Produced by the COMMUNITY OF SAINT PAUL and CREARSA
CITY OF COCHABAMBA
Assisting Vulnerable Children
Casa San José is an institution in Bolivia run by the CSP. It welcomes boys and teenagers who live on the streets of Cochabamba and who have cut off ties with their families. The goal of Casa San José is to prevent these children and teenagers from ending up in criminal and abusive networks. Early intervention is necessary, as well as the work to strengthen family ties so that the children may return to their families.
While in Casa San José (24/7) the children and teenagers participate in various activities geared toward returning to their families, together with rehabilitative and therapeutic interventions, while considering the traumas and sufferings the youth have experienced.
Likewise, we work with the families of the boys and adolescents, prior to family reintegration, through the Family School, which helps to strengthen the family bond between parents and children.
Once a child has reintegrated with his family for one year, the team of Casa San José follows up with the family to ensure that the child receives good treatment and that the child’s rights are respected.
RURAL AREAS: MUNICIPALITY OF INDEPENDENCIA AND THE MUNICIPALITY OF VACAS
Promoting Good Health
In the Municipality of Independencia, the “Heath Promotion and Primary Care” program covers six rural communities and responds to poor health care options and deficiencies in the rural population. The program offers various basic hygiene, nutrition, and health concept workshops to area residents. It also carries out primary medical care that helps promote good health and healthy attitudes and behaviors among the residents, and overall preventative knowledge.
As part of this health program, we have a construction project for building decent bathroom facilities. This is to promote better personal hygiene and overall sanitation. These one-family bathrooms each include a toilet and a hot water shower. They represent an important moment of change for the area residents. The ultimate goals of this project are to improve the health conditions of the region, and to decrease the incidence of contagious and gastrointestinal diseases in the region.
Also, in the Independencia and Vacas municipalities, we have a program to increase the production of artisanal textiles. Women learn to make clothing by hand or through weaving for family use. These sessions also provide an opportunity for training about gender and equity, providing an understanding of the important role of women in their families and community. At the same time, the program creates a space for women to have dialogue with one another about their struggles and their day-to-day lives. As a result of these activities, various women have encouraged one another and begun to sell quality garments made of alpaca wool, and the women have been able to see that their work and efforts are financially rewarding.
Supporting Young Adult Education
Part of the development project in these rural areas includes a young adult scholarship program for technical studies. Young people from rural communities in Bolivia have difficulty attending technical schools since there are no institutions in remote areas. The only possibility for these students is to move to the city, which is impossible in most cases, and the reason why many young adults drop out of school.
To prevent dropouts within the municipality of Vacas, a group of primary and high school students are provided with transportation to a school which is located six miles away. If the students did not have this service, they would need to travel that distance by foot.
In order to improve the quality of life of the peasants who live in these two rural municipalities, we have begun various agricultural projects with the aim of providing food security and better economic stability in the region.
Our efforts to improve the genetics of sheep has resulted in improved offspring quality and lower mortality rates. Also, the sheep are gaining weight and growing better than before.
Our project also promotes the production of camelids among peasant families. Farming families focus on acquiring higher-quality meat-producing camelid males to further improve the reproductive quality of the offspring. The project also offers technical advice on the care and breeding of llamas.
Various families in the Vacas municipality also participate in the production of “Boletus granulatus” mushrooms. The young women are responsible for collecting, drying, and bagging them for sale, thus helping the women to have financial resources for their studies and for their personal expenses.
In both the Vacas and Independencia municipalities we have a pine reforestation program. Pine regeneration improves the land in the region. In this project, various participating families in the region are involved in the production of pine seedlings in a high-altitude nursery and in the subsequent plantings of the seedlings. With this multi-year project, we have worked to counteract some of the significant deforestation happening in the area and have guaranteed an improvement in the availability of wood, firewood, and other material for the needs of the region.