Deep economic inequalities and the social exclusion of Indians and mestizos have led to chronic poverty affecting more than 5 million Bolivians.
Of the population, 62 percent identify as indigenous, 50 percent are female, 44 percent are under 18, and almost 50 percent are illiterate. Rural flight is significant: 60 percent of the population and 45 percent of the child and adolescent population live in cities and nearby urban areas.
Unplanned pregnancy and child-bearing in adolescence pose a serious problem. A quarter of Bolivian teenagers become pregnant before age 17. Often these mothers are victims of incest or rape. Often they are abandoned by their families.
The El Faro home here is designed to accommodate 10 girl-mothers aged 11 to 16 who are pregnant or have young babies and are in urgent social need. The aim is to promote self-reliance and social integration, in pursuit of which the home runs programs in education, health care, maternity and psychosocial care.
In a second phase of El Faro’s development between 2015 and 2017, it is planned to expand the home to care for 20 girl-mothers.
WCRC’s Partnership Fund helps such work in mission and service in the global South. Historically, it has also helped Reformed churches in southern and eastern Europe, many of them minority churches.
El Faro, supported by the Partnership Fund in 2013, straddles that divide. It is part of the international outreach of the Spanish Evangelical Church. The Methodist Church of Bolivia provides logistical and structural support. Several congregations in the city work with the project.
With this report, Paraic Reamonn concludes three years of service on the staff of WCRC working with the Partnership Fund. During that time, 50 projects have been funded in amounts of up to $33,500.