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Greetings from Cochabamba!

This month, the themes in our homes were "Identity" and "Diversity". It's important to us that our children grow up knowing their culture and history, and respecting their neighbors, even though we may believe different things, or come from different backgrounds. We are very proud of our children, and it gives us great joy to share some of our March activities with you in this newsletter.

Peace and Blessings,



Una Carrera por un Futuro

"El Maratón por La Paz" is aptly named. The 26.2 mile race through Bolivia's capital city, La Paz, was also a marathon for peace. For every individual who crossed the finish line, 100 bolivianos were donated to the victims of intense flooding in northeastern Bolivia. In February, severe rains ravaged the low-lying department of Beni, Bolivia—leaving tens of thousands of homes flooded and many rural communities without potable water, devastating crops and livestock, and raising concern about mosquito-born diseases. "El Maratón por La Paz" was truly a race for humanity. The goal was to bring together local, national, and foreign athletes to compete for a common cause, to raise awareness about the sport, and to make it accessible to everyone.

Tía Georgia, a volunteer from the United States, represented Niños con Valor in the marathon. Leading up to the race Georgia spearheaded a campaign effort to promote health and wellness in the homes, and raise funds to continue a fitness program in Corazón del Pastor. With lots of support, Georgia and the girls were able to raise enough to give the five girls who have been particularly dedicated to the outdoor fitness program the opportunity to travel to La Paz to watch the race.

Tía Celia gained the respect of course officials and local fans with her incredible ability to maneuver the girls through the city to various cheering locations. During the race, traffic was prohibited from using the main road up to El Alto, the high point of the race. But that did not stop Celia and the girls. They were among a small number that made it to the top to encourage the racers and enjoy an incredible vista of Mount Illampu.

Running 26.2 miles at any altitude is a physical and mental challenge. At 12,000ft above sea-level, some may call it crazy. Georgia reflected on her experience: "It is easy to under-estimate the power of having people cheer for you. It would have been a lot harder for me to reach that finish line if I didn't know the girls would be waiting for me there, and that they believed in me." With the girls' help, our champion was the sixth woman to cross the finish line!

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Above Left: Tía Celia working her massage magic.
Above Right: And she is off and running!

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Above Left: Adriana and Johana exploring La Paz before the race began.
Above Right: Georgia with the NCV team...Yes! You can!

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Above Left: Champion!
Above Right: Mid-race, running tough.

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Above Left: Enjoying the view from El Alto, the high-point of the race, after a 9-mile hill.
Above Right: The cheering squad: Tía Celia and the girls.

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Above Left: The NCV team with Tía Magdalena.
Above Right: At the finish line—mission accomplished!

Carnaval de la Concordia – Corso de Corsos

Each city in Bolivia has a unique take on Carnival. "El Carnaval de la Concordia" (Carnival of Harmony, the traditional celebration in Cochabamba) is one of the most popular and democratic festivities in Bolivia. Carnival season in Cochabamba begins the Thursday of "Compadres" (a day honoring godfathers that is filled with dancing and debauchary). It continues with "Comadres" (a day honoring godmothers, when men are excluded from the bars), a "Puchero" Festival (celebrating the typical Bolivian meat stew, Puchero), and the Accordeon Festival. The following Sunday, thousands gather along the parade sidelines to spectate "El Corso Infantil." Kids dance through the city in costume, accompanied by parents and elaborately decorated floats.

Carnival in Cochabamba concludes with "El Corso de Corsos" (the parade of all parades)—also known as the "Carnaval de la Concordia." This spectacle brings together a melage of folkloric music groups from all parts of Bolivia. It unites indigenous customs with Spanish and colonial traditions. The dances include Caporales, Morenada, Tobas, Negritos, and many other artistic forms. The Bolivian military, pre-military, and university student groups also participate—dressed up as well-known movie cartoons or other creative costumes, dancing wildly to popular music. All congregate to dance for hours through the streets of Cochabamba, for the final celebration of Carnival.

While the dancers are busy parading, the party continues on the sidelines. It is a water and foam free-for-all. Nobody goes to spectate "El Corso de Corsos" without expecting to get wet. The oldest Corazón del Pastor girls partook in the Carnival extraveganza, many for the first time. They observed the diverse folkloric traditions and rich culture of our country—not to mention have their fair share of water-fights.

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Above Left: Pre-military troup with their presentation of "Río".
Above Right: The second pre-military troup.

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Above Left: The "Tarabucos," a traditional native dance from north of Potosi.
Above Right: "Caporales," a traditional dance of the Yungas in the Department of La Paz.

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Above Left: A pre-military group presenting "Ice Age."
Above Right: A monster float breathing fire and adrenalin.

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Above Left: The BEST music bands in all of Carnival.
Above Right: A presentation by the "Caporales" leader.

A Sad Goodbye

Saying goodbye to people we love is always hard. However, rather than dwell in sadness, goodbyes are an opportunity to remember the happy times we shared and the things we learned from each other. This month, we said goodbye to Tía Magdalena, our wonderful, warm-hearted volunteer from Austria. The kids learned a lot from Magdalena—for example, that Austria is a country in Europe and that kangaroos come from Australia, not Austria!

We will miss you Magdalena! Thank you for all the memories you gave us; for your patience and your love; and for all of the fascinating things about Austria you taught us. In spite of the distance, you will always be in our hearts, and part of our Niños con Valor family.

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Above Left: The little Pedacito boys praying for Tía Magdalena...Have a safe trip and good luck Tía!
Above Right: Magdalena taking photos to remember us.

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Above Left: Magalena sharing a snack with the boys.
Above Right: Group photo with all of our "pedacitos."

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Above Left: Adriana giving Magdalena a homemade gift from the girls in Corazón del Pator—a T-shirt with everyone's name.
Above Right: Magdalena giving the girls a map of the world so that they will know where she and other volunteers come from.

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Above Left: Group shot of Magdalena with girls.
Above Right: Magdalena with Catalina.

"Stop!" HIV

While Bolivia has one of the lowest rates of HIV in Latin America, its prevalence is increasing. One of the most common routes of transmission of the virus in Bolivia is from HIV-positive parents to their children before or during birth or while breastfeeding. There is not a lot of awareness about HIV in Bolivia, compounding the problem.

Studies have shown that many diseases—not just HIV—are transmitted during Carnival partying. To bring awareness to the issue, Niños con Valor decided to march in "El Corso Infantil" with the message: “ALTO AL VIH” (STOP HIV). Our little ones dressed up as stoplights and paraded for all of the innocent kids that suffer. They distributed pamphlets containing information about parents' responsibility to be healthy, not just for their personal well-being, but because their children's health depends on it. They educated the crowds about HIV and how it affects kids, as well as how to protect oneself from the virus. Thus, Carnival was an occasion of reflection for our kids. At the same time, it was a day of joy, dancing, sharing with other kids. Good work little ones!!!

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Above Left: The Pedacito troup setting out in the parade.
Above Right: The little ones marching through the streets of Cochabamba.

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Above Left: Alejo carefully driving the taxi.
Above Right: Parading little stoplights.

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Above Left: Playing whistles to the beat of the band.
Above Right: Ana helping take care of the little ones.

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Above Left: Nohemi leading the train of girls.
Above Right: Alejo taking in the scene.

Staff Training

As kids grow up, they pass through different stages in their lives—their tastes, attitudes, and behaviors change. For any parent this can be frustrating. Sometimes we forget the adversity that our kids in Corazón del Pastor and Pedacito de Cielo have experienced and are still working to overcome. Each of our kids has a unique background—and a unique set of challenges and fears. As we raise our kids, we cannot overlook this reality. We must remember that we have the power to understand their histories and their current actions. We can help them grow, overcome hardship, and construct a life of integrity.

The staff in the homes gathered for two workshops to discuss the Niños con Valor method for raising kids. The theme was commitment: a shared attitude that we are willing and eager to give ourselves above and beyond to a common cause. The commitment we have with the kids manifests itself in our daily actions. We talked about how to help kids develop self-identity, and how to work through problems that may arise. As a team, we marvelled about how blessed we are to get to be part of their lives. It is hard work raising kids, but we would not trade their love and affection for anything.

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Above Left: Cultural identity, the theme highlighted this month in PDC.
Above Right: Tía Noelia, presenting on this theme.

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Above Left: Tía Laura taking notes.
Above Right: The Tías.

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Above Left: The Tías enjoying a typical Bolivian snack, empenadas.
Above Right: Group shot of the NCV staff.

Noche de K'oa

Every first Friday of the month, many Bolivians perform a "K'oa" ceremony. "K'oa" is an offering to the "Pachamama" (Mother Earth) that is performed in homes, cars, offices, or in the streets. The ritual comes from Quechua tradition, which highly values nature and recipricocity.

For this ceremony, participants burn a special mix of colored paper, ornaments, aromatic herbs, flowers, and sometimes, even a dried llama fetus—each item with a particular symbolic meaning. The smoking embers of our k'oa reached every corner of the home, bringing fortune, good luck, and security to everyone under the roof.

Thousands of Bolivians practice this ritual every first Friday. This month we focused on getting to know the customs, practices, and beliefs particular to Cochabamba and Bolivia. Learning the nuances of the "K'oa" ritual was an intense and enriching experience. We took a meditative moment to reflect on the rich traditions of our country.

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Above Left: In a circle of meditation before beginning the ritual.
Above Right: Incense and aromatic herbs that will be burned in the offering.

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Above Left: Describing K'oa" and its symbolisms.
Above Right: Victoria putting dried flowers into the "K'oa".

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Above Left: The coal hot and glowing.
Above Right: The girls in a circle with flowers, ready to begin the ceremony.

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Above Left: Putting the "K'oa" in the coals to begin the burning.
Above Right: Celebrating the positive energies, and wishing for peace in the Home.

It is important to learn about our history, not only our personal history, but also our cultural heritage. Even though we may carve out a future for ourselves very different from that which came before us, we have grown out of these roots, and understanding them is an important part of former our own decision. What an exciting, and diverse world we are a part of!

Peace and Love from the children, staff and volunteers of Niños con Valor.

When we are confronted with adversity, we must learn to have courage, to adapt and to accept change. Thus is life. Change—although hard—can bring wonderful surprises. Ultimately, if we remain optimistic, we follow our hearts, and we feel the love of God, we will realize our goals. With strength, perseverence, and pluck we can fulfill our potential, bringing joy and opportunity to others.

Peace and Love from all the kids, staff and volunteers of Niños con Valor.

pencil  Check out our Blog!

Keep up to date with what is happening in NCV on our blog. You can also catch up on previous newsletters here. Enjoy!

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If you are in the US, you can either send a check made out to "Ninos con Valor" to the address below, or use our Groundspring online donation page.

Niños con Valor
c/o Laurel Fortin
23515 NE Novelty Hill Rd SteB221-#301
Redmond WA 98053

For instructions on donating outside of the US, please visit our donations page.

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We know that God loves kids too, so please keep us in your prayers, using these updates as a bit of a guide on what is happening, or by writing us here. We send out weekly prayer requests to those who join our prayermail list. We really appreciate the support!


  Learn More about our Projects

All of our programs seek to provide holistic care, as well as integrate children and families living with various physical and mental health issues, including HIV/AIDS.


Our home that currently provides care for 22 girls who have been orphaned, abandoned or removed from high-risk situations.


Our home that currently provides care for 13 boys who have been orphaned, abandoned or removed from high-risk situations.


Our transitional program, helping prepare teens for independent living once they leave our residential homes.

NCV Newsletter

23515 NE Novelty Hill Rd SteB221-#301
Redmond, WA   98053
Questions? +1 425-891-6237

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