Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America, with increasing migration of rural population, mostly illiterate and extremely poor, moving to urban centres such as El Alto. These migrant families are often divided as one or both parents are forced to leave their families to seek work elsewhere. The most vulnerable; women, children and adolescents remain. The city of El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz has some of the highest rates of violence against women and children. A large number of these migrant families' children are faced with extreme poverty, poor educational support, malnutrition, insufficient health care and increased risk of sexual abuse and gang violence.
Our vision is to drive change in communities by having children stay in school longer, with increased numbers going to post secondary school and being able to overcome limitations and challenges within their communities such as poverty, child abuse/sexual abuse, child abandonment and learning disabilities
HELP Bolivia Mission Statement:
To relieve poverty in Bolivia by providing programs that deliver education, counselling and nutrition to underprivileged children as well as skills training to underprivileged women and youth.
In 2020 Help Bolivia Foundation received a grant from the Worldwide Education and Research Institute (WERI) to purchase tablets for the children so they could keep in touch with the educators during Lockdown.
In 2021 Help Bolivia Foundation received a grant from Fig Tree Foundation to purchase computers for the children to use to access online classes.
In 2022 Help Bolivia Foundation received a grant from Fig Tree Foundation to run a 12 month Sewing & Entrepreneurship Training Program for 30 Indigenous Aymara women.
In January the team at the Tahuantinsuyo Community Centre were busy making plans for the 2022 school year, which was set to be in person for the first time in 2 years! An assessment was taken of the repairs and maintenance needed at the building, and fundraising campaigns for this began.
In February the first of the repairs and upgrades took place, just ahead of the return of the children! A new hood and vent were installed over the gas cooker in the kitchen making it safer for everyone. The children returned to school and the Centre this month, and life began to feel a bit back to normal.
In March, French couple Remi & Sarah began volunteer work at the Centre, teaching the children English in a fun and captivating way. Although they have now returned to Europe, they are still very much in the hearts and thoughts of the children at the Centre. Remi and Sarah feel the same way about the kids!
In April, Help Bolivia held its 4th AGM. Board of Directors are: Matt Hill - President; Lydia Hill - Secretary; Bob Law - Vice President; Henry Wiens CPA, CA – Treasurer, Kristy Rouleau – Director, Paul DuBeau – Director, Ibukun Adewale – Director. In Bolivia the children were settling back into their routines with school and being at the Centre.
In May, work began at the Centre to increase the security of the premises. The surrounding walls were heightened with broken glass embedded at the top to deter would-be-thieves. Help Bolivia turned 4!
In June, another shipment of toothbrushes and other oral hygiene materials from The World Smiles Mission arrived and were distributed to the children and their families. In Airdrie, Help Bolivia Foundation held a Father’s Day Frisbee Golf Fundraiser which included facepainting, frisbee golf, prizes, and a visit from Allen the Alpaca!
In July, HBF Directors Matt, Lydia, and Bob (along with Bob’s wife Carol) traveled to Bolivia to see the kids! The trip included a day at Lake Titicaca with the children and their families, and the official signing of an agreement with in-country partner AHIEZER to commence a second program for children in Villa Ingenio! The children and their families were very happy to see the Canadians, and several families invited the Canadians to visit their homes.
In August, HBF held their 2nd annual Fitness Challenge where enthusiastic participants across Canada created & carried out fitness goals for themselves while raising money for the programs in Bolivia. The Challenge raised a whopping $5,230! Preparations also began in Villa Ingenio for the launch of the new program!
In September, thanks to a grant from Fig Tree Foundation, the sewing & entrepreneurship program began at Tahuantinsuyo. This program will run for 12 months and will teach vital, employable skills to 30 women and youth. In Villa Ingenio, the Saturday afternoon program launched with great success! 48 children ages 6 to 13 attend every Saturday. The final work on the outside perimeter walls at the Tahuantinsuyo Community Centre was completed, as well as electrical wiring upgrades inside.
In October, Mathilde began volunteering at the Tahuantinsuyo Community Centre, teaching basic English to the older teens. The crochet class that was kicked off in July continued with great enthusiasm, with even the boys joining in to learn this fun and educational skill.
In November schools closed early in Bolivia, but the programs in Tahuantinsuyo and Villa Ingenio continued. The children were happy to continue spending time together in the fun & safe havens created by the programs. HBF was thrilled to receive notice of two grants from charitable foundations this month. The Worldwide Education and Research Institute (WERI) provided a grant to support procurement of materials required for Villa Ingenio including sports equipment, games and arts and crafts materials. The Peterborough K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation also provided a grant to support HBF operations in Bolivia.
In December the programs wrapped up with Christmas Fiestas, plus a graduation ceremony at Villa Ingenio to celebrate the graduation of 48 children from the program. Summer break began, with many of the children returning to their rural villages to help with farming, and to visit family. The educators and staff are on a much needed break, but are also spending time planning and preparing for the new year.
Help Bolivia Foundation is grateful to the donors that made these programs possible. Without you, we could not do what we do. Together we are making a difference in the lives of these children and their families. Thank you!
When donors visit the Tahuantinsuyo Community Centre, they are always thrilled to find their names on the Brick Wall donor poster in the lunchroom. We are now building the Brick Wall donor poster for Villa Ingenio! So don’t miss your chance to become a founder of this new program to transform lives.
And even more excitingly, ATB Cares will provide a 20% match on your gift… meaning your donation will go even further! Your $100 turns into $120 for the children; $200 turns into $240!
Click the link below to donate, and in the comments field, say “Brick – your name/in memory of.” When 100 bricks are donated, we will deliver the new brick wall poster to Villa Ingenio. Thank you so much for your support!
This Spring the last of the walls were built up and then had broken glass embedded at the top to deter robbery. Thank you to our donors who sponsored the security improvements!
Help Bolivia’s second project to help children-in-need has launched! This new program, located in the Villa Ingenio neighbourhood of El Alto, will run on Saturday afternoons, eventually becoming a five-day-a-week program as funding grows. Click on the pic above for a short video!
Our volunteer Vaishali has spent countless hours designing merch in English, Spanish, French, and German. Check it out! More items will be added each quarter, so keep checking back!
The Tahuantinsutyo Community Centre is ageing and in need of repairs to keep the children safe and comfortable. Can you help out? Click on the link to learn more and make a donation. Muchas Gracias!
As we start off the New Year, we take some time to reflect on the changes that happened in 2021 for the children and their families at the Tahuantinsuyo Community Centre.
Over the summer break (January/February), we continued to provide food bundles for the families who were still feeling the impact of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bolivian government announced that school would be online for urban students, so in February wifi was installed at the Centre, and in March the Centre opened up for the children to access online classes. Rosalia began cooking meals for the families to take home, which was much appreciated by all.
Also in March the families received gifts of toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and even crayons & colouring books from the U.S. based World Smiles Mission, with the colouring books being a big hit!
In April, thanks to our donors and a grant from the World Education Resource Institute, we began to at long last build the computer lab with the purchase of 4 used desk top computers and more tablets.
The children continued to come in for online classes only through May and June. In June the children went on a much needed walking adventure with the teachers and some parents. They were so pleased to get together again outdoors!
In July the hot lunch program resumed with the children eating at the Centre, although physically distanced.
In August the equipment for the sewing program was purchased, and in September two sewing classes began – one for parents, and one for the older students. Their first assignment was to make themselves PPE!
Also in September the Bolivian urban schools began a hybrid of in class instruction 2 to 3 days a week, coupled with online classes the rest of the time. The children continued to go to the Centre every day for lunch, and then either headed to school, or accessed their online classes.
In October we continued to build the computer lab thanks to a grant from The Fig Tree Foundation, which saw us add 6 desktop computers and a laptop. Digital literacy is more important than ever, and we are grateful to have been able to provide these tools to the Centre.
In November in the midst of a pandemic, we were able to resume all services for the children at the Centre which was very welcome by the children and families.
In December they wrapped up the school year with a Christmas Fiesta held inside the Centre, with music, dancing, food, and gifts! It was a good time held by all.
As always, we are deeply thankful for the support we receive for these children and their families. Together we are making a difference in their lives, and for that we are very grateful. Here’s hoping 2022 will bring more positive changes for these children and their families. Happy New Year!
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One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young girl who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the girl and asked what she was doing. Without looking up from her task, the girl simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “But, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The girl picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one, Sir!”
The old man looked thoughtfully at the small girl. And then he, too, began throwing starfish back into the ocean...
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading your support of our work by word of mouth, thank you! We could not accomplish our goals without supporters like you. Thank you for your HELP to “Build Brighter Futures” for Bolivia’s underprivileged children!
We would love to hear from you!