When Primitiva was 7 years old, her father took her to a children’s home because he believed, or at least hoped, that she would be better off there. Her parents were extremely poor and felt they were incapable of providing and caring for their seven children.
Life in the home was however horrible. Primitiva recalls: “It was a closed off facility. No one came in, no one went out. There was nobody to turn to; nobody showed any interest in us. We longed for love and affection. We were all just trying to forget our past and trying to get by – for some it was easier, for others not so much. I felt such deep sorrow.”
As a child-welfare organization we know how important it is for a child to grow up in a family. For SOS Children’s Villages, it is not acceptable that in Bolivia, a large number of children, like Primitiva, have to live in homes – not because their parents are dead, but because the parents are just too poor. We have therefore received financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. And in cooperation with the Social-Management-Service ‘Tarija’, we have started a new project: we support families in crises situations so that their children can return to their real home and no longer need to stay in children’s homes.
We hold talks with the children and parents.
In the first phase of our project, we identified 139 children who meet our criteria. It is no easy feat locating the families of most of these children that have been left in homes. Our search therefore covers several district areas and we are also working closely with many agencies.
We analyze the chances of successful reunification. We hold talks with the children, parents, or other involved parties to establish what form of support the respective families actually need.
Ten children have already been reunited with their parents – what touching moments those were! These families will continue to be supervised and receive support from us.
We assist the parents with finding means of employment, we give them advice about raising children, and advise them about healthcare and also make sure that the children are truly doing well now when they are back at home.
The goal is to strengthen families so they will be able to take care of and provide for themselves – so that, in the long term, children like Primitiva will be guaranteed a loving home.