04/04/2011 – After massive landslides destroyed entire neighbourhoods of Bolivia's capital La Paz in late February 2011, SOS co-workers set up five Emergency Childcare Centres across the affected areas. Parents can now rebuild their homes and businesses knowing that their children are in good hands.
After massive landslides left over 800 families homeless in low-income neighbourhoods in La Paz (see related article), government authorities set up emergency shelters at 25 locations across the affected areas. Within five of these shelters, SOS co-workers are operating Emergency Childcare Centres to make sure that the children registered so far are healthy, well-nourished, and safe. This allows their parents to rebuild their houses and often their livelihoods in the knowledge that their children are being looked after by professionals.
The five Emergency Childcare Centres - each with some 50 children in its care at present - offer similar services as SOS community centres do: SOS co-workers from other SOS programmes throughout Bolivia have been volunteering to engage the children in playful and educational activities and ensure the children are healthy and well-fed. At the same time, the identification and registration of families in need of support is coordinated in close cooperation with government authorities and other NGOs to ensure help is provided where it is needed most.
SOS Children's Villages has been active in Bolivia for many years and has long-standing ties with government authorities in the country. Immediately following the disaster in February, SOS Children's Villages Bolivia contacted the government to offer its experience and know-how in the relief effort. Officials responded by putting SOS Children's Villages in charge of coordinating emergency efforts concerning the needs of the affected children.