3 months, the family is eligible to receive another supply. The program has been a big success.
Out Reach Program: We met with 3 families we hope to help in the very near future.
Herman and his wife sell candy at night with their 3 children in tow. They live in a shack made of scrap metal, have no stove, or electricity. All 5 family members sleep on 1 mattress.
Carmen also sells candy at night. She leaves her 2 young grandchildren at home alone. One of her granddaughters has had an earache for 2 weeks. But they cannot afford to see a doctor.
Julia was selling cigarettes in the bars after her husband abandoned the family. Her 14 year old daughter had to take over the work when Julia was in an accident. She has 4 other children to feed.
When the first students graduated from Huascar Cajias School for Deaf5 years ago, this public High School was the only school in La Paz that would accept these hearing impaired children as students. Now we have 2 more deaf students about to graduate from High School! They have studied at Uruguay with the help of sign language interpreters and the cooperation and support of faculty, administration, and the other students. We were treated to a musical program including dance, poetry, and mime, which featured both deaf and hearing students.
Deaf students rely on vibrations when taking part in dance and other musical programs.
GLP made a donation to the Music Department of the High School of band instruments including drums and xylophones. Music plays a large part in the school curriculum and now they have the makings of a proper High School band!
“This year, making my 2nd trip to Uruguay H.S. brought me to tears. It was wonderful to see the differences that have been taking place for these intelligent, handicapped students! The students & teachers were so appreciative of our group’s support! It was so exciting to hear that some of these ‘good-hearted’ teachers want to learn sign language themselves. This surely shows the wonderful hearts of the teachers who want to be able to help their students themselves, without the need of an interpreter.” – Volunteer, Sue Noonan
Santa Cecilia Center for the Blind
This year we surprised the students and teachers at the Center with a box of Braille tablets, Braille paper, and yarn! Our group was given a demonstration in reading Braille, shown handwork from a knitting class, and listened to traditional Bolivian music. The needs of the center are still great and we left with a long list of items including more writing tablets, soccer balls, (specially made for the blind with internal bells), canes, and music software.
San Antonio – Adult Education Center
Over 200 students attend evening classes at this center for adult education where classes in hairdressing, tailoring, industrial sewing, baking, and word processing are offered. We are always very impressed by the eagerness of the students to learn a trade that will enable them to support themselves and their families. Most students are single mothers. On this visit we were pleased to be able to contribute a donation of chairs to the new computer classroom and bright colored smocks for beauty school. We were excited to see a graduate from Huascar Cajjas School for the Deaf attending classes at San Antonio. Gloria dropped out of high school when she had a baby 2 years ago. Last year Global Legacy Programs provided Gloria and her husband (also a HC graduate) with a capital donation so that Gloria could go back to school. She is studying Industrial Sewing, and is doing very well. We are all very proud of her!
Bautista Savedora Community School::
Every student at this school in Puerto Perez received a toothbrush and toothpaste after watching GLP volunteer Loretta Castagnolo give a tooth brushing demonstration.
Escuela Huascar Cajias – School for Deaf Children
The students, faculty, and parents of the school were so happy to show off their new school. We toured the new classrooms and computer lab we have been working so hard to build. The pride in the eyes of teachers, parents, and administrators is heartwarming. Students, faculty and parents are hoping we can keep returning to the school to see more progress, expand the computer program, and continue our special friendship with these wonderful kids.
On our last day in La Paz we escorted 2 busses full of students, staff, and parents (and a few grandparents) to a lakeside park on the Southern shore of Lake Titicaca. Everyone was happy to be out of the city for the day playing Frisbee, soccer, and other games. After our picnic lunch all GLP volunteers gave special gifts to all students and faculty members.
Office of Dr. Tahia Rojas Rivas
GLP volunteers were able to be present when 2 young boys received their first hearing aids. 4 yr. old Ibraham and 6yr old Jonathan not only have hearing loss, but also have malformed ear canals that make it impossible to use a conventional haring aid. GLP donated bone conductor hearing aids that are worn on the outside much like a headband and rely on vibrations to transfer sounds
Wheelchair Donations The lives of 4 people and their families was made a little easier with the donation of new wheelchairs. Maria will not have to carry her 12 year old daughter on her back and 38 year old Herme will be able to leave the small room he lives in to sit outside. A grandfather in Puerto Perez had not left his home in over 2 years.
Everything that we accomplished on our mission was only possible because of the generosity and help of many friends, relatives, school children, churches, co-workers, and individual donors.
In behalf of Global Legacy Programs and myself, I would like to thank , here in the United States, – American Airlines and The Starkey Hearing Foundation. In Bolivia, my tireless coordinators , Diane Bellomy, and Rina Guzman, Dr. Tahia Rojas Rivas and the staff at the Hotel Rosario in La Paz.
Thank you especially to my team members, David and Loretta Castagnolo, Sue and Michael Noonan, Dorothy Serozynsky,and Bruce and Irmgard Willock, Their dedication, enthusiasm, and selfless efforts to help the children in Bolivia,contributed to make this a most memorable and successful mission.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support,
What can you do to help?
Can you donate any of these items?
Wheelchairs, hearing aids, medical equipment such as nebulizers and blood pressure monitors. Recycled laptop computers in good working condition. Contact us if you want to organize a collection of the following items:
School supplies (pens, pencils, children’s scissors, stickers, crayons, markers)
Hygiene items (such as soap, wash cloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes, Chapstick, and hand lotion)
Toys (such as Beanie Babies, small trucks and dinosaurs, and Barbie Dolls)
Cash donations for Bolivia are used to pay for medical procedures and to purchase items such as medicine, food, computers, medical procedures, and, hearing aids.
Paula Moran, Mission Coordinator
July 2011 Images: