In August 2012, Alexis and I began developing a goal to create a home for children that provided them with physical, emotional and spiritual care. We brought this idea to her church, Paraiso de Fe in La Paz, Bolivia and they were excited to partner with us in this endeavor.
Alexis and I started this project as two young women working to build a temporary shelter for children in La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivia is a third world country. It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Almost two-thirds of the people in Bolivia live in poverty. This poverty, marginalization and social exclusion negatively impact these children. More than 800,000 children 18 years and younger perform hard labor work and more than 4,000 children 14 years and younger live in the streets. They survive by begging, theft and prostitution in urban areas. Only 39 percent of children who work continue their schooling while just over four percent have never even attended school.
Over the past year, we have learned a lot about the community we want to serve in Bolivia and we continue to learn about the different ways to help others, pursuing our goal of caring for children who may not have people watching over them. We want to reach the children who are living and working in the streets, providing them with opportunities to learn and grow in ways that they would not have otherwise.
As we continue to grow and learn while building a network of like-minded people both in Pittsburgh and Bolivia, we have decided to move forward in collaborating with those already working to help these children in La Paz. At this time, we are placing the temporary shelter on the shelf and we are investing our time on discovering ways to help these children by creating relationships with the organizations and individuals making a difference in the community. By working together, we believe that we can make a difference in these childrens’ lives through helping the nonprofit organizations focused on aiding abandoned and neglected children. This is Harmony of the Andes — a vision in progress.
Harmony of the Andes Mission:
Our mission is to discover ways to help abandoned, vulnerable and economically disadvantaged children living and working in the street. We wish to enable them to realize their unique potential to become leaders and productive members in their community.
- To build long-term homes for abandoned and neglected children
- To build disciples for the Kingdom of God
- To provide education services
- To build community involvement in improving the lives of these children
- To provide dental and medical services through yearly short-term missions
- To develop a place where people can come for health and educational programs and nutritional meals. This will be a community center.