Although all the schools we work with in Bolivia were large, serving hundreds of children from neighboring communities, the La Inmaculada School was by far the largest I had seen during my time in Sucre.

Our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and I were scheduled to visit the school on a Thursday morning, but come to find out, that was a day that was scheduled for a city wide teachers strike, in which schools were closed and teachers and parents blocked off sections of the city streets with banners painted with brightly colored letters spelling out the names of their respective schools.

The strike was intended to draw attention to the need for more government support for the schools in Sucre, and as we saw on that Thursday, was very calm and peaceful. It only barely interrupted the regular hustle and bustle of the town, as students stayed at home, and usual car traffic used alternate routes around the city center.

Meeting with Lucia

Luis moved our meeting with our volunteer coordinator, Lucia, to Friday afternoon, with a plan for us to return again on Saturday for a celebration with our sponsored children and their parents – all 125 children who planned on attending to welcome us to the school. We met with Lucia in the auditorium before we took a brief tour of the expansive school.

Like many of the families living in the area, parents struggle to make ends meet and any support with basic needs was really appreciated.

Lucia explained to us that our sponsorship program was really helpful to the children here because, like many of the families living in the area, parents struggle to make ends meet and any support with basic needs was really appreciated. We ended our meeting knowing we would see Lucia the next morning, and it was apparent she was very excited about what she had planned for the celebration that we would be attending.

A great celebration

When we arrived early the next day, the empty school was now bustling with hundreds of people, patiently awaiting our arrival. Students lined the walkway into the courtyard, holding balloons and signs. Chairs had been lined up for parents to sit, and students stood ready to perform songs and dance for us, all wearing their school uniforms, even though it was the weekend.

After their performances, a few students read thank you letters to their sponsors, wanting to show their heartfelt gratitude for everything they were receiving throughout the year. I too felt that same gratitude for our sponsors, knowing how much they are doing for these special children, who were receiving a well-rounded education thanks to the La Inmaculada School.


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.

» more of Shelley's stories