Last Updated: 19/11/21

As of July 19, an average of 1,098 new cases of COVID-19 are being recorded in Bolivia per day. This is only a third the number of cases reported in June. At this point, the country has fully vaccinated around almost 14% of its 11.6 million people, up from just under 8% in June. Bolivian schools have remained partially reopened since February. Masking and social distancing are required in all public places, though no nationwide lockdown has been mandated. Overall, public transportation, stores and restaurants are operating with restrictions.

The majority of Compassion child development centers remain on hold, with staff calling families to check in and provide spiritual and emotional support. However, a third of centers are now able to conduct small group gatherings, and a few centers are conducting home visits as their primary way of ministry. Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed almost 1,364,925 food packs and over 623,076 hygiene kits and provided over 109,430 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, the majority of centers in Bolivia remain closed. However, staff members continue to call families and visit homes where possible. More than 30% of centers are able to meet in small groups, with the remainder conducting home visits. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute almost 1,364,925 food packs and over 623,076 hygiene kits to children and their families! 

Are Children Receiving Letters?

Letters are currently being delivered in Bolivia. 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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