Bolivia

Bolivia: Malnourished children and mothers receive support through donor funding

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(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children in San Carlos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, received funding from donors of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, to help support children and families in need. Currently, 150 boys and girls access the services of the Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children each year. The length of stay at the center is determined by the degree of malnutrition that the child faces.

As part of a new treatment model for children, mothers are involved in the recovery process. To make this easier, the center has set up temporary accommodations for the mothers and clearly defined their roles and responsibilities during their stay.

The mothers participate in training workshops on malnutrition and its prevention, caring for their children, growth, health, and preventive medicine. They are then able to apply what they have learned until it becomes a daily habit.

One of the mothers taking part in the program is María Choque. Her daughter Estefany arrived at the Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children at the end of 2020 with severe malnutrition. Estefany received the necessary care until she fully recovered. The center has become her second home. It took her close to three months to regain the appropriate body mass index for her age.

The training for Choque has been critical for Estefany’s long-term success. Choque said, “In the center, I have been able to learn many things about nutrition and proper food for my daughter. The center has been like my home, and the sisters have treated us very well. Having clean water every day for personal cleaning and cooking has been essential to Estefany’s recovery. When I return home to the community where I live, I will replicate everything I have learned and teach other mothers.”

The Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children also recently made improvements to its clean water access. It was able to be connected to the municipal drinking water network. The center is now able to provide clean water access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and has the most unequal income distribution on the continent. It is common for Bolivians to struggle to find adequate nutrition, shelter and other basic necessities. The geography of Bolivia contributes to the overwhelming poverty of its residents. Large swaths of the country remain undeveloped with a lack of roads and infrastructure.