managed by L. Zarate (Communication)
The Fundacion Helping Hands - La Paz (Bolivia) became an official organization in October 2014. At that time it took over the running of the Helping Hands Project that had been run since 2004 by two volunteers, Linda Zarate and Marion Ibañez. The mission of our organization is to open educational opportunities to Bolivian youth of very limited economic resources. We receive many young people from local orphanages and other projects for youth at risk.
This year, 2015, we support the studies of 90 students, both girls and boys, mainly in post-secondary programmes of study in technical institutes and in local universities. We sometimes assist high school students to finish their high school diploma. At the moment we have 7 students in high school.
Besides the assistance we give to our students for the payment of universities fees, transportation, rent, food or school materials, we also provide free medical and dental care. To encourage integral personal development for the students we have obligatory monthly meetings with guest speakers who can give orientation and information to the students on such topics as responsibility, personal care, reproductive and sexual health, environmental concerns, Human Rights, and citizenship. In our office we provide computers and internet for the use of the students and the option to print out school assignments.
Our Social Worker makes home visits to new students and repeat visits whenever the need arises. She also helps to organize social events in the office for healthy recreation for the students. A good part of our mission is to broaden the horizons of our young people and help them realize their dreams of a better future.
The Helping Hands Project was originally run only by two volunteers, but the Project has grown to the point that we now employ an Assistant Director, a Social Worker, an Auxiliary Accountant and a Messenger. Our staff spends a lot of personal time with our students and keeps the students up to date on the monthly requirements they must fulfill for the Project, such as medical checkups, dental checkups, communication with sponsors, presentation of grades, etc.
2015 has been a challenging year for Helping Hands as our official status requires much more paperwork and fulfillment of government requirements and reports. However with our staff additions we are able to meet these demands.
The Fundacion Helping Hands- La Paz (Bolivia) is looking forward to many years of helping underprivileged Bolivia youth become professionals and productive citizens thereby breaking the cycle of poverty, giving their families a more sustainable future.
This organisation cooperates with the Maecenata Foundation:
We thank all of our supporters so very much for the support they have given to Helping Hands. With this latest reimbursement we will be paying for the fresh food for the monthly food baskets for our five families in need. With this reimbursement we can cover the fresh food needs until the month of August. We concentrate on fresh fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods such as powdered milk, eggs, peanuts, lentils, quinoa and wheat which our families do not buy because of the cost. Without this supplementation, they would eat mainly rice, pasta, and potatoes. We have already seen a very significant improvement in the student's health and general outlook.
Jiovani is attending his soccer training sessions and for the next report we will include pictures of him at his training sessions. We now have enough funds for Jiovani's transport for the rest of the year. He goes three times a week to soccer practice and it takes him about an hour and a half each way. But we are so pleased that he has been able to take advantage of this opportunity. Of course, soccer is the biggest thing at the moment with the World Cup going on.
Of course we are always in need of medical funds as there is no universal health plan in Bolivia and this makes it very difficult for poor families to receive health care. In July we will be having an operation on one of our students in fourth year Music. He has a serious breathing problem which causes headaches, and he will be having an operation on his nose to correct this problem. As well, we have so many younger students who have never visited a dentist and we are constantly sending our students, especially the youngest ones, to the dentist.
Thank you so much for your continuous support which makes it possible to give so many young people a brighter future.
Saludos from La Paz.