Our Affiliated Project: Guardería El Ángel in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

 

The following are quick facts about Guardería El Ángel:

  • Ages served: Infant to 18 years
  • Facility description: Once an unused community building, this well-kept edifice consists of classrooms, a lounge, a bathroom and a kitchen. A protective fence surrounds the building.
  • Education: Preschoolers and kindergarteners receive instruction at the Daycare, while school-aged children attend local schools during the day then go to the center for afterschool activities.
  • 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.
  • Community Outreach: Beyond the peace of mind that the center provides to mothers who bring their children here each day, Guardería El Ángel also provides outreach including counseling on childcare and education to the mothers themselves.
  • Nutrition: Children receive breakfast, lunch and a nutritious midday snack each day. The high-quality food served here helps ward off malnutrition.
  • Medical care: Adjacent to the center is a hospital run by the same order of nuns that operate Guardería El Ángel. The children receive medical care here when needed.

The small, landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises rugged Andes Mountains and vast, high-altitude plateaus to the west (including a portion of Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world) 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. Bolivia’s largest city, Santa Cruz, is no exception.

Founded in 1982, the Guardería El Ángel serves as a daycare center for the impoverished children of Santa Cruz. The vast majority of these children come from single-parent homes — or at least homes where there is no responsible father in the picture. Often, working mothers have no recourse but to leave their children at home to fend for themselves all day while the mothers themselves work for pitiful wages in the city. For this reason, the Guardería El Ángel serves as a refuge and safe haven. The lay nuns that run Guardería El Ángel strive to provide each child with much-needed food, medical attention, education and love.