“Tú Eres Especial” – HVC Bolivia 2019

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  (Maya Angelou)

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Summer of Service … Summer of “SEEDS”

Every year, HOPE worldwide Bolivia and the La Paz Church are thrilled to host volunteers and visitors from around the world who come to love, serve, learn from, and use whatever skills and talents they possess to help children and families who are living with the intense challenges of poverty. Needs are connected with resources. Hearts are forever bonded across the miles.

Everyone learns how to love a bit more like Jesus. And the world is changed for the better. One by one

We are excited to share about some of our many summer service experiences, and to hear from various volunteers how their lives have forever changed.

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HOPE worldwide Bolivia’s Open House… Dreaming together!

On Wednesday, March 13th, Fundación HOPE worldwide Bolivia hosted an exciting Open House to welcome our community partners, volunteers, friends, and families in order to share about our 2018 program achievements, as well as to share about our 2019 goals for our social programs. We also used this great opportunity to launch our community reading campaign “Donate a book…change a life!” Our dream is for every child and family in Bolivia to have access to positive, high quality books that encourage the love of reading and help to create healthy family bonding! Dream with us! Donate a book. Change a life! Contact us to learn more!

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”…I can do things you cannot. 

You can do things I cannot.

Together we can do great things.”

Mother Theresa

 

 

Yesterday – A Lesson in Love

hallway(personal reflection by an employee of HOPEww – Bolivia)

The father opened a small door in the wall. We ducked down to enter. The contrast between the bright sun outside and the darkness of the hallway was blinding for a moment. The four of us followed the father through the dim corridor, up a narrow set of stairs and in another long hallway. We could smell food cooking and, despite the mud bricks used to create the walls and floor, the space was clean and tidy.  A sense of family and togetherness permeated the home.

We were led into a small, square, dimly-lit room. In the center was the tiny coffin. White flowers spilled onto the ground, brought by family and friends. The father quietly told us the story: what began as a cold quickly became so much more serious for a young child with cerebral palsy. He explained the trip to the hospital but how it was already too late. His anguish and his loss weighted every word.

After a few moments of silence, a woman in our group asked if she could pray. We took hands.jpghands and listened as she poured out her heart to God about this child and his family. It was only later that I remembered this woman’s own story. This particular woman had also lost her child in similar circumstances. And yet, she prayed and gave and wept and mourned. She offered comfort to this family when others of us could only imagine the loss they felt.

Later, as I was thinking through the day, I thought of how very strong this woman must be. So often, we do not enter a situation or a conversation because it may be painful for us. We avoid engaging in those things that may make us hurt, or may bring back painful memories of our own. This woman courageously immersed herself in this family’s pain. She sat with them for hours yesterday, listening and caring. Surely her heart must have been reminded of her own loss, but somehow she set her pain aside to be present for others.

I believe this woman demonstrated what love looks like: the courage to forget ourselves and be present for someone else in their suffering; the strength to enter into the dark places of pain with that other person despite what it may cost us. Yesterday, in the midst of deep sadness, I had the opportunity to witness this kind of love.

“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to places where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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Looking for an adventure this summer?!

We are THRILLED to host two incredible opportunities for volunteers in 2018! 

1. HOPEww Volunteer Corps #1 – Rurrenabaque, Bolivia 

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Child waiting outside of a clinic in Rurrenabaque

“Rurre” is a beloved rural city in Bolivia, close to the tropical Amazon region. It is a 30 minute flight from La Paz over the mountains. This group will be repairing, renovating, and painting classrooms and other buildings within the “Famila Feliz” orphanage. This loving refuge home houses and educates approximately 80 children who have suffered extreme abuse. We will also create a positive “Children’s Corner” within the two local impoverished hospitals, and are planning to support a community health fair. And of course, we will plan to enjoy a tropical riverboat trip!

2. HOPEww Volunteer Corps #2 – La Paz, Bolivia 

La Paz is the capital city of Bolivia. It was voted one of the “Seven Most Marvelous Cities in the World” because of its amazing beauty and high altitude within the Andes Mountains. HVC participants will serve within a variety of HOPEww Bolivia’s programs which support impoverished children and families.

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One of HOPE worldwide Bolivia’s most cherished families

We will focus on repairing and renovating family homes and/or community centers while building trusted, cross-cultural, relationships. We will also be sharing and expanding our “B-Olivia Lending Library” outreach through various hands-on reading and educational support/activities, as well as supporting existing programs within a hospital, orphanage, community center, and/or with individual families. Along with these exciting activities, this group will also get to experience the mountains of La Paz firsthand in a guided hike!

For more information regarding dates and expenses, visit https://www.hopeww.org/boliviahvc2018

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My Story

The following is a story from one our most dedicated and impactful staff members here at HOPEww Bolivia.  She is an incredible example of faith, perseverance and love.

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Zaida meeting with one of HOPEww Bolivia’s “Healthy Families”

My name is Zaida. I am 47 years old. After both of my parents passed away, I became an orphan at six years old.  For the next eight years, I lived in an orphanage surrounded by many other girls just like me. Living in an orphanage never compared to being in a home surrounded by family; parents, brothers and sisters.

When I left the orphanage, my insecurities only increased. Due to years of living without affection, and with my own lack of emotional maturity, I ended up clinging to a boy. I married very young, at age 22, and this only created many more troublesome issues. My marriage was full of conflict and other painful trauma, such as losing my son to a serious illness when he was only six years old. I suffered through situations of physical and psychological aggression. I came to believe that my life was hopeless. I was very scared. I became a victim of the situation, feeling like a failure, directionless and unloved.

Ten years ago I made the most important decision of my life. I started walking with Jesus. Over time, I began to realize that God could really use the things that I’ve been through to help others, and that there is a meaningful purpose for my pain. I now understand that God wants me to serve and support other orphans, mothers, individuals who suffer violence, those who lose their children, and even disoriented young girls and families who live in situations of economic and emotional poverty.

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Enjoying a book together within the Sala De Juegos

Last year, I received my degree in Psychology and now I currently work for HOPE worldwide Bolivia within the “Healthy Families” Program. I am also the Coordinator of HOPE’s Sala de Juegos Playroom within Hospital Arco Iris. I am very happy to have this opportunity to serve people. I am convinced that this is God’s plan for my life, and my past experiences have helped enhance and develop my talents, skills, and my love for others. I am also very grateful to be part of the incredible HOPEww team who love and serve God.

God has worked in my life, helping me to change my way of seeing situations. Now, I see my sufferings as opportunities to learn, to grow and to help others. Even more than that, I am the clay that is being molded within the hands of a perfect Artist. God has perfect plans for each of us and I hope I can, in one way or another, communicate that to every woman and child I serve.

If you would like to support the work of amazing women like Zaida, or if you would like to volunteer alongside of her, we would love to hear from you! You can find contact us here

Why ESL?

A taxi driver, a seamstress,  a psychologist and a mom with a young autistic son.esl-e1519246948255.jpg

What do these individuals have in common?

Every Saturday morning they, along with many others, meet together to learn the English language.

English is currently the most commonly spoken language in the world. A recent study of developing countries concluded that learning English can increase the earning power of individuals by around 25%.  The study went onto explain that developing economies need access to English if they are to competively grow and develop.

These statistics and others provide immense support for developing an English as a Second Language program here in La Paz, Bolivia.  However, for those of us directly involved in the program, we only need to look at the lives of our students to understand the impact of this program.

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The taxi driver, able to speak with Americans and other western visitors, will now increase both his clientele and his profits.  The seamstress will also increase her business as her clients spread the word throughout the wealthier, ex-pat, community of her ability to communicate in both Spanish and English.

The psychologist and the mom of the child with special needs gain access to valuable online resources. Most online research and information in the education and medical sector is offered primarily in the English language.  Because of this now-accessible information, the psychologist will receive additional training and education to better serve her clients. The mother will find invaluable resources and online communities to better help her young son.

These Saturday mornings together, learning and connecting, are helping an amazing group of diverse individuals grow their businesses, communicate with a broader population and access valuable resources.  If you would like to come and be a part of these classes, either as a student or as a volunteer, please contact hopewwbolivia@gmail.com!! We would love to have you join us!

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There is also the opportunity to help us support and expand ESL in Bolivia! If you would like to donate to support this incredible program, please click here .  Make sure to note “Bolivia ESL” in the comments section on the second page. Thank you!