Josue (age 11) and his brother, Fidel (age 9) moved into one of Kaya’s home earlier this year. They ran away from home two years earlier to escape abuse at the hands of their father. The dark, cold streets of La Paz were their home for nearly a year until their father went to jail. You can only imagine the excitement in these young boys hearts when they returned home to their mother and new stepfather.
Josue and Fidel’s family is extremely poor. Like many others, they live in crowded housing without sanitation, reliable running water or electricity. Josue and Fidel had to contribute to the household income in anyway possible. They guarded cars in the city streets, shined shoes and at times begged and stole. But life got even worse for the boys --their stepfather resented them. He denied them food, school fees and even at times refused to let them inside. A short time later, the physical abuse started again.
Despite having a family, Josue and Fidel were on the streets again until they arrived at Kaya. At Kaya, they are living in a safe haven escaping the violence and dangerous influences of the street. They are enrolled in school for the first time in nearly three years and receiving extra academic support. Through a new pilot program, Kaya is working with their mother. Our shared hope is for their reunification in a safe, healthy and loving environment. Most importantly, at Kaya, Josue and Fidel are learning that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.
It is a long, slow road. Many, many positive words of encouragement are needed to overcome the negative ones they have absorbed. Josue and Fidel, like many of Kaya’s children, have been beaten down for years. They are just starting to believe that there may be something different. Your support and ongoing partnership with Kaya helps make a difference in the lives of children like Josue and Fidel.
At the heart of all of Kaya’s day to day activities and services is The Kaya Center. The Center serves all of Kaya’s residential children and dozens of community children living on the streets, or those living at home but who are at extreme high risk of street life. Through education, therapeutic services and group activities, children grow emotionally, spiritually and learn to help themselves to a future with potential.
The Kaya Center utilizes a holistic, integrated, individualized, strength-based approach to caring for children. We address the physical, psychological, social, academic, and spiritual needs of the children in our care, using individualized service plans to manage intervention activities. Each child’s needs are carefully assessed upon entrance to the program. Services and development goals are customized according to the child’s strengths and weaknesses; and are integrated to maximize effectiveness. The therapists, teachers, and after-school program leaders work collaboratively to meet the holistic needs of the children.
To illustrate the importance of Kaya's holistic, early intervention services, we offer brief profiles of a few of the recent boys and girls who have entered the Kaya Center.
Hector is seven years old. His mother died a year ago from alcohol related issues. Although he lives with his father and older siblings, their housing is unstable and there is insufficient food and negligible income. Hector was not in school, and was spending his time trying to find work in the marketplace.
Six year old Nicolas does not fall into our typical target population because he lives with his mother and grandmother and was not abandoned. However, no one in their family is employed; the little money they have to survive comes from guarding cars at night, and recycling plastic containers. Nicolas was not in school and he was at extreme high risk of entering street life.
The Kaya Center is a safe haven of intervention for these boys. They are now both enrolled in school, receiving tutoring, eating nutritious meals, participating in spiritual formation classes, taking showers, playing soccer and being cared for by the Kaya staff.
We know children’s lives are being transformed through Kaya’s holistic and innovative services. Our efforts have evolved to meet the changing needs of the children we save. Through your support and ongoing partnership, we are able to intervene and prevent children from living a life on the streets.