Back in December, six boys whom have been with us for years, moved from their permanent house to an on-site apartment as they prepare for more independent life. All had graduated high school and are in their first or second year of university and/or technical school. The transition to independent living hasn't been completely smooth sailing for the boys, but with the support of the team in Bolivia, particularly that of Javier, the case manager who works closely with them, they have made great strides over the past couple of months and we celebrate their progress!
The boys are perfecting their cooking skills, budgeting for real life, and starting to get a sense of what it really means to be an adult in practice. From here, each boy has a very individualized case plan depending on his skills and goals. One young man is preparing to return home to his mother's house after many years apart. She is both excited and a little nervous to have him back, but we are working with both to ensure a successful transition. Two other boys are excited to start moving towards their own apartments as true independents. The other three are looking to live together in a more traditional roommate setting and will benefit from such connections for at least another year or so.
Since the new school year began earlier this month, there's been a sense of excitement at Kaya for some new opportunities and experiences. The Kaya Center recently started their own soccer team that has been playing against other local teams at various soccer clubs. The children are learning to swim at a local pool and some are also taking judo lessons.
The children at Kaya are doing the things that kids do -- going to school, learning, playing sports -- and they are thriving. Your support makes all these things possible and we, here at Kaya, thank you for helping make a big difference!
A little over ten years ago, I sat in a small Bolivian living room, listening to a nine year old boy recite Psalm 23. Marcos beamed with pride as he impressed a room full of adults. We fought back tears. Marcos was a child living on the dangerous streets of La Paz. For the week we were there, he stayed with us, but when we left we knew he would return to the life he knew.
We, here at Kaya Children, would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support in helping us make a difference in Bolivia, one child at a time. Through the funds raised through the Global Giving project, we've been able to continue the important work in Bolivia.
Several key highlights over the past few months:
This summer we created a real library for the children on campus. We had carpet and bookshelves installed, added some warm Bolivian decor, and purchased several comfy bean bag chairs. Being able to display all of our books and having a comfortable place for the kids to read has made a huge difference. The kids keep stopping by during recess and free time to pick out books, settle into a bean bag chair, and read!
A dental team from Highrock Church in Arlington, MA, spent the first week of July in Bolivia working to clean teeth, fill cavities, and overall to improve the smiles of many boys and girls at Kaya. While the team witnessed how a simple dental procedure could boost the confidence of a young boy, they experienced so much more.
When our Kaya Center opened in February of 2009 with the start of the Bolivian school year, we were happily located in a large rental house that we thought would accommodate us for at least two years. When the end of the school year came and the house was bursting with new kids, it was clear that another year in that space was not in the cards. Our search for a larger space yielded an incredible find: an abandoned school campus in just the right location with an abundance of space and cheap rent to boot! While this space was a dream find, it wasn't exactly without its issues. It was quite deteriorated and needed a lot of TLC. Since we moved in this past February, weíve been busy painting, repairing, and doing everything possible to make the space look and feel inviting. This past week, we added a critical piece: a beautiful mural alongside the sports court.
April 12th, is Bolivia’s National Day of the Child, a day dedicated to celebrating their children and to bringing awareness to the situation and needs of the children. National Day of the Child has been celebrated in Bolivia since 1955, after the drafting of a joint Universal Declaration on the Rights of Children by the Organization of American States and the United Nations Children’s Fund to establish the rights of children and how those rights should be protected.
Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America, with about 60% living below the poverty line. An estimated 800,000 children work to support their families due to economic hardships, with some children beginning to work even at the early age of 5 years old. There are over 100 million street children in the world and over 2500 in Bolivia alone.
National Day of the Child reminds us that these children are still children. We, here at Kaya Children, would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support in helping us renew a sense of childhood in these children and to help provide them for a better tomorrow!
Through the funds raised through the Global Giving project, we've been able to continue the important work in Bolivia. Two key highlights over the past few months:
1. Four Kaya graduates have begun their post secondary education. Two are in college prep courses, one is awaiting the results of his entrance exams, and one has begun chef classes.
2. The new building has been updated, inaugurated and is in use. Ground floor is offices and first floor is classrooms. Staff has done basic updates/repairs. They had an open house on April 12th and presented some service projects to local churches to have local churches help with the remaining updates.
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