Esperança

Preventing Developmental Disabilities in Bolivia

Luz Paola Solano is a stay-at-home mom dedicated to raising her three children and taking care of the housework, though her home looks a little different than what most of us would picture…

The Solano family lives in the Japón neighborhood, a well-known slum in Bolivia. A new settlement, the residents here do not yet have property titles of their land. Water, electricity, and sewage are also nonexistent here.

Because of the harsh living conditions in the Japón slum it is even more important for Esperança to provide health services.

This is why, two years ago, Luz enrolled her daughter Daenerys in Esperança Bolivia's Community-Based Child Protection Program.

"Being part of Esperança motivates me because while they do not help us financially, we participate in the training workshops. These trainings guide us on how to take care of the development of our children with the few resources we have", says Luz, "... in other words, as they say, they teach us to fish and they don't give us fish," Luz continues as she smiles.

When asked what she learned from the workshops she tells us "we learned to help stimulate the physical development of our children with fine motor skills...we have also learned to stimulate their psychological and social growth.” 

"Now with COVID-19, we can no longer go to workshops, so we also learned how to use Zoom, to train on the phone, this is also very good, I would never have imagined that I could learn like this.”

Now that face-to-face meetings have been restricted, Esperança organizes virtual training events using different tools that exist for virtual communication. These zoom workshops help train parents on how to provide stimulation for their children, develop language and social skills, and identify those that may have developmental disabilities to provide them further assistance. This is especially important training for the first three years of a child’s life.

Additionally, every child in Esperança’s health classes receives a physical health exam every two months to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrients and developing normally.

"I am happy to be part of Esperança, who did not forget us during quarantine. They have always been worried about us, of knowing about our health and of continuing to teach us to learn to fish.”

Elena Burr