Off the Streets in Bolivia
“My father couldn’t find a job and was most of the time drunk,” said Edgar, age 15. “I couldn’t stand seeing my mother sacrifice herself to feed us. I was hurt in my feelings and ran away from home.”
Edgar became a street child in El Alto, Bolivia. “I suffered cold and hunger in the streets, but that was far better than living with my parents,” he said.
Living with other street kids, Edgar tried to make money shining shoes, but it wasn’t enough. “We used to sleep under the bridge and used to steal,” he said.
In 2001, he began attending Casa Mink’a, where kids can gain stability, a second chance at an education, job training – and nutritious food from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
“Two volunteers from the center approached me once while walking down the streets and told me about the shelter,” Edgar said. At first, he only went to the center at lunchtime. “But here I have learned many things, all what I didn’t while trying to survive in the streets,” he said.
Edgar suddenly was on track to graduate from school, and he dreams of being an engineer. “So far I am only a carpenter trainee…but I have my own ambitions,” he said.
According to Edgar, WFP has made a world of difference, and he offers his thanks. “You feed us and we get hope back…that’s our daily fight,” he said.
Since 2001, WFP has coordinated support for the efforts of 36 non-governmental organizations in La Paz, El Alto and Cochabamba in Bolivia to rescue street children. As a result, thousands of kids have greater access to education and health and nutritional services.