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TThe rich culture of Bolivia and its abundant indigenous people are world-renowned, however, the Bolivian economy is also one of South America’s poorest. The relationship between ethnicity and poverty in Bolivia is strong. Indigenous groups are often marginalized and do not have easy access to education and health care because of geographic, cultural and economic barriers. Without access to basic services, illness among children under 5 is high. Many children must travel long distances to attend school, and during harvest season families require their children’s help, so school attendance is often low, which limits their formal education. Machoism in Bolivia also affects families, schools and society. The Bolivian people accept discriminative practices against women as common and normal, and this belief sometimes leads to violence within the family, school and community.

ChildFund has served children in Bolivia since 1979.

Healthy mothers have healthier babies, but many Bolivian women die in childbirth each year. ChildFund trains birth attendants and supports local health centers so that knowledgeable health practitioners can help avoid obstetric emergencies and provide life-saving assistance when they occur. Community health volunteers educate families on how to prevent the life-threatening illnesses that are the main causes of death of young children. Volunteers are also trained to recognize danger signs so that children can be referred to the formal health system in time for treatment. Malnutrition is also an issue, but ChildFund’s trainings and programs have reduced the incidence of developmental delays that result from poor nutrition.

ChildFund Bolivia’s early childhood development programs complement its malnutrition efforts by helping parents learn about their children’s early development, beginning with breastfeeding. Early Childhood Development centers, which are designed specifically for preschool-age children, teach parents about child development and rely on their participation to run the centers.

Once children enter formal education in Bolivia, they continue to benefit from ChildFund’s after-school programs in ChildFund-supported community centers that offer academic support, leadership training and other educational opportunities. ChildFund Bolivia recently conducted a violence-prevention project in the city of Oruro to tackle the issue of bullying in schools. The project worked closely with students, teachers and parents, offering a series of workshops on the impact of bullying, providing tools to help children learn communication skills, and collaborating to create safe classroom environments.

Bolivian youth have been taking a strong stance against violence in their communities. With the help of educational materials that guide them through a project-management process, youth have designed projects to help prevent violence in their neighborhoods and promote a culture of peace. Within their youth clubs, youth leaders participate in workshops that explore the subject of violence, and guided discussions to help them talk about their experiences. They also explore specific problems around violence in their communities in depth, and each club chooses a specific problem to work on.


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  • December 5, 2012

    2 years old

  • Bolivia


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January 1 New Year's Day
March 20 Day of the Sea
March 29 Children's Day
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June 21 Aymara New Year
August 6 Independence Day
November 2 All Souls Day
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Culture Bolivia in Focus
Short Fiction Fire From the Andes
Poetry Andean Journeys Ronald Haladyna
Film Even the Rain
Documentary The Devil's Miner
Non-Fiction Violence and Performance in Urban Bolivia
Music Traditional Music From Bolivia
Cookbook My Mother's Bolivian Kitchen


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