Santa Cruz De La Sierra

Santa Cruz De La Sierra

Tropics Region

  • In Santa Cruz, some people in poverty sift through trash to find pieces they can sell for recycling. Bolivia Tropics Community
  • At Compassion centers, children can learn Christian values through a variety of activities. Compassion in Bolivia
  • In this region, since the weather is warm, children often play outdoors. Bolivia Tropics children playing soccer
  • Houses in this region usually are made of brick or board, with gaps covered with pieces of plastic or cardboard. Bolivia Tropics family at home
  • This region is usually hot and humid, so vegetation grows everywhere. During rains, however, puddles and mud cover the streets. Bolivia Tropics mud path
  • Thanks to caring sponsors and a program that is Christ-centered, children have the opportunity to experience God's love firsthand. Bolivia Tropics girl praying
  • The Compassion curriculum enables tutors to provide the learning activities children need to overcome poverty for a brighter future. Bolivia Tropics kids studying




Roman Catholic


A Glimpse of Poverty in Tropical Bolivia

For all of its rich natural resources, the Bolivian tropics region is a place of abject poverty. The primary area where Compassion works in the tropical region of Bolivia is Santa Cruz. The Department of Santa Cruz comprises 15 provinces, and Compassion has partner churches in seven of them.

Living conditions are dire for most all Compassion-assisted children in tropical rural and urban Bolivia.

Girl Praying
  • Children growing up in these areas face a host of obstacles to their healthy development.
  • Lack of proper sewage systems and clean bathrooms cause a large number of gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Gang violence and gang growth is a major problem in these poverty-stricken areas. 
  • According to a study of 803 sponsored children in November 2012, nearly one-fourth indicated that they were once part of or were currently part of a gang.
  • These gangs give a false sense of belonging to their members and affect the holistic development of children, causing the cycle of poverty to continue.
Issues and Concerns
  • Many families survive on as little as $50 a month working as farmhands, bricklayer assistants or street vendors.
  • Children will often work alongside their parents or stay home to care for younger siblings. 
  • In some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the tropical eastern lowlands, 9 percent of the children die before age 5 from preventable diseases.
Local Needs and Challenges

Family stability

Domestic violence is major a problem here. Rates of violence, abuse, gang activity and delinquency are all very high. Alcohol is sold freely in several places, which adds fuel to these fires. Youths mature quickly and there are many teenage mothers.

Health care

Humidity and hot weather are the cause of serious problems because they promote skin diseases. Roughly 45 percent of the children in this area are sick with skin problems, including funguses. Asthma and colds are also common, humidity-related illnesses.

Other common health concerns include:

  • respiratory diseases
  • skin infections
  • diarrhea
  • dengue fever
  • waterborne illnesses
  • malnutrition