Our Affiliated Project: The Cristo Rey Mission in Sucre, Bolivia

 

The following are quick facts about the Cristo Rey Mission:

  • Ages served: Preschool – 18 years of age
  • Facility description: A large two-story brick building with classrooms upstairs and a kitchen and dining hall downstairs. Outside is a large play area with a basketball court.
  • Education: While children attend local public schools, the Cristo Rey Mission center supplements their education, offering tutoring and vocational skills-training in areas such as embroidery, home economics and other trades. Children also receive religious instruction and participate in games, drama and music — all led by volunteers from the community and local college students.
  • Academic year: Typically begins in early February and ends in early December. Students enjoy summer break from mid-December through the end of January, and a two-week winter break in July.
  • Outreach: The nuns of the Mission make regular visits to the children’s homes to discuss the children’s progress with their parents. They also host very popular mothers’ groups to teach literacy, cooking and baking, self-esteem, hygiene, parenting and other skills.
  • Nutrition: A nutritious, balanced lunch is provided for all the children each weekday.
  • Medical care: Local doctors make periodic visits to the center, enabling the staff to monitor the health of the children enrolled here. Physical therapy is also provided for the children as needed.

 

The small, landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises rugged Andes Mountains, vast high-altitude plateaus to the west and lush, lowland plains of Amazon jungle to the east. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and resources, Bolivia bears the scars of centuries of conflict, beginning with the Spanish conquistadors and followed by almost 200 years of wars and internal military coups.

Political and economic instability have brought about considerable poverty, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime and disease. Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital, retains much of the flavor of Spanish colonialism, including many buildings erected by the conquistadors and the second-oldest university in Latin America. However, it is no exception to the poverty that plagues the rest of the nation.

For this reason, the Cristo Rey Mission serves as a safe haven for the children in the impoverished Sucre neighborhood that surrounds it. This social service center assists children through an emphasis on education and skills training. Here, children receive the encouragement and support necessary to rise above the difficult economic circumstances from which they have come.