Rescuing children from a life on the streets

May 24, 2011

Helping Kids Like José

A new child recently moved into one of our Kaya homes. José is 9 years old.  Until recently, he lived with his mother who worked as a prostitute.  His mother is now dying and there are no friends, no family, and no next of kin to care for José.  Another organization caring for his mother reached out to us and we welcomed José with open arms.  He has never lived on the streets but experience shows he would have ended up there quickly after his mother's death.  We are just beginning to learn the depth of José's trauma, grief and heartbreak. The staff at Kaya are accompanying José weekly to spend time with his dying mother.  We are sitting with him in his darkest moments willing to share the burden.

But in the midst of all this, there is hope.  José, a brave young boy, is playing soccer, attending school, making friends, and starting in the smallest ways to imagine his spring.

Although none of us will hopefully ever experience the pain this young man has, we can join him in his struggle. At this point of extreme vulnerability, he is heavily dependent on the staff at Kaya.  He is also heavily dependent on partners like you, although he doesn't know it.  Without the partnership of people like you, we would not be able to work with children like José.  Kaya is so much more than just us and him.  It includes you.  These small children have joined a global community committed to a more positive future for children like José. Your support and gifts are essential to the current and future work of Kaya.  There are more children like José that we continue to meet every day.  Please consider making an additional or an increased financial gift to Kaya.

As someone who has been a supporter of Kaya, we ask you to step forward with us and continue to make a difference towards the work we are doing with kids like José. Your gift could go even further to support street children in Bolivia.  The world sadly enough, needs organizations like Kaya and Kaya needs us.  

Help Kaya Children work towards a better future where no child will call the streets home.

Feb 28, 2011

Celebrating Changed Lives

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!

Nov 25, 2010

Help Kaya Children Raise $100K

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. 

" - the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing...Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me...Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life - "
Those words were real for him in a way most of us will never know. He walked nightly through the shadow of death.
When I returned to Bolivia a year later, I attempted to find Marcos with no success. He was rumored to be living in a brothel for children up near the airport.
Two years ago, someone ran into Marcos in an abandoned movie theater. He was close to being a grown man; tall, skinny and still living on the streets.
As I write this, I am returning from Bolivia. This was my first trip as the organization's new Executive Director. As I worked and traveled through La Paz, I watched for Marcos. I would have loved to find him, not only to hug him close but to ask why he never came inside. Did you ever see our outreach workers on the street? Did you know of Kaya? Why didn't you come live with us? What could we have done differently?
I may never find Marcos but we are able to ask these questions and do everyday. How are we failing? Who are we missing? Who needs us?
What started as a small street ministry has grown into an organization serving the holistic needs of over 50 kids everyday. But, there are more. There are boys sleeping in doorways. There are girls testing out prostitution at bus stops. There are families lost for what to do to keep their kids off the streets. There is extreme poverty forcing unthinkable decisions.
 And in the midst of this, there is Kaya.
If Marcos had come off the street to join the Kaya family, he would have found safe housing, nutritious food, and access to education, psychological services and a sense of community within Kaya. We would have asked him who he missed, who he cared about, who he wished he could see. And then we would have worked to find those people and do what we could to restore those relationships. We would have made sure he succeeded in school, not simply attended. If he had special education needs, as so many of our boys do, we would make sure he'd get the extra services necessary. He would have gone camping, played soccer, done chores, attended church and been accounted for everyday. We would have loved him - the good, the bad and the ugly - with a love that can only be of God.
In the 12 years of our work in La Paz, Bolivia, we have learned much. We are reshaping and expanding our programs to adapt to the changing needs and faces of children of the street, children in the street and children with a real strong likelihood of moving to the street. Because we have been successful, we are now seeing Kaya youth graduate, enter university and begin to embrace their potential as young adults. We are developing a program specifically focused on these youth transitioning into independence because we need it. Who would have thought 12 years ago that we'd need to talk about funding college for the children?
Kaya is growing. Not because we have extra resources, but because there are kids like Marcos still living on the streets. There are kids we are missing. There are kids living in the valley of the shadow of death. And we have a responsibility to create options for them.
Our fiscal year ends December 31st. As I write this, we remain over $100,000 behind budget for this year. Please faithfully consider a generous gift to Kaya Children International. Your money goes far in Bolivia. $500 will provide psychological services for a month to 40 kids. $1,000 will fully furnish a home for 10 youth.
Please join us in rescuing 9 year olds like Marcos from a life on the street and in providing the opportunities needed to make that slow transformation from street kid to graduated, successful young adults full of potential.
We appreciate your partnership this year and in the future. We cannot do what we are doing and what we still need to do without you.

Thank you!
Sarah Porter
Executive Director
Aug 16, 2010

Exciting things are happening in Bolivia!

New Library
New Library

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.

Painting our Mural
Painting our Mural
Apr 14, 2010

Report for Rescuing children from life on the streets

Bolivian National Day of the Child
Bolivian National Day of the Child

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.

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $150
  • $250
  • $375
  • $25
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $100
    each month
  • $150
    each month
  • $250
    each month
  • $375
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?


Project Leader

Sarah Kwok

Development Associate
Lincoln, MA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Rescuing children from a life on the streets