FIRST SEMESTER REPORT 2023
FUNDACION HELPING HANDS - LA PAZ (BOLIVIA)
Greetings to all of our donors, sponsors and friends of Helping Hands. Another year has begun at the project and we are excited to be able to fill you in on the advances this first semester.
INTERVIEWS OF READMISSIONS AND NEW APPLICANTS
In the months of January and February, the readmissions of our students from last year and the incorporation of new applicants ran smoothly. We currently have 92 students, 61 girls and 31 boys who come from 8 different municipalities in the Department of La Paz. 90% of our students are between 8 and 25 years of age.
Many of our Helping Hands friends have inquired as to the careers that our post-secondary students have chosen. We have prepared a chart to illustrate the wide variety of careers our students are studying at Helping Hands. The two most popular are Accounting and Early Childhood Education, although actually in the field of education we have 11 students in total. In the area of business and finance there are 15 students and in health we have 13 students. It is interesting to see how the popularity of careers has changed with time. Several years ago, Gastronomy and Agronomy were the most popular fields. Classes in Bolivia are now face-to-face, which is an advantage for students since the interaction and development of their social skills is much better.
STUDENTS IN THEIR PRACTICAL STUDIES
Jhovani is in his last year of Industrial Mechanics and is carrying out a project making a wood pelletizing machine. His teachers congratulated him for his excellent work and they have invited Jhovani to compete at the National Expo Fair. If he is successful, his participation will count as his final exam. We are very proud of Jhovani! Nathaly is in her last semester of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics. One of her last projects was raising pigs. Nataly has achieved her goal of finishing her Veterinary studies and at the same time is raising her daughter who is now 3 years old. Well done Nathaly! Luzmila has just finished her internship in Surgical Instrumentation at Nuestra Señora de La Paz University. She is currently waiting to give her final defense for her title. Congratulations, Luzmila!!
THANKS FOR THE DONATIONS FROM AMERICAN COOPERATIVE SCHOOL (CALVERT) AND EDUARDO AND VANIA
To start off the year, we had the generous donation of school supplies and a gift of an item of clothing for each of our students from the American Cooperative School (Calvert). Thank you very much, teacher Andi, who was in charge of the collection at her school.
Our collaborators, Eduardo and Vania, also collected many books that will be very useful for the students of Helping Hands. Public schools don´t use many books because of the cost, and there is not a culture of reading in most families. Now our students have books at home!! Every year, our greatest support for the purchase of all school materials, including uniforms, shoes, musical instruments, specific books, sports outfits and much more, is provided by the San Luis Foundation. Thanks to this support, our students have all the school supplies they need for their education.
BONUSES FOR GOOD GRADES
At the end of the second semester of 2022, after an evaluation of their academic grades, our students received a bonus for superior performance. 15 high school students and 38 post-secondary students were the winners of these bonuses that are an extra motivation to work hard and maintain their good grades.
Some of our families are very large and have only the mother as provider for the whole family. As well, some mothers suffer from chronic illnesses. With the money they earn they tend to buy the cheapest but least nutritious foods like rice, noodles, and sugar. One of the supports that the Helping Hands provides for our most needy families is nutritious food. Each month we provide 25 families with food baskets that contain dry and fresh foods, including vegetables, fruits, eggs, powdered milk, quinoa, lentils, salt, api, and more. These food baskets are very essential for good nutrition for our students, so they are able to concentrate on their studies and perform well.
TWO GRADUATIONS THIS FIRST SEMESTER
In Bolivia, graduations can be carried out throughout the year since universities tend to organize them when there are a enough students ready to graduate. This first semester, Lizeth graduated as a Tecnico Superior in Educational Sciences at UMSA and in September she will have her graduation by excellence as a Bachelor of Educational Sciences. Gustavo graduated as a Tecnico Superior in Management and Entrepreneurship at the Bolivian Catholic University with a specialty in Business Development. Gustavo also studied English at the First Class Institute, so he has many tools for the world of work.
WORKSHOPS WITH THE STUDENTS
FEBRUARY: “INFORMATIVE AND GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER”
Our first workshop focused on our new students of 2022 and 2023 to provide them with information about the requirements and activities that Helping Hands will be carrying out throughout the year. The students played board games at the beginning of the session to break the ice and help us get to know each other better.
MARCH: “DOES FRIENDSHIP HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE?”
In the month of March we had the psychologists, Yamile and Viviana, give a workshop on building healthy friendships. Considering that our students live in an environment of daily socialization, we believe that it is very important that they have some tips to consider when building a healthy friendship, so they can also distinguish and avoid toxic friendships.
APRIL: “GRADUATION MODALITIES”
The April workshop focused on our post-secondary students, particularly those who are nearing the completion of their studies. They received valuable information on the different modalities of graduation in the various universities and technical institutes. The most frequent doubts of the students regarding this matter include the costs, the differences between the modalities of graduation and the duration of the process. Although Helping Hands does provide some assistance at this stage, the students must also have savings, as the process is expensive.
We were very thankful to our former Helping Hands students who held this workshop (from left to right) Prudencio (Commercial Engineering), Anel (Physiotherapy and Kinesiology), Efrain (Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics), Lara from the Netherlands doing research for her Masters, Yunior (Petroleum Engineering), Yharka (Early Childhood Education), Lizeth (Educational Sciences) and Yoselin (Business Administration). They provided firsthand information on the different modalities of graduation in universities and technical institutes.
MAY: "STRENGTHEN THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MOTHERS AND CHILDREN WITH LOVE."
In the month of May, the psychologists Viviana and Yamile held our workshop and presented ways to maintain a good communication between mothers and their children. For this workshop, we also enjoyed the participation of mothers who are the most important foundation in the lives of the young students. We were able to celebrate Mother’s Day as well.
JUNE: “ACADEMIC WRITING”
Our post-secondary students attended our June workshop on academic writing. The goal of this talk was to strengthen our students´ writing skills to improve their performance in their technical and university studies. Vania, an expert in Linguistics and a professor at the state university, the UMSA, led this workshop and had us all writing up a storm.
HELPING HANDS STUDENTS VOLUNTEER
Many thanks to our donors, sponsors and friends who also believe in education to build a better future for all. Without your contribution we wouldn´t be able to continue with our work of opening educational opportunities to young people in situations of vulnerability and disadvantage. Little by little we can make a difference!!
Linda Zarate President:
Fundación Helping Hands-La Paz (Bolivia)