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Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia

by Global Gallery, Inc.
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Support 125 children at Refugio Rafael in Bolivia
Sharing a meal
Sharing a meal

Our current state of the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had deep consequences in Bolivia, particularly for the most vulnerable populations like those we serve at Refugio Rafael and through Ayllu Foundation. After experiencing challenging circumstances during the political upheaval in late 2019, the pandemic and required stay at home measures have affected all the families and children we serve.

The after school programming has been closed for now, due to social distancing requirements. The government is looking for ways to support students through printing materials for parents to guide children through. This is an issue for our community because the children mostly surpass their parents in their level of education, so older siblings may be the only ones to help younger siblings, but there is no one to help the older ones. There have also been some suggestions of online resources, but most of our community does not have either computers or an internet connection in the home. We expect the need for educational support to be very big when classes return to normal and we hope to have extra resources in place at that time.

The families in the shelter portion of our project are sheltering together, supporting one another and all 4 mothers are at home as lockdown measures do not allow for them to work. While the income is important, we have been able to redirect resources to support the nutritional eating for the families and continue to support their activities of growing food at the site. While difficult, the women and families are learning to lean on one another more than ever and are creating a stronger sense of community among one other. These silver linings are those we look to for hope in times of trouble.

As Bolivia has extended the stay at home order, we look to intensify our focus on handcraft development and breadmaking that we might perfect our skills and provide more opportunities for income generation once the pandemic has passed. Please look for the handcrafted products once they are rolled out on our partner website.

Finally, the Board of the Foundation has met virtually in order to plan collectively for the next steps for growth and support of the projects. We have agreed to work on securing funding to support the purchase of land and simple home construction for the families in the refuge and to create a path to independence for them in our next stage of development. 

Your support is vital and we so appreciate your interest in our work, your financial support, your plans for future visits, and all your correspondence. We know we are not alone and give you virtual hugs in hopes of real ones to come in the not so distant future.

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Please let me know if this email works for our January report. I am currently in Ghana and have low bandwidth to complete it online:
Title: reflecting back, dreaming forward

Refugio Rafael has been reflecting on 2019 and looking forward to advancements and developments in 2020. As we try to process the intense political challenges in Bolivia, we are reminded that our work continues regardless of the President of any country, and work to keep focused on the goal of uplifting children and families who have migrated to the Marquina area or have found us through serendipity or referral.

2019 was the first year the refuge was completely full with four mothers and their children, and the time helped the women support one another in their efforts to feed and educate their children as well as to enjoy a stable and supportive environment. The Refugio also started a special time with the children living with us for snacking and sharing after school that was cherished by all, including staff.

Refugio Rafael also began very specific case studies with each family to address barriers to independence and to lay the groundwork for finding a permanent home and community that would best benefit each situation. We plan and hope that 2020 will see forward progress in independent living situations and that we will transition at least one mother and family to her own place. We expect this to add some expense to our budget, but know that in all cases, it is the mothers’ greatest hope for securing their children’s’ futures. We remain steadfast in this effort.

While political instability also meant instability for our after school program, we are happy that 2020 has started on a much calmer note and are planning for ways to improve the tutoring and development provided. We hope to add a second floor to the school building if budgets and volunteers allow. We still celebrate the addition of a teacher in 2019 and hope to add more support as we grow.

In 2020 we are expecting many volunteers from across the US, and also invite additional expertise for our annual support. Please contact us if you would like to join us in March or April and have expertise in any of the following areas: construction, social work, education, Spanish, arts and music education, non profit development, handcrafting (particularly knitting and felting), agriculture, small business development, early education, or suggest another area.

We are deeply grateful for your support and look to 2020 for a wonderful and prosperous year.

www.worldpeaces.com

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Jose Miguel feeding himself
Jose Miguel feeding himself

Progress at Refugio Rafael has been both inspiring and challenging, and we reflect in this report on the accomplishments of both children and mothers. We have made a few developments in daily activities for the families living in the Refugio - one is a daily snack time when the kids arrive home from school. The other is an effort to unite the mothers to support one another in their economic activities and social support.

Aleida, who directs the overall operations of the Refugio, delights in the new after school snack time with all the children living in the Refugio. She says it provides important supplemental nutrition, plus a vibrant time for the kids to tell the stories of their day. The most dramatic changes for the families can be seen in the performance of the kids in school. The teachers in the schools have marveled at their growth, their community spirit, and their performance in their studies. All of the children living in the refugio are excited to tell about school, to reflect on what they are learning, and to recount anecdotes of their classmates and teachers. As some of the children arrived to the Refugio lethargic and without some of the basic skills to succeed in school, this advance reinforces the importance of supporting them on their journey. In addition, they share a daily healthy snack during this time, supporting their overall nutrition and reinforcing good habits. 

The mothers continue to work hard to provide support for their families through economic activities. All 4 families now live in the same 2 story building in order to help care for each other's children during different work schedules. This structure sometimes brings conflict as different families adapt to each other's living habits, but overall has provided a sense of community, vital childcare support, and overall reinforcement of positive behaviors as old habits are weaned out. As the mothers find more stability, we are working on household financial plans in order to map the route to independent living for each family. The process takes time, but incremental progress in nutrition and health, education and income all bode well for a positive outcome.

We are happy with development at Refugio Rafael, as the holidays get closer, we give thanks for all the support for these families, as well as for the 100 children in the afterschool program. Every effort made for improvements in education, health, income and social stability has an impact. Our deepest gratitude to you for your continued support.

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When your family life is unstable, one of the first things to be ignored is the birthday celebration. At Refugio Rafael, birthday celebrations are a critical part of recognizing each child and of celebrating their growth in the family. We are happy that these celebrations are now a part of regular activities in the center.

Samuel, a child who has truly thrived with the love of a support of his family and the community at Refugio rafael, celebrated his birthday in June. We use this time to think of the importance of his contribution to our community and to enjoy his spirit and joy.

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Nutritional Center Staff
Nutritional Center Staff

March is always an exciting time at Refugio Rafael because that's when the project hosts our volunteer delegations from abroad. Our Program Director always sites these visits as a critical boost to morale, and it now also serves as the time for our annual meeting of the Foundation. We had 2 volunteer delegations this year - one with volunteers from Massachusetts, Oregon, Ohio and Brazil, and one with volunteers from the University of Southern California. Both groups advanced the work at the refugio, learned a great deal, and shared the joy and love of a project that has so much to give.

We have 2 exciting updates since the last delegation left just two and half weeks ago. One is a benefit born of a difficult situation for one of the mothers in the refuge. While the delegations were present, this Mom chose to bring her infant son to a nutritional center because she perceived that he was not showing growth as she expected. At the nutritional center, they found her child to be malnourished, and they offered to take him in for nutritional support. While they asked for her to leave him for a month, she just couldn't bear the separation, and she returned after a couple of weeks to take him home. The project personnel are supporting her in implementing important changes to her diet to support her baby's health and growth. Because it was an emotional experience to leave her son even for this short time, our social worker went to the nutritional center to support the Mom and to help communicate critical information with her. This visit led to a partnership with the nutritional program to visit the community and to create a health campaign for all of the families in the area, whether housed in the refuge or not. The first workshop in the series took place this past week, and the center is also supporting a health campaign around diabetes and female reproductive health.

The second update is in the handcraft program. While the mothers of the refuge have been the leaders in working with wool, the young women living in the refuge, and some of our most supportive neighbors, have begun to show their creativity in design. Having learned felted wool techniques from a previous volunteer visit, the women have been perfecting a technique of wet felting, and the young women began experimenting with new jewelry designs. This experimentation led to some fabulous, market-ready products, both for export to the Fair Trade network, and for local sales. This project is becoming an important conduit for mentorship between the wise women and the younger women who are looking to them for guidance, and at the same time providing hope through their own ingenuity and creativity. The first products are just reaching the shelves at Global Gallery Coffee Shop, and we hope to have more ready for the summer wholesale season. This development for the handcraft group is important for financial stability for the families, and also providing critical scholarship support for the young women as they seek additional education beyond the high school level.

We know that you are receiving this email because you have just recently made a donation. We are thrilled to report that we have become an official partner with GlobalGiving, and that we have earned some important recognition through their system, thanks to your support. While this week's Little by Little Campaign's matching funds have all been allocated, GlobalGiving continues to match recurring donations at 100%. Please share our link with your friends and networks to help up reach our overall funding goal.

Anita modeling one of the new earring designs
Anita modeling one of the new earring designs
USC student volunteer group
USC student volunteer group
Juana demonstrating wool dyeing
Juana demonstrating wool dyeing
First health workshop
First health workshop
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Organization Information

Global Gallery, Inc.

Location: Columbus, OH - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @GlobalGallery
Project Leader:
Connie De Jong
Columbus, OH United States
$10,919 raised of $15,000 goal
 
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