Kaya Children International

The mission of Kaya Children International is to address the unique needs of street children in Bolivia and around the world through direct service, research and advocacy.
Apr 28, 2014

A Transformation of a Child's Life

It’s a beautiful day in La Paz. The sun is shining brightly and the air is crisp. The Vision Team that has traveled from the States are with me, and as we walk from the hotel to the Kaya Center the team wonders what this day will bring. We turn the corner and hear the voices of children laughing and playing. The gates to the courtyard open and kids come running out, screaming with excitement, to see strangers who have traveled from afar, to visit, to play, to learn. While I’m observing all of the excitement around me I’m told to turn around, and as I do, I hear “Christina!” and running towards me, with the most beautiful smile across his face, is my Godson, Ysrael. I love this moment.

 

Nine years ago God crossed paths of two strangers from different countries. It was then that I met a young boy who had just recently left the streets. He had lived with other children, 9, 10, and 11-year-old boys, in an abandoned factory. They were forced to leave when the police came in and burned up all of their belongings.  It was then that this young boy took a chance to trust that someone would love, protect, and care for him.
 
He and I spent 10 short days together before I had to leave to go back home to the States. When I left, I knew God was calling me to play a larger role in this child’s life, but I wondered “what can I possibly do to make an impact in his life?” My husband and I agreed that we would become his child sponsors, but more importantly we committed to be consistent participants in his life.
 
Today, he is not a young boy, but a young man. He has high self- esteem, has been provided an education, an encouraging environment, a loving family at Kaya, and aspirations for his future. His smile, enthusiasm, and love for life are contagious.
 
As a child sponsor, I didn’t know what to expect, I only knew that I felt called. Our family played just a small role in a huge story, but it’s been a privilege to observe the transformation of a child’s life, and the grace God has covered him with.
 
Two years ago, my husband and I decided to once again join others as a sponsor for another child – this time, a girl at Kaya. I’ve had the honor of meeting her, and I know she is hurting inside. Again I wonder, “what can I possibly do to make an impact in her life?”  It is then that I draw on my belief that God has called on each one of us to help play a role in a child’s life, even if it is a small one. Please join me and help make a difference in a child’s life by giving today.
Apr 28, 2014

New Life, New Hope

On Christmas Eve 2009, an 8-year-old boy walked into the Kaya Center, his arm wrapped firmly around the shoulders of one of his little brothers. Gerardo hadn’t seen his parents in years and didn’t know where his other little brother was. Hungry and hurting, his face was lined with concerns that no child his age should know: where will we sleep, when will we eat, how will I protect us tonight? He came with no possessions, yet he carried a heavy burden: the pain of years of abuse and abandonment, the unique wounds inflicted by life on the streets.
 
As I think about this time in the church year when we celebrate resurrection, restoration, and rebirth, I can’t help but think of Gerardo, that boy we met over 4 years ago. Because much like the story of Easter, Gerardo’s story is filled with new hope and new life.
 
That Christmas Eve, Gerardo was welcomed to Kaya with loving arms, and found a place where healing and transformation could begin. Today, Gerardo is an incredible kid. He is funny and smart. He makes me laugh when he talks endlessly about his pet snails. He has big plans for his life and dreams of travelling the world. He still has hard days. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other holidays bring back the pain of the past, but he doesn’t have to face these days alone. He has people in his life that love him, care about him, pray for him, and help bear his burdens.
 
Earlier this year Gerardo went to our church youth camp. There, Gerardo walked through another new door, as he committed his life to Christ, one of four Kaya boys who asked to be baptized. Now that’s new life!
 
Kaya exists to live out the love and hope of the Resurrection in this world, and to love each child in our care as our own. Next week, we will be sharing with you by mail a new look at how Kaya loves and serves boys, girls, and mothers in Bolivia. Please take a moment to reacquaint yourself with our ministry and consider how you can support our work. We are in deep need for your financial partnership so our work here can continue. Through your support, Gerardo has found a new home and new life in a true family who loves him unconditionally. I want to be sure Kaya continues to provide a home for Gerardo. Would you consider making a gift to Kaya Children through GlobalGiving today?
 
Apr 25, 2014

Expanding Our Impact

  • Kaya currently has 30 boys living in 4 residential homes
  • Kaya currently serves 73 children daily in a full-day program that works with children who are at high risk of ending up on the streets

Most children served at the Kaya Center were spending much of their time working and hanging out in the streets and were not attending school. Children served in the full-day program come from very unstable, poor homes, many with a history of abuse and neglect in their families. At the Kaya Center, children receive a meal, emotional and educational support, clothing and educational materials, and a safe a stable environment to learn and play.

Over the past 5 years, we’ve served many young girls through our programs at the Kaya Center and are grateful for that. It’s been great to help children who are entering street life but still have stable enough homes that we can support their families and prevent high-risk children from entering the streets. While this has enabled us to serve girls, who we previously did not serve, it’s also made the need for a girls' residential home painfully obvious to us. Without the possibility of a residential home we keep encountering the same problem: we cannot help some girls. It’s not because we don’t have the skills or desire, it’s because we don’t have the resources. Just like boys, there are girls in our program living in unstable or abusive homes or simply not in a home at all. These girls would be best served by entering a residential program. Kaya has the experience, partnerships and desire necessary to serve these children, but we need the facilities to do so. 

Thank you for partnering together with us to transform lives in Bolivia. Please consider a donation in any amount to Kaya to help us continue this vital ministry.

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