Compassion started work in Bolivia in 1975. Today, there are over 89,000 children registered in our programs through 222 church partners.
of people live below the poverty line
lack access to improved sanitation
years is the average life expectancy
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 crossroads, thanks to a controversial decision from its highest court to allow President Evo Morales to seek election for a fourth term.
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 2016, President Morales sought permission to change the constitution and run for a third term, but the people voted against the proposal. After initially accepting the outcome, the President later challenged it in court—and won.
Opponents have criticised the court’s decision as a “blow to the [nation’s] constitution”. Despite some calls for protest, Bolivia has remained relatively calm, but feelings of unrest may grow as the election, due in 2019, draws closer. 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.
Dear Sponsor, Greetings from Bolivia! My name is Mario Vásquez, and I’ve been working for Compassion for about 33 years. I started as an errand boy, and 26 years ago I became National Director for Bolivia. I’m married; my wife’s name is Eva and together we have four beautiful daughters. And to complete the female domain in my home, we have a female cat as a pet.open_in_new Read full letter
Juan Quisbert suffered strong chest pains from the time he was a young boy. “I couldn’t do physical activities. I didn’t pass physical education at school,” he says. When Juan was seven years old, he joined the Compassion program at his local church. When he was 13, a regular medical checkup revealed he had an arrhythmia.open_in_new Read more