Sunday, May 2, 2010

Humanitarian Efforts in Bolivia

This is a great article about humanitarian efforts happening in Bolivia's Altiplano.

One town, El Alto, is a very crowded and fast-growing city. Besides partnering with El Alto Ministry of Health to remodel its Women and Children's Hospital, and providing 250 wheelchairs to El Alto's Department of Social Services, representatives of Welfare Services* also arranged for the training of 150 midwives in neonatal resuscitation techniques. In addition, representatives are teaching people there about nutrition, and how to grow their own vegetables in recycled containers on their windowsills or porches.

Another town, Suriqina, is located 14,173 feet above sea level so very little vegetation grows there. Welfare Services representatives discovered that "more than half of the children in the town are malnourished." They are currently instructing residents how to build adobe block green houses and aiming to improve health, and possibly even economic situations of families as they can sell surplus produce that they grow in their green houses.

The ultimate goal, as stated in the article, is to "help people set their own course and solve their own problems." This is the single most important aspect of humanitarian aid - to merely act as a catalyst in improving peoples' lives. The end result is that the people and/or community be independently self-sufficient.

It would be so neat to go there someday and be involved with a program like this.

(*Welfare Services is the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

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