Dear Bolivia blog readers
After getting to know the employees and girls from ENDA, we woke up bright and early the following day to make our way back to El Alto, where we would spend the next day and a half helping the girls to spruce up the two ENDA therapy centers. We met up at the “Minka” Center, where we were warmly welcomed by the ENDA Director Patricia Beltran and her twenty-strong team. The day started with a presentation on the work that ENDA does in El Alto, which would stay long in the memory of every member of the group. One of the statistics presented to us by Patricia was that almost 2,500 children live on the streets – 37% of which are girls – and that this figure rises every year. Founded in 1988, the organization has since been caring for girls aged 6 to 18 who live on the street or have been victims of sexual violence. “23% of all children are victims of sexual violence, however a conviction is only handed out in 0.5% of all cases,” explained Patricia. The ENDA centers provide the girls with professional psychological care, tutoring and training opportunities. For example, they have the opportunity to train as a tailor in the inhouse studio and to make clothes and accessories. In the bakery located in the basement of the building, the girls make almond biscuits for a Bolivian biscuit company. Here, they learn all about production, gain work experience and are paid a wage. This will make it easier for them to integrate themselves into the world of employment later in life. The ENDA team also carries out preventative work and actively works with local schools, e.g. by running campaigns and workshops to raise awareness. After the presentation, we were given a tour of the center and thus gained an insight into the everyday routine of the girls.
After the tour, the focus quickly shifted to work. We split ourselves up into three groups, with two of the groups tasked with sprucing up the therapy centers’ inner courtyards, while the third group would whip the playground of a kindergarten into shape. Before we started on the work, we played a few games with the girls and danced to Bolivian music. “This was a very funny and organic way to get to know the girls better before starting working together,” stated Ramon.
Both our group and the ENDA girls already had a few ideas of how they wanted to decorate the walls of the two centers’ inner courtyards before the work commenced. The aim was for our motifs to bridge the connection between Switzerland and Bolivia. The girls’ motifs had been chosen several weeks ago as part of a drawing competition. In addition, the faded lines of the sports courts in the inner courtyards had to be repainted and floor games painted onto the floor. It was really good working together with the girls, as they were diligent, creative and enjoyed their work. There has been one area in which our knowledge of Spanish has improved significantly since this day – colors.
The next one-and-a-half days flew by. Despite the cold and being at an altitude of 4,100 m above sea level – which we had to contend with every so often – we managed to finish almost all of the work. When we left ENDA at around 1.30 p.m., the inner courtyards looked like this:
We said our farewells to the ENDA girls with heavy hearts and made our way to the last stop on our tour. You can find out why this was particularly interesting for those of our apprentices working in technical fields in the next blog post.
More photos of the two days at ENDA can be found in the picture gallery.