Our Affiliated Project: The Montero Home/School in Okinawa, Bolivia

 

The following are quick facts about the Montero Home/School:

  • Ages served: 5 – 18 years of age
  • Facility description: Montero Home/School consists of a large, one-story school and an adjacent children’s home.
  • Boarding: Most students commute to and from the school/home, though 15-20 girls from isolated communities board at the home during the school year.
  • Education: Core academic subjects for grades 1-12 are taught, as well as accounting and agronomy. The school year runs from February to November. Children have December and January, the country’s warmest months, off for summer break.
  • Extracurricular activities: Children assist with a variety of chores around the home, including tending the vegetable garden. There is also ample time for outdoor recreation and sports.
  • Nutrition: Healthy meals are provided for the children each day.
  • Medical care: Children’s health is closely monitored, and healthcare is provided at a local clinic whenever the need arises.

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. The remote town of Okinawa — settled in the 1950s by Japanese immigrant farmers — is no exception.

Here, in 1976, the Montero Home/School was founded as a girls’ home by local religious leaders to assist children of the Japanese settlers, as well as native Bolivians. Today, the school has expanded its mission, providing a safe refuge and learning center for needy girls and boys in the area. Some children who come to Montero Home/School have never experienced the comfort of a bed, a bath or a nutritious meal — let alone an education. Here, children receive these basic needs along with the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.