Our Affiliated Project: The Santa Rosa School in Yotala, Bolivia

 

The following are quick facts about Santa Rosa School:

  • Ages served: First – twelfth
  • Facility description: A two-story brick building with a central courtyard and playground. In addition to classrooms, the building includes a library, bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Education: An excellent staff of caring teachers and administrators teach core academic subjects. Students are encouraged to do their best in school, since higher education is expensive and often only attainable by way of scholarships awarded for academic merit.
  • 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.
  • Vocational skills: The school offers skills training in such areas as weaving, agronomy, dressmaking, carpentry, computer literacy and hairdressing.
  • Nutrition: With funding from the local government, children receive a small breakfast and a nutritional lunch each day. The children also receive food baskets in July and October.
  • Parental outreach: The school encourages parental involvement. Since many parents are illiterate or only speak Quechua, the school offers special educational courses for these parents, along with general courses on parenting skills and nutrition.

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.

Yotala, an agricultural suburb of Sucre, is no exception. This area is prone to drought, which not only diminishes the crop yield, but also forces families to purchase water for drinking and bathing. Many in this community are very poor. They rarely manage to grow enough food to feed their families and to sell at the market. The Santa Rosa School was founded to assist the children of Yotala’s subsistence-farming families, encouraging them to stay in school to receive the skills necessary to rise above the difficult economic and social circumstances from which they have come.