Breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage in Bolivia

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage in Bolivia


In Bolivia, the resilience of single mothers is everywhere, as women head more than 80% of single-parent families.


The challenges they face, particularly the economic hardship affecting 65% of these families, highlight the remarkable strength and determination required of women to manage both their domestic responsibilities and their families’ financial needs.


In response to this pressing problem, SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia launched the Family Empowerment for Young Women with Children program. This endeavour supports 175 vulnerable women who care for 220 children, newborns to age six.


The similarities between program participants reveal a shared narrative: young women, mostly under 30 years old, engage in informal work to support their families due to a lack of professional qualifications. Rebeca*, for example, became a mother at 15. Now 19, she has a four-year-old daughter, Diana, who is her constant companion and source of strength.


Rebeca’s story reflects the experiences of many of the program participants. Through the workshops given by SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia, Rebeca experienced a transformational change, emerging as a self-sufficient and courageous person willing to overcome adversity. She reflects, "Diana has given me purpose, and I have learned many things and responsibilities that motivate me to achieve my goals," Rebeca says.


Balancing her education with motherhood, Rebeca exemplifies the program’s impact. She is studying early childhood education and aspires to start her own children's centre.


Being a mother is joyful but economically difficult. Many young mothers face challenges in providing for their children. "Being a young mother is difficult, you need resources to support a child," she says.


The program’s main objective is to strengthen families so that they stay together, recognizing the importance of supportive relationships, especially for families with young children. The cycle of intergenerational disadvantage can be broken when children have nurturing and loving connections from birth to independence.


The workshops also emphasize the importance of bonding, a lesson Rebeca embraces in her relationship with Diana. She recognizes its transformative impact, "If I give her affection, she knows she is loved, protected and safe."


Through this SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia program, Rebeca and the other single mothers find strength, purpose, and a community of support. As the initiative continues to empower these young women, it also plays a crucial role in shaping a brighter future for the children who benefit from the bonds and resilience forged within their families.


*Names changed to protect privacy. 

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor an SOS Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.