Vulnerable Children Can Stay in School
Eight-year-old Yoselin works hard in school. Yet—like many impoverished parents in Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia—her father and mother worried constantly about whether they could afford the tuition. That’s when kind-hearted friends of Salesian Missions stepped in to help with scholarship funds.
In Cruz de la Sierra, many residents rely on the informal economy, street vending, or other subsistence businesses in order to put food on the table. Often, there isn’t enough money left over for other essential necessities like education or health care—the negative effects of which can plunge entire families and the community at large into deep poverty.
Yoselin’s family knows this reality all too well. Her parents strive to support her and her five school-age siblings with the income they generate through farming and selling produce. It’s a stressful situation compounded by the fact that Yoselin needs medicine for a chronic health condition that’s easy to live with, but expensive to treat. Not too long ago, they could have faced an impossible set of choices: keep their children in school, but send them on an empty stomach; feed the family, but discontinue their education; buy medicine that Yoselin needs but sacrifice her ability to build a better future for herself.
“The ability to go to school—to get a strong foundational education—is absolutely critical for turning the tide of generational poverty,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Many families know this, but it doesn’t change their ability to make it happen when their own opportunities to earn a sustainable income are so limited. That’s why our Salesian missionaries are thoroughly committed to keeping as many children in the classroom as possible, especially amid challenging circumstances.”
At San José de la Floresta Parish, Yoselin and 22 other students attending primary and secondary school recently received scholarships funded by donations to Salesian Missions. All recipients are from low-income or large families with parents who could not otherwise afford the fees. Some of the children have lost one or both parents to COVID-19. Each scholarship has been a blessing—for the children, and the Salesian missionaries who educate them.
“La Floresta Parish can only help children and young people with the collaboration of kind-hearted people, since as a parish it does not generate any type of income, and the Mass collection only serves to cover parish expenses,” says one of our missionaries who serves there. “Thanks to the help of generous Americans, we can support families in need so that their children can continue studying.”
We are tremendously grateful for your goodness and friendship, which transforms children’s lives every day.
Our mission gives hope to disadvantaged youth to help them build brighter futures. What’s your mission?
Learn more about our work in Bolivia.