Greetings from Bolivia!
Thanks so much for keeping up with the latest from our NCV family in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
We are excited to share with you our most recent updates - including photos from a special outing we took in celebration of NCV's 15th anniversary and many more activities that have taken place over the past 6 weeks!
We also have some exciting news regarding our Caminos Abiertos al Cambio residential therapy program and will introduce you to the 5 new members of the NCV family.
Paz y Bendiciones,
The kids, staff and volunteers of Ninos con Valor
NCV 15th Anniversary!
On September 21st, the day before our official anniversary as an organization in Bolivia, we took advantage of a day from school (the 21st was "Student's Day") and traveled to the rural community of Totoro Pampa.
The bus ride out was a long one, but well worth it for the incredible views and the amazing experience we had upon arrival.
The community is isolated, yet through some great initiatives has started to generate income through farming pine trees and mushrooms. As a result, children who previously had to walk for hours to attend classes are now transported in a community school vehicle.
We decided that sharing with the children of Totoro Pampa would be the best way to truly celebrate the mission of Niños con Valor, so we brought donations of school supplies, shared our lunch, and played some fun games with the primary school children. Afterwards, we gathered to hear some words from the staff and young adults who have been a part of the NCV family the longest.
It was all in all a great experience. Happy Anniversary NCV!
Activities - Inside and Outside the House
There has been a lot going on in our programs - our high schoolers are back to in-person classes, we hosted our 2nd "Feria del Valor," a few of our young adults have started to work for the first time, while our youngest teens have been participating in activities to learn more about independent living, and we have continued to take advantage of the lower number ofCOVID-19 cases and the great weather to enjoy some outdoor activities.
A major encouragement has been our children's academic progress. Most likely due to the additional support of our pedagogue, over 90% of our children and teens made significant advancement in their grades.
Big News for Caminos!
Since launching our Caminos Abiertos al Cambio residential therapy center in 2017, we have had to adapt the program to the spaces available on the property of our family home and transition home. While we have been encouraged by the relative success of this pilot program, we have also dreamt of moving it to its own location.
And here comes the awesome news - we are moving to our new space this week! The house is just a 5-minute drive from our family home, has a large front and back yard, and the space we need to launch our new carpentry and sewing workshop in 2022.
New Arrivals to the NCV Family
It has been a while since we have received more than one or two new children into our home. As more of our teens have reached adulthood, we find ourselves with additional space to provide a home and family to children in need.
Thus, over the past month we have been asked by social services to welcome 5 new children into the NCV family.
David (6) and Lucas (12) are the older brothers of Raquel (4) and Juana (who passed away in March). The brothers arrived on September 24th and have adapted well. They are happy to be living with their little sister.
Abel (13) joined us on October 6th. He was recently orphaned, and due to his underlying health needs we were considered the best opportunity for him to gain his strength back. He is enjoying getting to know the other boys and has shown an aptitude for robotics.
Mauricio (12) and Rocio (13) arrived on October 12th, due to the health and developmental needs of Rocio. As the newest arrivals, they are still in the midst of the adaptation process.
We feel blessed and are grateful for the opportunity to share God's love with these kids!
In 2008, when Niños con Valor made the decision to open our homes to children with complicated medical conditions, we understood that we were taking on a new challenge that could lead to loss. However, the thought that not accepting a critically ill child could mean he or she would pass away alone in a hospital bed seemed wrong. It was at this time we first started to dream that in the future, NCV should consider setting up a hospice care program for children throughout Cochabamba, as none exist.
Fortunately, most of our children have beaten the odds and continue to thrive. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case.
Our first loss came in 2014. Alvaro, Eneas' younger brother, passed away shortly before his 4th birthday. He was born with multiple underlying, degenerative medical conditions and despite the happy memories formed with his brother in the time he was with us, in April 2014 he passed away. It was hard, yet in his final months he began to suffer more and more and there was solace in knowing he was now at peace.
For several years afterwards, we had no major health crisis. Despite nearly half of our children living with underlying medical conditions, all were stable and being managed successfully. Then, in 2018, we began to receive requests to accept children whose illnesses had progressed further than any cases we had received since Alvaro. Linda arrived in 2018 and immediately underwent two major brain surgeries. Juana joined us in 2020 in the midst of a chemotherapy treatment that followed years of interrupted medical care. And this year Esperanza arrived having barely survived a 2-month stay in the hospital, still very fragile and malnourished with her immune system depleted.
Luna passed away in October 2020, Juana in March 2021, and Esperanza just two weeks ago.
What these losses have meant for the NCV family is hard to describe. The staff, who have poured their love and knowledge and time into these girls, the children who lived with them as brothers and sisters - our hearts are broken. We have found ourselves realizing our vision of providing hospice care, though unintentionally. As parents, we are providing support to our children as they mourn. Yet, we are mourning, and are still working through what is needs to support one another, knowing that this is now a part of who we are as a ministry.
In our next newsletter, we are going to share more about some ways we envision supporting our staff, how we are preparing the NCV family for embracing this hard aspect of our work, and how you can get involved. For now, let us remember these incredible children who, though no longer with us physically, continue to impact our lives so much.
As we approach the end of the year and start thinking about meaningful gifts or making year-end gifts, sponsorship is an incredible opportunity!
If you, or someone you know, would like to sponsor a child or teen, please follow the link below to learn how you can sign up today and transform a child's life for only $30/month!
Thank you for being a part of our NCV extended family, and for supporting us with your prayers and donations. All that you have read above is thanks to your generosity.
¡Paz y Bendiciones!