OUR ARTISANS IN BOLIVIA
The Children’s Institute or Centro Infantil runs each day of the week from 8-6 for children ages 0-7. It is supported by the Women's cooperative in Bolivia. It is intended for children whose parents cannot afford daycare and must work. Without this Centro, the children would be left at home to fend for themselves. Initiated in 1993 after a child in the community died from malnutrition, the center was opened with only 20 children. Since then, the centro has grown in attendance to nearly 200 children. They are taught integrated life skills, basic Spanish reading and writing, music, and math lessons in order to prepare for Kindergarten.
“When I first joined the women sewing by faith, I did not know how to sew. I worked for a year learning to use a sewing machine.During that year, I just sewed by hand. When I got my first payment from the cooperative after the year of work, I used the money to buy a sewing machine for $120 so I could continue working to help the group. With my next payment, I bought a bed and my children were so happy. We had all been sleeping on the floor.”
"I didn’t know where to go for help and support. I had an infant and a toddler with no other family. This ministry was my family when I had no other family. I lived in the “campo” or impoverished rural region of the city and life was difficult. At that time, I was working washing clothes for $22/month. My rent was $15/month so I had only $7/month to support my children. The first time I was paid for my sewing by the cooperative, I bought my children milk. Since then, I have been able to save enough money to find safer living with a roof.”