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Ministry Highlight: Bolivia
Posted By Web Team On December 30, 2011 @ 12:20 am In Country Staff | 6 Comments
We began our ministry in Bolivia in 1975 with the Child Sponsorship Program. The Leadership Development Program started in 1998, and in 2008 the Child Survival Program began.
The ministry in Bolivia is now geographically positioned in almost 70 percent of the Bolivian territory and has built a positive reputation both inside and outside of the evangelical community.
In 1984 Mario Vasquez started out with the ministry in Bolivia as a messenger and courier.
Through the years he served as an accounting assistant, an accountant, and Director of Operations. In 1991 Mario was promoted to Country Director.
Mario holds degrees in business administration, accounting and auditing. He is active at the Bethesda New Community Church and is involved in various activities within the evangelical community.
He serves on the Cochabamba Unified Churches Board and also participates in the Universal Theological Fraternity in the city of La Paz.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches with whom we work to deliver our Child Development Program and ministry in the field.
The geographic locations of the child development centers and high staff turnover are also challenges.
The financial assistance for needy families is provided one to three times per year and is $100 per family on average. The church leadership and child development center staff determines who receives this support.
Child Survival Program
We take advantage of the bimonthly home visits to give homework. In addition, 15 percent of churches have made alliances with educational institutions that have experience in literacy.
Technical training includes cooking, knitting, cloth painting and decorating.
Bolivia has a national health program, the Mother and Child Universal Service program, which covers children under the age of five and pregnant women from the start of their pregnancy until six months after delivery.
The objective of the Mother and Child Universal Service program is to reduce malnutrition and child mortality in children five years of age and younger. For children, this program covers consultations, treatment, hospitalization, surgery, dental treatment, vitamin supplements and medication, if needed. For mothers, this program covers consultations, treatment, hospitalization, and surgery related to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care as well as dental treatment, micronutrients and medication, if needed.
The Mother and Child Universal Service program does not always function according to its design, however, especially in rural areas and areas of poverty where the Child Survival Programs are located. So we teach mothers their rights in regard to the Mother and Child Universal Service program, ensuring that each mother utilizes the program fully.
In the event that the Mother and Child Universal Service program does not meet mother or child needs, we use medical funds and funds from Implementing Church Partners.
Fathers are sometimes given “homework” that covers their role as men, husbands and fathers. In many cases, it seems that the fathers put pressure on the mothers to participate in program activities.
During the second phase of the transition strategy, children who are 40 to 41 months old continue to learn activities in the Child Survival Program, but will also visit Child Sponsorship Program classes to meet the sponsorship program tutors.
During this time, we identify mothers with teaching abilities, so they can work with other mothers as trainers in group activities in the future. We hope these activities will make the transition less traumatic for both mothers and children.
Child Development Through Sponsorship
Your sponsorship of a child in Bolivia provides a variety of benefits.
Children in our Child Sponsorship Program who go to school in the morning attend the Child Development Program in the afternoon, and the children who go to school in the afternoon attend the program in the morning. Teenagers spend less time at the center because they have more schoolwork.
Both the snack and lunch menus are prepared by a nutritionist. We feel that meals are very important for the development of the children because many do not have well-balanced meals at home.
Children go to health centers that give vaccinations through government medical campaigns; some of these vaccines are free and others have an associated fee. If a child is under five, the Bolivian government will provide all vaccines free of charge.
We offer service activities, church retreats, campouts, youth counseling, and technical training, such as computer training, pastry making, dress making and English.
There are nine topics covered in a year, one topic per month. We have social activities and celebrate occasions such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And in some cases, we have health campaigns that provide medical care, such as dental and eye care to the parents and siblings of sponsored children.
Leadership Development Program
Also, Leadership Development Program Specialists will talk to people at church or other Christian organizations who shown interest in developing leadership skills among young people.
Our core Child Sponsorship Program, while comprehensive, does not address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development.
Compassion’s Complementary Interventions program was created to provide additional services as needed, such as our AIDS Initiative, disaster relief, water projects, special medical intervention and provision of Bibles to all Compassion-assisted children.
Complementary Interventions in Bolivia include medical and education funds. Additional Complementary Interventions are selected based on annual strategic planning.
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