Last Updated: 03/23/2021 

Bolivia reported 44,558 active cases of COVID-19 on March 4. A total of 11,734 persons have died from the disease since the start of the pandemic. Most of the new cases are located in its largest province, Santa Cruz. The country’s vaccination drive began there in late February and has expanded to other regions, including La Paz. The national government has not imposed a quarantine or restrictions, although some local governments have issued orders for wearing of face masks. 

Group activities at all Compassion child development centers remain on hold. Staff and volunteers are calling beneficiaries to provide spiritual and emotional support and visiting families where possible. Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed over 815,700 food packs and 395,000 hygiene kits and provided nearly 42,000 individuals with medical support. 

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Bolivia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Bolivia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Bolivia are closed. However, staff members continue to call and check in on families. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute about 8157000 food packs and nearly 395,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

Letters are currently being delivered in Bolivia, although delivery to and from your child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing your child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Bolivia. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. 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 be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

For poor families in Bolivia whose resources were already scarce, COVID-19 is creating more challenges. When the government announced a national quarantine, many of the families in Compassion's program could no longer go out to work. They found themselves in an impossible situation: choosing whether to buy sanitation supplies or food.

“When the pandemic started, families weren't paying attention to the safety measures, so we distributed hygiene kits as soon as possible. Otherwise, they were at risk of getting infected,” says Cruz Choque, director of a child development center.

Julia is a single mother of four children. Three of them — sons Yosvany, 10, and Jesus, 11, and daughter Heidi, 13 — are registered in Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program at the local center. Until the quarantine, Julia sold pastries to support her children. When she was no longer able to work, their income stopped. The family had only potatoes to eat. Purchasing sanitizer, soaps and facemasks simply was not possible.

“When I went to pick up my hygiene kit at the church, I wasn't wearing a face mask. I didn't have one, or the money to buy it,” says Julia. “If I don't even have money to buy food, how can I buy a face mask?”

In the kits, children receive hand sanitizers, body soap, laundry soap, rubbing alcohol, face masks, toothpaste and shampoo. Most importantly, they learn the importance of maintaining good hygiene. The center staff explains to parents about the worldwide epidemic, how the virus is transmitted and how to protect their families. They explain how to wear a face mask correctly, how and when to use the sanitizer, and the frequency to wash their hands. These precautions are working.

“We have been taking care just like we learned, and my whole family is using the products you gave us,” says Julia. “We've been practicing the habits, so we are all healthy.”

How can I pray for Bolivia?

Pray that God will give wisdom and effectiveness to health workers as they seek to care for and prevent people from contracting COVID-19.

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