BOLIVIA: Services grow to meet needs in community
Salesian missionaries are working to develop more supportive services for growing population in Cobija
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries are working to develop more supportive services for people in Cobija, Bolivia. The area has seen continued growth and has nearly 70,000 people. The growth is the result of migration from areas like La Paz, Oruro, and Cochabamba, as well as from the neighboring department of Beni. There is also migration from local Indigenous communities.
Salesians face challenges in the area, including low economic levels and a mediocre educational system.
A Salesian representative said, “We want to offer children and young people a meeting place with a family atmosphere where we can give them services of school support and human formation. Faced with this situation, we just want to be bearers of God’s love to these young people so far forgotten. This motivates us to give ourselves and we feel that it’s worth it.”
Salesian missionaries are already providing programs and services for poor children and families in communities across Bolivia. In Santa Cruz de la Sierra, for example, the Don Bosco Project acts as a hub to help coordinate activities among several local Salesian-run programs including Hogar Don Bosco, Mano Amiga, Patio Don Bosco and Techo Pinardi. Don Bosco Project provides comprehensive rehabilitation and vocational training programs that bring social inclusion and meaningful employment to its students.
Santa Cruz attracts youth who leave the difficult life of the rural highlands in search of new opportunities. The Don Bosco Project ensures these youth and others have access to emergency shelter, clothing and nutritious meals. Psychologists, social workers, health care staff and teachers work together to address the needs of almost 2,000 children who access primary and secondary schooling and vocational education.
Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and has the most unequal income distribution on the continent. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate was 35 percent in 2018. It is common for Bolivians to struggle to find adequate nutrition, shelter and other basic necessities. The geography of Bolivia contributes to the overwhelming poverty of its residents. Large swaths of the country remain undeveloped with a lack of roads and infrastructure.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – Bolivia
World Bank – Bolivia