News from our Partners – Word Made Flesh, Bolivia
Each week we are seeking to share updates about our partners as they face Covid-19. This week we are sharing news from our partners in Bolivia.
Our partners Word Made Flesh’s House of Hope centre, based in El Alto, La Paz, offers a wide variety of programmes to support prostituted women and their children, enabling them to gain healing and break the cycles of violence in their lives. For the women, their hope is that all will gain a pathway to dignified employment and for their children that they will remain and succeed in education.
House of Hope has been closed since lockdown in March and Bolivia continues to face very strict restrictions and for some time people were only being allowed out between 7am and 12noon each day although there is some easing now.
Over the months, the team have found different ways of connecting with the women and their families and delivering their programmes remotely. They have managed to connect with a good proportion of the families through smart phones. The team have been able to financially support the families by topping up data so they can continue to use their phone and purchasing phones for a small number of families.
There are now a core group of families, whose children are receiving learning material from the team 2-3 times a week through their phones. The team were also able to follow up with 58 of the children through phone calls to keep in touch with them. This is vital in ensuring that the children’s learning is continued and their wellbeing supported. Additionally, the team are delivering individual counselling sessions through Zoom and training sessions for groups of families. They have also established a WhatsApp group so that the women can encourage each other.
They have used funds to deliver provide food parcels to the families of 80 children (34 families) and for 11 families, who are particularly vulnerable, they have provided regular food parcels.
One good outcome that has come out of lockdown has been seen in their outreach work with churches. Rope has been funding a programme which was encouraging local churches in El Alto to learn more about the work of WMF and help integrate families into their church community. Before lockdown they were working with 7 local churches, but are now training 12 churches through Zoom meetings. The churches themselves are delivering their services online and they report that more families from WMF are connecting into these services than were attending church before lockdown.
Please pray for:
- Each women in a lockdown situation as they face the difficulties of providing for themselves and their children. Pray that they will be protected from violence and abuse as they face the pressure to return to prostitution to earn income.
- Praise the Lord for providing funds to allow the team to connect through Zoom and WhatsApp and continue to deliver their intervention programmes.
- Praise the Lord for the local church communities seeking to work more closely with WMF during this time and that more families are “coming to church” through virtual services.