COOPERAND was founded in 2012, after my own experience helping homeless children as a volunteer at El Alto de La Paz since 2004. Bolivia, like many other Third World countries has a significant rate of children who are abandoned by their parents and who try to survive in the streets assailed by crime, drugs, prostitution or labour explotation completely alone.
They are ill-treated and disregarded by their society and their situation is precarious and utterly disheartening. They do not have access to education and healthcare services, and live as outcasts.
Since 2004, we have focused on providing shelter and assistance to these children in foster homes, as well as on promoting their education and improving both their mental and physical health. When they are first admitted, they are treated for drug addiction and face a period of readjustment since they feel confused, distrustful and profoundly perturbed by their experience in the streets. Once this period of rehabilitation is overcome, the children are enrolled to the schools until they come of age, with the sole aim to integrate them into society with both an academic and occupational training.
We offer a diversified training program to the children during their last school year in occupational fields such as carpentry, hospitality, gardening, and screen printing among others so that they can reach social integration and independent living.
It is a hard task, which requires constant dedication, patience and perseverance, since some of the children leave the foster homes to go back to the streets because they feel frustrated and lost. We need to teach them values and give them hope, love, and attention. They need to believe that everything is possible and that they can achieve their dreams. This is the only way to reach rehabilitation and success.
Curing their traumas and healing their wounds is not enough: we need to start from scratch and offer these young people the same opportunities as everybody else.
We should all feel responsible or at least concerned from our world of well-being and privilege. This is why we are deeply committed to helping and collaborating with these children in critical situations in the short and long term.
COOPERAND is still growing and offering these children the possibility to follow a new program, called Digital Education, which will allow them to strive in the world of work with a better education. This training will help them get better jobs as well as better working conditions and fully blossom, as they deserve.
However, your help is crucial for us to continue growing. All these children need our assistance, your assistance and everybody’s assistance to feel they are not alone. THANK YOU.
Presidenta de Cooperand amb Llatinoamèrica