After spending the day visiting the Santa Rosa School outside of Sucre, Bolivia, it was time for our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and me to visit the Gattorno School — also known as the Santa Ana School — in the center of the city. As one of eight schools we are affiliated within with in the small area that makes up downtown Sucre, I would quickly find out just how important education is to the government and the community here.

The Gattorno School itself is a private school, but not in the same sense as it would be in the United States. The government chooses which students attend the school through a lottery process, but they do not fund the school, which makes private and public school in Bolivia one in the same in most regards. Even with 18 other schools in the surrounding area, the Gattorno School still has a massive enrollment — 900 students are in attendance which serve boys and girls from first grade through twelfth grade.

Challenges for families in Sucre

When we arrived, we were greeted by the school secretary, Isabel, who assists our volunteer coordinator, Marizabel, with the Children Incorporated sponsorship program. While taking a tour of the school, in which classrooms are structured around a large courtyard, Isabel explained to us that even though there are technically a lot of educated professionals in Sucre, there are not enough jobs to satisfy the demand, and that has gotten exponentially worse since the pandemic.

Isabel explained that even though there are technically a lot of educated professionals in Sucre, there are not enough jobs to satisfy the demand.

Many parents of children at the school would like to look for work in other bigger cities like Santa Cruz or Cochabamba, but relocating is often difficult and expensive, so many families remain close to home and family, where employment options remain limited.

After we had a chance to see the school, Luis and I were escorted to a classroom where all of our sponsored children were waiting to greet us. Marizabel was also there, having coordinated the event, and the students took turns reading letters to their sponsors, reciting poetry, and playing music for us. It was very apparent that this talented group of students was enjoying the educational experience at Gattorno, as well as being very appreciative of the support they receive from their sponsors as they go through the educational journey.

For Luis and I, we were pleased with how well our sponsorship program was being run at the school, knowing that these children were greatly benefiting from having a special connection with their sponsors, and such as safe and comfortable place to receive an education.


How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.


Education, Stories of Hope, Bolivia

written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

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