Empowering Survivors of Gender Based Violence in BoliviaA Breeze of Hope Foundation
One’s Day’s Wages is partnering with A Breeze of Hope to provide free therapeutic support, legal advocacy, and vocational training to child survivors of sexual violence in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Why Cochabamba, Bolivia?
In partnership with Bolivia’s Ministry of Health, A Breeze of Hope conducted research on sexual violence rates in Bolivia, finding that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before age 18. Similarly, Bolivia’s Human Rights Defense Agency reported that 7 in 10 women suffer sexual violence during their life-time, most during childhood and adolescence, and that less than 2% of persons charged with sexual offenses are convicted.
The living situation of child survivors in Bolivia is grave. Poverty, a collapsed and underfunded judicial system, corruption, and cultural trends perpetuate gender-based violence. All of these traits in Bolivia conspire to produce a social context that suppresses girls’ voices, making it extremely difficult to seek justice and professional services. A Breeze of Hope is currently the only specialized center in Cochabamba, Bolivia offering a full range of professional of services to these children.
ODW + A Breeze of Hope Foundation
One Day’s Wages is partnering with A Breeze of Hope Foundation to help restore the lives of child survivors of sexual violence. Services offered will include free therapeutic services, expert legal advocacy, educational assistance, and vocational training. The therapeutic services consist of survivor-led focus groups, as well as traditional and alternative therapies, such as yoga, mindfulness practice, music, dance, art, photography, and craft making. A Breeze of Hope’s expert legal advocacy encompasses every aspect of the legal process, including prosecution and appeals. In fact, in the cases where A Breeze of Hope assists the Government prosecutors, the conviction rate is 95% (as compared to the 2% conviction rate without ABH support).
We will also provide educational assistance that includes afterschool support, as well as school-based interventions with skilled social workers. In addition, we will provide vocational training to help survivors learn practical job skills, basic accounting and budgeting, and strategic planning. Our goal is to ensure that each survivor has the self-esteem, healthy coping skills, knowledge, and practical training she needs to lead a joyful and rewarding life.
Join us in providing free support for survivors to recover their emotional freedom and restore the joy of childhood. The progress bar above includes our intended match amount of $15,000 for a total granting goal of $30,000.
Please Note: This story has been redacted in first person with the full consent and review of Yamila and her supportive parent. Also, Yamila is a substitute name used to protect anonymity.
“When my mother introduced me to the nephew of her long-time boyfriend, she made me feel as if he were part of the family. One day I need to go to the pharmacy and he offered to take me in his car. I accepted, and on the way, he started sexually abusing me. I was just 12 years old
After that he started showing up at our house a couple of times each week. He would threaten me and force me to go with him to motels. I was terrified to tell anyone because I thought he would kill me if I did. Slowly I pulled away from my mom and sisters and kept everything to myself. Eventually I got pregnant. Soon my tummy started to show and I couldn’t hide it anymore. I had to break the silence.”
Yamila told her mother and sisters about the assault and the pregnancy, and her family took her to A Breeze of Hope (ABH). “I was scared, hurt, and furious about the fact that I would soon have a baby,” Yamila said. The ABH attorney was able to try Yamila’s aggressor in court; he was convicted and sent to jail.
After her aggressor was convicted, Yamila said, “I felt free, like I could breathe and focus on trying to get better.”
“When it came time for me to deliver my baby, my psychologist, social worker, and attorney stayed by my side the whole time. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. After that I stayed home for a month to rest with my new son.”
When Jamila returned to ABH after giving birth, she was able to participate in many different activities, such as vocational therapy courses, group therapy courses, individual therapy, and yoga.
“I really started to enjoy baking and tried my best not to miss classes. Dona Filomena [vocational training teacher] was teaching me so much and helping me believe in myself.
After a few months, I asked Dona Filomena if I could sell the pastries and cakes I was making during my practice. She encouraged me to try, and now I’m filling orders for people from local businesses. Another girl from ABH and I have started our own business! The money I’m earning has helped me take care of my son and myself.
Thanks to A Breeze of Hope I have found new dreams and new strength to fly after my dreams!”
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