Growing in Confidence…and Hope.

JuliaJulia* is a woman of great strength and perseverance.  She and her four children are from a small town outside of La Paz. For years, they endured intense abuse from Julia’s husband. She often thought about leaving but her fears consumed her: “Where will we sleep? Where will we go? I don’t know how to do anything…I never encouraged myself to leave there,” she explained.

One particular night, the abuse became unbearable. After an especially frightening incident involving her daughter, Julia made the decision to flee their home. For two weeks, they ran from her husband, barely surviving on small pools of water along the way. Julia and her children eventually landed on a farm outside of Cochabamba, a city 7 hours from La Paz.

Far from home, exhausted, and starving, Julia harvested crops on the farm in exchange for shelter, food and water. Eventually, she and her children boarded a truck to La Paz. In La Paz, life continued to be challenging for them. Having no friends or family to rely on, the family slept on the street, eating trash, and begging for money.

“It is really hard to live in the streets. You are discriminated against by people because you live on the streets. They think you are an alcoholic or on drugs. They look at you with ugly looks. Living in the streets was a very horrible experience in my life,” Julia shared.

After months of being alone in La Paz, she discovered a support program through Fundación Arco Iris which provided her with food and other resources. While at a meeting in 2013, Julia met a blonde, tall, slim, woman who walked with a cane. They spoke briefly and parted ways. The following year, Julia ran into the same woman at Hospital Arco Iris, where her youngest daughter was admitted with a serious illness.

“I was on the third floor (children’s ward) in the Hospital Arco Iris and Noelle arrives with a huge basket and says, ‘WHO WANTS TO PLAY!? WHO WANTS TOYS?’.  I think that God has sent me to the HOPE Foundation and Noelle is the first person who extended me a hand. When I did not have bread, she gave me bread, when I was not in health, she gave me health. It’s a blessing for me, for my family,” Julia recalled.

2017-04-20 15.46.14Julia and her family quickly endeared themselves to the HOPE team. After Julia was able to secure a simple cinderblock house for her family, the HOPE team and the local church, Iglesia Discípulos De Cristo, provided beds and other valuable items for her and her children.  Julia was very grateful for all she had been given but she also deeply desired to be self-supportive. She had a goal to own a food cart, so that she could cook and sell food in order to support her family.  Several volunteers came together to help her achieve this desire. With counsel and financial support, Julia was able to create a business plan, purchase a cart and is now in training for her vendor certification.

Julia shares, with a soft smile,
“The most important thing is that I have been given moral support. I have been made to feel that I was a person worth something for my children and for the community. That’s something I did not have. They have said ‘you are important’ and I feel important now.”

For Julia, HOPE has become a second family that has empowered and encouraged her goals, enabling her to provide for herself and her children. For the HOPE team, Julia remains a treasured example of courage, strength and perseverance.

Julia receiving her food cart and supplies
Thank you, Poulson Family (and so many others),
for the generosity and kindness you have given to Julia and her family!

*Julia has given her permission to share her story, name and photos in order to inspire others with her courage and strength.

Driven to Compassion… and HOPE

 
IMG_3946When compassion and intelligence combine, we think you will meet someone very much like Dr. Fabian Wayar.

Dr. Wayar was a medical intern in 2011 at Hospital Arco Iris when he befriended Dr. Kevin Broyles, the country director for Foundation HOPEww Bolivia. While serving at the hospital, Fabian was impressed by the HOPE  team’s compassion and dedication to serve the people of La Paz. He states,

“I’ve known many foundations that came here with the intentions of helping people, but actually that was not what occurred. As I was observing HOPE, how they were doing things, and what things they were doing, I saw that HOPE was helping for real.”

Through an on-going mentoring relationship, Dr. Broyles was able to facilitate valuable continuing educational opportunities for Fabian both in Bolivia and in the United States.  In November 2016, Dr. Wayar became the Director of Medical Education and Quality Assurance at Centro Médico Internacional HOPE clinic (CMI). His role is dedicated to providing ongoing educational opportunities for personnel, and ensuring excellent patient care. Fabian has also expressed that working with HOPE has given him the opportunity to further dsplinting-workshop-2016evelop his compassion. In a recent conversation, he recalled a distinct experience with a terminally ill cancer patient.

“This person was my age… It was very challenging for me to tell him that there was no cure for his disease. But I had to give him hope to live in the present. Knowing that a person will not live long doesn’t mean that person has to stop living today.” 

Dr. Wayar further shared that this experience has had a profound impact on his future goals,

“I have reconfigured my desires to come back here when I finish my specialty; wherever it takes placeI don’t want to live outside of this country because a lot of people here need help and I can continue the foundation’s work…helping the people that need it the most.  HOPE here works as a team that really helps. They are compassionate and care about the well-being of human beings…that is what I like most about the Foundation.”

We are immensely grateful for Dr. Wayar’s service to HOPEww – Bolivia. This is who HOPE is.

If you are interested in providing financial support, volunteering or learning more about our programs, please contact us here! 

Who is…Fundación HOPE worldwide Bolivia?

Fundación HOPE worldwide Bolivia (FHwwB) is beginning it’s 6th year serving the people of La Paz. These past years have been amazingly full with building trusted relationships throughout the city and country, as well as developing a variety of programs and initiatives.  We are excited to share with you about some of our progress within 2016 and introduce you to a few of the individuals who make us who we are!

HOPE in Bolivia focuses all of our efforts in the areas of Health and Social Programs in order to improve the health, safety and education within the community.  The Centro Médico Internacional HOPE clinic (CMI), opened its doors in 2015 to provide excellent healthcare to the community, as well as ongoing education and training of healthcare professionals.  The clinic serves as a sustainable social enterprise to help support our social programs as well as the ongoing growth and development of the HOPE work in Bolivia.

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Take a quick look at how HOPE is impacting the community of La Paz…and beyond!

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…And its all because of YOU!

Please follow our blog as we introduce people in Bolivia who are just like you:  Fabian, Julia, Eugenia, Eduardo, Everlyn, Emma and Rodri.  We hope you will enjoy reading about these individuals and how they reflect the heart of Fundación HOPE worldwide Bolivia.

Childlike Heart

This week’s post comes from one of our wonderful volunteers, Stephen Hislop. He shares about his experience playing with the children who come to be seen at Hospital Arco Iris:

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Every weekday at 9am, the Sala de Juegos playroom in Hospital Arco Iris opens its doors to dozens of children. The sala is filled with toys, puzzlescoloring books, and lots of love. The goal of the Sala is simple: to provide a fun and safe environment for children to play and learn while their families wait for medical appointments. Trained volunteers teach each child basic skills such as sharing, being polite, and personal hygiene. As volunteers, we work hard to teach these children, but truthfully WE are the ones who walk away learning way more from them.

Sitting cross-legged, doing a puzzle with a young new friend, I have spent many-a-morning in the Sala de Juegos. Opportunities to listen to what is on these children’s hearts present themselves in these playful moments. Oftentimes, a little boy or girl will come through the sala doors shy and unsure about themselves. But by the end of their stay in the sala, they are laughing, giving hugs, and begging their parent to stay a few minutes longer.

Observing this pattern helped me to understand more about what it means to have childlike heart. The majority of these children come from situations of extreme poverty, abuse, and chronic family illnesses. They usually don’t try to hide their tough circumstances. Within a short time, they will tell you what is going on, and will do so with a boundless amount of energy. These kids are genuine, joyful, and eager to share their trust, hearts and love.

As I reflect on my experience at the Sala, I am reminded of when Jesus says that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, WE need to become like little children. These children have inspired me to grow in my own authenticity and to find joy in the tough situations that I will encounter. They are my examples to follow. Throughout three months of teaching them, I have learned lessons that will remain with me for my lifetime.
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“Live so that when…children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A Day in the Park


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The Saturday morning started off grey, rainy and cold.  Despite the dreary weather, dozens of children began arriving, eagerly running to their favorite volunteers for the hugs they knew were awaiting them. Mothers of all ages appeared with babies in tow. As the number of families increased, the sun began to shine.

This once-a-month, unhurried day at the park, called “A Banquet for the Families”, is a fpd-jan-17-85special day for everyone involved.  The children run and play. The delighted volunteers are grasped by the hand, led up slides and through monkey bars. Mothers, whose weeks are usually filled with challenges of survival, can now sit for the day, paint their nails, enjoy the warm sun and watch their children laugh. They make lunch together and share stories about their children.

And, as the day progresses, individual concerns and needs become known:

    • A family worries about how to provide school supplies for their children.
    • A grandmother discusses a serious infection that a doctor may have ignored.
    • A mother murmurs about a child’s self-destructive behavior.
    • Another mentions a struggle with substance abuse.
    • Others express their fears of safety within the home.

And the list goes on…

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Conversations and trust develop over these Saturdays. Relationships become genuine friendships. HOPE worldwide volunteers provide listening ears, smiles, words of comfort, and an unhurried presence. They hear when so often no one listens. They connect resources with needs; they connect families with professionals who can provide specific services. They follow up, because these families matter. They show up…with birthday cakes, school supplies, love and hugs…because these families are cherished friends.

These refreshing Saturdays in the park create lasting relationships, opportunities, encouragement, hope, and pure fun for some of the most economically impoverished (and beautiful) families within La Paz. No weather forecast needed for these days…the sun is always shining inside and out!  

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“Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress;
working together is success.”
Henry Ford

“It’s more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)

xmas-17-224December is always a wonderfully full month for HOPE worldwide Bolivia!

Throughout each year, HOPE volunteers lovingly and faithfully build genuine relationships with children and families who are living in extreme poverty in order to provide hope, opportunities, and encouragement to help them overcome the many challenges they face. As the year comes to an end, everyone looks forward to celebrating a year of hard work and encouraging friendships together! In early December HOPE hosted its monthly Family Park Day for vulnerable families living throughout the La Paz area. (We’ll share more details about this wonderful monthly event in our next blog!)

On Friday afternoon, December 16th, HOPE hosted our annual Christmas celebration to support the 120 families within Apoyo Social Familiar, a program of Fundación Arco Iris (FAI). Volunteers from HOPE and the American Calvert School worked together to provide an afternoon filled with love, hugs, and laughter. More than 500 family members (including 400+ children) gathered together within the Casa de Paso building of FAI for games, food, and special gifts for each family and child.  The Guild Against Poverty (GAP) student club within the Calvert school collected and donated high quality new blankets and water basins for each family.

Other community members gave generous quantities of víveres to fill each basin.

HOPE worldwide Bolivia is extremely grateful for the privilege of working together with the generous and compassionate people within our community of La Paz. There is no greater joy than treasuring the holiday season together with all of the many wonderful families within La Paz.

Educating the Next Generation of Healthcare Providers in Bolivia

Here in Bolivia, we’re very grateful for what we learn and what we can teach to others. One of the most effective ways to elevate this Bolivia’s quality of life is to equip the next generation of healthcare providers with knowledge and best practices.

Today we enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Don Ellis: Duke Pediatric Emergency Medicine. This is Dr. Ellis’ second teaching visit to Bolivia. (He’s the gentleman on the back left with the great beard.) 

Don and I are working to develop a permanent rotation of interested faculty, residents and students from Duke Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine who want to join us in Bolivia to educate and train.

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Today’s teaching topic was splinting: 

The “unfortunate” victim with both of his arms splinted is Don Esry, who came to volunteer and serve. Don is from Jacksonville, Florida.  I have known Don for 34 years (just a few short years ago), we were both a part of the campus ministry at Florida State University. 

Don, who has never traveled overseas, took a leap of faith and got a passport, visa, and immunizations so that he could see what God is doing in Bolivia. He chose to volunteer to serve the poor – at 57 years old. We are so proud of his willingness to “get out of the boat” and to help, heal, teach, and preach (a vision we have for many empty nesters in the USA)!!

The attached photos are a great representation of what God is doing in Bolivia – in health and in social programs. 

Love from Bolivia,

Kevin Broyles

All Hail, The First Graduating Class

By Dusty Massengill

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The HOPE Bolivia Team at the tiny office in Hospital Arco Iris

Kevin and Gwen and the rest of the HOPE team had been working out of Hospital Arco Iris for a few years…

They all shared a shoebox office on the top floor, educating healthcare professionals and caring for those in need who lined the halls every day. The team also dreamed of opening up their own clinic, whose profits would be used to support medical needs of the poor.

During all that time at Arco Iris they interacted with the desperate poor, many of whom were orphans and vulnerable children.

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Kevin and Gwen with two applicants to the Nursing Assistant Program

 

Out of their love and concern, Kevin and Gwen developed a Nursing Assistant Program: a way for at-risk young people to have a chance.

Most people in America don’t know what desperate poverty looks like. Of course, many people in the States have critical needs, but the poorest of the earth are vulnerable in deeper ways. Even what they have can be taken from them. 

Laws and policy, at least to some degree, protect the vulnerable poor in the United States. Programs exist. In the developing world, the chance of failure for the at-risk poor is almost guaranteed.

With this in mind, the team put their heads together and made a plan.

Gwen wrote a grant proposal to Project Redwood, a group out of Stanford led by David Blenko, a former administrator and long-time supporter of HOPE worldwide. David and his team loved the idea of starting a Nursing Assistant Program, the first of its kind in Bolivia. They offered their support immediately.

The HOPE team collaborated with Arco Iris, identified students, and set out to see what would happen…

Five students started the 6-month pilot program and two finished. Gwen, Kevin, social workers, and friends gave their hearts, knowledge, and time, and they did so in great abundance.

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Tifani and Tatiana during their class work

 

Was it worth it the effort? Did the program succeed? Will it continue? Three students washed out, against the tireless efforts of some of the best in the business. The benefits and costs of continuing the program are currently being weighed.

I would argue the program experienced great success, and in very measurable ways. Two made it through…out of the inaugural class, I might add. Two at-risk young women, alone in the world and abandoned, have seen their lives completely transformed.

They can now make a living in a world that didn’t care before if they lived or died. These women matter now, they have a place, they have a future, and it’s a bright one.

Tifani, the first graduate, comes from a family, though she grew up at extreme risk, perhaps more than most orphans. She has known a lifetime of criminal abuse, negligence, and exposure. She is a single mother, cares for her 2 children as well as her younger brothers and sisters.

A few years back when Tifani was receiving treatment at Hospital Arco Iris, Gwen took an interest, helped her and her family, and offered her a chance to start the program.

Tifani now works on staff at that very hospital: Arco Iris.

The second graduate, Tatiana, is an orphan. She grew up in the Arco Iris Home for Girls. Education was never really possible for Tatiana due to learning disabilities. Still she applied and was accepted. Though more difficult for her academically than anyone else, she stuck with it. Not everybody made it through, but she did.

Today, Tatiana has a family of her own and works on staff at the CMI HOPE Clinic.

Kevin, Gwen, and the rest of the team came here at great personal sacrifice with a desire to help those in need. They combined experience, faith, and action and the Nursing Assistant Program was born. Now with measurable results, who knows what stories could surface from a 2nd graduating class.

Please take a moment to enjoy our new video!

Please take a moment to enjoy our new video for a quick update about all that is happening here in La Paz with HOPE worldwide Bolivia!

VIDEO: HOPE Worldwide Bolivia 2016 Update

The HOPE Clinic shines brightly as it continues to provide excellent healthcare to the community!

Our first Nursing Assistant students have graduated and are now working in their new jobs!

And our social program initiatives are growing and expanding!

We are so grateful for all of our generous donors, supporters, and volunteers who are truly bringing hope and changing the lives of impoverished children and families here in Bolivia. You are leaving footprints of love in the hearts of so many.

Please come visit and serve with us soon!

“Use Whatever Gift You Have To Serve Others…” (The Bible)

Simona Neogoe lives this verse out in her everyday life.

Simona was born and raised in Romania. She grew up understanding firsthand the many challenges and hardships that poverty can bring upon families. And she has a heart to give back to others.

She moved to La Paz a year ago with her husband, who works within the Brazilian Embassy. Soon after she arrived, she saw the various needs within the poor population of the city and wanted to use her talents, skills, and experiences to serve in any way. She quickly contacted HOPE worldwide Bolivia to offer her time and talents.

Over the past few months, she has devoted well over 120 hours of her time in order to help within a variety of initiatives that support poor and vulnerable children and families.  She has created and organized a numerical system and database for the HOPE Library, which lends books to children within community centers and Hospital Arco Iris. She regularly reads and offers play support to children within the hospital. She has tirelessly organized food, clothing, and gifts for families during the holiday months. She visits families, daycares, and orphanages to encourage and inspire children of all ages. She is always thinking and planning about how to enlist the support of other women within La Paz to help the poor.

Simona never looks for praise from others. She simply wants to use whatever skills and experiences she possesses to make a difference wherever she is living.

Because of volunteers like Simona, there are many more children and families within La Paz who are wearing bigger smiles that come from encouraged hearts. Perhaps they can now face their challenges with a bit more self-esteem and confidence…knowing that someone believes they are valuable.

Thank you, Simona 🙂