Latest update

The Bolivian ministry of health reported a slowdown of new COVID-19 infections this month and a recovery rate of 68.2 per cent. As of 23 September, the country has reported 131,000 cases and 7693 deaths. Several cities have begun to relax lockdown measures by opening more public venues such as cinemas, gyms, liquor stores, cafeterias and internet cafes. School is canceled, both online and in person, until at least 2021. Additionally, the country is plagued by political unrest and protests after presidential elections were postponed for the second time.

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COVID-19 in Bolivia

How is Compassion currently operating in Bolivia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Group activities at all Compassion child development centres remain on hold.

    Partner churches are working to provide food, disease prevention materials and hygiene supplies to children and their families.

    Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed 427,053 food packs and 197,303 hygiene kits and provided 1119 individuals with medical support.

    They are also checking in with families via phone to provide spiritual and emotional support and arrange for telehealth calls. Compassion Bolivia has deployed teams of physicians and psychologists to support local church partners and has conducted trainings to help churches safely resume activities.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Bolivia, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Bolivia. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Bolivia who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Health and provision for Sofia’s mother, Juana, as she struggles to provide for her four children.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they seek to help Judith’s sister recover from an operation and no longer have any complications.
  • Continued healing and a quick recovery for the children, family, church staff, and pastors that were diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • God would give strength, safety, and health to the pastors and centre staff as they continue to love and care for the children and their families.
  • Comfort, strength, and safety of the staff as they grieve for the people who have passed away.
  • The Leadership Team as they determine the necessary safety measures that the local church partners need to keep the children safe.
  • God's Will would be accomplished in the upcoming presidential elections.
Providing support in Bolivia

Providing support in Bolivia

At her local church in Bolivia, Claudia is the only person approved to travel around her community and provide care for Compassion assisted children. Her work is crucial. Many neighbourhood children are vulnerable to abuse, especially during a lockdown.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Bolivia are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Bolivia

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 14 visit the Compassion centre for four hours a day, two days a week.
  • Students aged 15 and older attend the centre for four hours a day, two days a week.
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Compassion Program Activities in Bolivia

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Compassion assisted children in Bolivia typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Bolivia.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. A snack often consists of an egg sandwich with tea, fruit shake with crackers, fruit salad, or bread.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive a snack and lunch at the centre twice a week. The meals typically consist of vegetable soup, a lentil burger, salad, rice, dessert and apple juice.

Health lessons - Children learn practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are encouraged to join in sports teams, church and regional retreats and service activities (available for adolescents 12 years and older) such as cleaning up town squares and painting. Students can elect vocational training skills, such as computer literacy, pastry making, dressmaking and English.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Bolivia

155

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

Bolivia has made strong social and economic gains in the past two decades; in fact, it has been South America’s strongest-growing economy in that time. Yet the nation stands at a political crossroads, with President Evo Morales resigning in 2019 and subsequent elections delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a member of the Aymara indigenous majority and with a background in a coca growers’ union, President Evo Morales was elected in 2005 on a platform of reform, workers’ rights, and advocacy for the poor and marginalised.

He renationalised the oil and gas industries and used the subsequent income to invest in social programs, lifting millions of people out of poverty. Between 2000 and 2015, the proportion of Bolivians living on less than US$3.20/day fell from 42 per cent to 12.9 per cent, and the number living in extreme poverty (less than US$1.90/day) improved even more dramatically.

In 2019, he stepped down following weeks of unrest over disputed election results. Jeanine Anez, a conservative senator, assumed the presidency on an interim basis. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the situation and delayed elections scheduled for 2020.

Meanwhile, many children still live in poverty. Bolivia still struggles with the issue of child labour; many children of school age have traded the classroom for the workplace, often doing low-paid, difficult and dangerous work. It’s a move born of desperation, and while it may mean a slight increase in a family’s income, working children are at a long-term disadvantage when it comes to education and opportunities for stable employment.

Yet local churches are working hard to reach the most vulnerable families with the love of Jesus and a hope more powerful than poverty.

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