COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Bolivia

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Bolivia

Last Updated: 04/12/2021

Bolivian schools partially reopened in February after a year of being closed. Combined with the lack of personal computers and internet access, the shift to virtual learning has had a catastrophic effect on children in the poorest households, according to the United Nations, which warned that the consequences are devastating not just academically but also in development of social skills and overall mental well-being. In addition, the lengthy closure of schools puts children at higher risk of never returning or being forced into marriage or labor. COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Bolivia, with 720 new infections reported on average each day of the week prior to April 6. As of that date, the country had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 1.4% of its 11.6 million people. The national government closed the border with Brazil until at least April 8 in an attempt to prevent the entry of new strains of the disease.

Group activities at all Compassion child development centers remain on hold. Staff and volunteers are calling beneficiaries to provide spiritual and emotional support and visiting families where possible. Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed over 894,000 food packs and almost 434,000 hygiene kits and provided nearly 44,000 individuals with medical support.

COVID response in Bolivia

A Message From National Staff

How Is Compassion Currently Operating in Bolivia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Bolivia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Bolivia are closed. However, staff members continue to call families and visit homes where possible. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute over 894,000 food packs and almost 434,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Bolivia

child reading IconStory From the Field

At just 33 years old, Yhovana has experienced enough tragedy for a lifetime. This mother of four struggles to manage despite a violent ex-husband, a community that constantly tries to lure her children into drugs, lack of employment and now, a pandemic.

Yet, Yhovana can still smile. “The pandemic has improved a little and we are a bit better off economically because my (current) husband now has a job, and for the moment we don't lack food,” she says. “The church also brings us joy, and they support us very much. God always helped me.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Yhovana and her husband couldn’t afford food or diapers. Hunger was a daily companion. Some days, they only drank water or tea while the children only had a single plate of potato and eggs. Sometimes they were so desperate that Yhovana collected chicken's intestines — intended to be pig food — and washed and cooked them for her family to eat.

The stress and worry gave Yhovana migraines, but despite the doctor's orders, she couldn’t rest. She instead decided to pray. As Yhovana recalls this difficult time she smiles through the tears, remembering that even at the worst moment, God didn't abandon her. Instead, he blessed her and her family through the Compassion partner church.

Erika, her second daughter, was registered in the Child Sponsorship Program in 2016. The support has helped the entire family to survive the pandemic.

“Thanks to the Lord, the church supported me at the right moment. When I needed something, the church arrived,” says Yhovana. “When we didn't have anything to eat, they came with a big chicken, and we ate meat for the first time in a long time. When we needed something, the church helped just in time.

“We were able to move forward with the church's support,” continues Yhovana. “Since the need we have experienced during the pandemic, they have been helping us. They are always calling to ask what we need, and I'm very thankful for that.”

Smiling and expressing her joy, even during the pandemic, Yhovana feels privileged and thankful for the support the church and God have provided her family.

How can I pray for Bolivia?

Pray that God would protect children physically, mentally and emotionally and give them opportunities for in-person learning; pray that students will return and be able to catch up as schools reopen. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Bolivia
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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