Niños con Valor E-Newsletter: Sunday, November 30, 2008

Greetings from Cochabamba!

As you can see from the picture above, summer in Bolivia is upon us, and summer for our kids means all sorts of fun!

But clearly the most anticipated time of their 2 month summer holidays is Christmas.

Every year, Christmas for us here at Niños con Valor gets even more exciting. Few things bring such joy as helping bring smiles to the faces of children, and this is a time of year that we have a lot of great opportunities to do just that. In the next month and a half, we will be celebrating our third Christmas with the girls of Corazón del Pastor, our first with the kids at Pedacito de Cielo, our first with the street kids we work with, our second with the rural community San Juan de Dios, and our first with the rural community El Abra, and the mountain community Koluyo. We will also be presenting our first annual national art contest to raise awareness and finances for children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

As you read through this newsletter and look at the photos of this past month's events, I hope you can feel the joy we do. And as you celebrate this year, and perhaps exchange gifts with family and friends, I want to remind you that the greatest gift we have to share is love.

Thank you for sharing your love with these children this year. Thank you especially to all of you who with your time, financial gifts, and prayers, have made this year a succesful one.

Peace in Christ,

Tyson Malo
Executive Director

The daycare for children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS has changed quite a bit over the last month. We went through a difficult transition as two members of the initial team left and two new members were added. We have two new teachers, one who is taking on the role as the head teacher, and the other as our afternoon teacher assistant. The new women started out very quiet, but are quickly warming up and doing a great job of loving the kids that are coming every day.

Speaking of kids, we have progressed from having anywhere from 3-8 kids on any given day (depending on the weather and what happened over the weekend), to a constant 7-8! This is quite encouraging considering that many are coming from far away, and also seem to get sick quite often.



Above-  A few photos of the children at the daycare.

The daily challenges at the daycare include taking a two year old boy's bottle of chocolate milk away upon arrival, getting the babies to sleep in a crib by themselves, convincing the older kids that quinoa with milk for breakfast is "rico" (the catchall word for really good), encouraging the one year olds to develop their pincher grasp when they prefer to throw the food on the ground, getting the two year olds to nap, etc.

By far the success story of the month is a little boy named Pablo*. He has been coming consistently now for three weeks and has changed tremendously in this short time. The first day he came he threw an absolute fit when his mom left him with us. We stood with him at the gate for 30 minutes so that he could see she was not coming back, then we stood at the door of the guardaria for an hour for the same reason. Little by little he came further into the daycare, and he passed the first week sitting alone without a smile. Now its hard to keep him still. He is running all over the place, laughing, trying to cause trouble, exactly what a boy his age should be doing! It makes me overwhelmingly glad to see him happy, because its clear we are changing his life for the better.

We were lucky to have a great team come this month from First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, Washington to volunteer. They spent most of their time at the guarderia, painting, playing with kids, helping us bathe the kids, and putting babies to sleep. They came with a great attitude to learn about Bolivia and help where possible, and we were very grateful to have them.

We are looking forward to December, especially the Christmas lunch we are planning with the children and their families.

*His name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Written by Katie Wenzel

Well, it is official! Vacations have arrived for our girls at Corazón del Pastor, and there is lot of planning going on. A few of our girls have additional schooling for about a week to help them with some of the difficulties they had this year in certain subjects, then they are dividing up to join swimming, dance and other classes. In the next week, we will be decorating the home for Christmas, something all the girls love to do. We will be hanging up stockings and making cards for one another, and for our older girls, they will join us as we reach out to some poor communities outside the city, sharing food and gifts with children.

November for the most part was focused on finishing up school and exams. Thus said, there was lots of other stuff going on to keep us busy. There was a trip to the city water park for the older girls, a year-end dance in the afternoon school, the year-end theater production of our older girls' theatre group, and Amy and Jessica continued with English and Art classes. Also, just this past week the girls had a great time hosting the Bellevue team with a great big barbeque.


Above Left-  Our younger girls posing after a performance with "Tia" Isabel.
Above Right-  Our older girls dancing at the barbeque this past Sunday.


Above Left-  The final theatre performace of 2008.
Above Right-  Taking a bow with our volunteer director of theatre, Annika Vargas.


Above Left-  Monkeying around at the waterpark.
Above Right-  Our older girls from Corazón del Pastor.


Above-  A few of our girls at their school, dancing for their final test in gym class.

Our newest girl, introduced in our previous monthly newsletter, continues to integrate into the home and has ended up best of friends with a few of our older girls. Perhaps our biggest hope this Christmas for the home has to do with two sisters who have been with us since we opened. They are finally adoptable, after 4 years of paperwork and redtape, first in the home their we in previously, then with us. The big challenge is that the older sister turned 9 in April of this year, and the current list of parents seeking to adopt siblings in Bolivia has the age of 8 as the cut-off. Please join us in prayer for a family that will open their home and hearts to these wonderful sisters, giving them the greatest present we could ever hope for.

Written by Tyson Malo

It can so difficult working with adolescents who are on, or are at risk of being on the streets as you look at certain things they do, knowing just how much they are harming themselves, yet most often we do not see a change in these actions. We see them returning to abusive relationships, not taking care of themselves when pregnant and going back to the streets after having been off them for a period of time. There is the deperation for change, yet we continue seeing the cycle repeated. But we have hope for these kids, hope that this time things will be different, and we have the unfailing love for them that will be there if they fall once again. These children are not just a project, they are our little brothers and sisters for whom we truly desire a better life - a process which may take years. Our love for them drives us on and causes us never to completely loose hope, even when things sometimes seem hopeless.

Barbara McVean, Street Light Coordinator


Above Left-  One of the boys from "America" showing his skills with a soccer ball.
Above Right-  Amy with a friend from the bridge.

During the last month, I've been able to spend a lot of time working one-on-one with Maria*, a 20 year old girl who has been living on the streets for the past 6 years. I got to know Maria while taking her to daily clinic visits to treat a head wound. That head wound ended up being a blessing in disguise as I was able to build a friendship with Maria while spending several hours in waiting rooms on a daily basis. Maria is battling addictions to life on the streets and to drugs. So several times a week, I have her over to my house to cook lunch, do crafts, and spend some time away from the street and her abusive boyfriend. We talk, and I encourage her, and at least for a few hours, she doesn't sniff glue.

After a particularly bad blow out with her boyfriend that left her with a busted lip and bruises on her face, Maria made the decision to leave the street and go back to her family's house in the country. I put her on a bus at 7:30pm on a Friday night with high hopes that maybe this time it would last. But like so many times in the past, the call of the streets was too much, and Maria ended up back under the bridge, sniffing glue, and reconciled with her boyfriend by Tuesday afternoon.

We won't give up on Maria. Please pray the someday she'll have a change of heart and will walk away from the streets for good.

*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Written by Amy Johnson


Above Left-  "Maria" and another girl at Amy's house working on some crafts.
Above Right-  "Maria" showing off her artwork.



Karina is one of 4 sisters living together at Corazón del Pastor. Unlike most new arrivals, Karina arrived with a smile and has kept on smiling since. She had been separated from her sisters prior to joining us at the girls' home, so her arrival also meant a reunion with her siblings. She is a very energetic, mischievious little 4 year old, who loves to do things most girls her age do, like color, play with dolls, but also tries to join the older girls as well. She has also demonstrated a love for traditional dance, and at the recent barbeque, even before the team arrived, was dancing for a good half an hour!

This month Karina graduated from kindergarten, and is excited to join her older two sisters in school next February. She is too young to know what she wants to do when she gets older, but with her enthusiasm for life, she is sure to go far.

*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.

If you would like to sponsor a child like Karina, please go to our website,, and click on Sponsor a Child, where you'll learn more about the sponsorship program and have the opportunity to sign up for sponsorship.

If you do not have internet access, or would prefer to send a check, please write our US sponsorship coordinator, Leslie Cooke, at the address given below, and she will send you the sponsorship form (please be sure to include all of your contact information).

Ninos con Valor, Attn: Leslie Cooke
208 Melrose St.
Melrose, MA   02176

Normally, this is the space we shamelessly talk about how great it is to volunteer with Niños con Valor and try to get more people interested in joining us. This month, we want to introduce you to the volunteers currently with us in Bolivia.

Tyson and Carolina Malo are the foundation's executive director and nutritional consultant/volunteer coordinator, respectively. They have been here since the beginnings of NCV, and have worked alongside the board of directors to dream big and see these dreams make real impact on the children we serve. They live here permanently with their 3 children, Nehemiah, Soraya and Zion.

Kimberly Setzer is the foundation's director of communications and development. Since she has come on at the beginning of 2007, we have been able to open things up to more visiting teams, start putting together our first grant proposals, and initiate our child sponsorship program. Her experience with troubled youth in the US has also brought a wealth of knowledge to the table as we work with the kids on an individual basis.

Barbara-Ann McVean is the coordinator for our Street Light outreach. Much due to her tireless investment in the kids on the streets, and the support of her Scottish organization Orkney Helping Hands, we were able to initiate Street Light at the beginning of 2007, and continue to reach out to what truly is one of the most marginalized populations here in Cochabamba.

Amy Johnson is a street light worker and also helps out at Corazón del Pastor girls' home. With a unique personality that connects naturally with the girls in both projects, she has been a huge addition to our team. At the girls home she teaches English, art and leads reflection groups with the older girls, and on the streets she has opened her heart and home to some really sweet, yet troubled, young women.

Katie Wenzel is our most recent full-time volunteer and she came in, literally, at the perfect time. She is a nurse with experience in the US working with HIV/AIDS patients among other things, and has taken on a major leadership role in Pedacito de Cielo daycare. She is heading back to the US to try and raise support to come back indefinitely (up until know she came on her own dollar), and upon return will expand her work to include working with girls from high-risk backgrounds at a clinic in the city we partner with through Street Light, and help out at the recently opened clinic in the rural community of El Abra.

Padraig Cunnane is our jack of all trades volunteer. "Podge" is a major supporter of all our projects, helps us when teams come with rennovation projects, and in general helps us out with all our special events, such as the Christmas outreaches we have coming up, camping excursions with the girls, etc. He will also be taking on some of the website upkeep.

Jessica Coudriet is currently living and volunteering half-time at Corazón del Pastor, and spends the other half of her time at Pedacito de Cielo. Sadly, Jessica is a short-term volunteer, which means she will be leaving us in March, but she has dived right in and has really helped out a ton during what has turned out to be the busiest time in our foundation's short history.

These are our current volunteers. If you are interested in joining our volunteer team in 2009, please write Ana Carolina, our volunteer coordinator, at

We also want to encourage you as perhaps you are considering making some year end donations, to keep our volunteers in mind. If you would like to know how you can help any one of our volunteers financially, please send an email to

Finally, speaking of ways to direct year-end donations - please consider making a donation to Niños con Valor in general, or one of our projects specifically. Presently, we depend almost entirely on support from generous donors from Canada, Sweden, the UK and the United States. Of course it is our hope to eventuall purchase land which will enable us to eliminate much of our rental costs and grow our own produce, right now we need your support! This Christmas, why not join us in helping put smiles on children's faces here in the city of Cochabamba? Here is an idea of how far you donation goes:

  • $1.50 The daily cost to feed one of our girls at CDP a nutritious menu, including 3 meals and a morning and afternoon snack.
  • $4.00 Average cost per day for diapers at Pedacito de Cielo daycare.
  • $7.00 All the necessary educational materials for one girl at CDP, for a month.
  • $14.00 Average monthly costs for medical and dental coverage for one of our children.
  • $15.00 Art supplies for weekly afternoon art and craft workshops with girls from the streets.
  • $26.00 A new pair of shoes for one of the children we serve in our various projects.
  • $46.00 Water for a month at Pedacito de Cielo.
  • $60.00 A much needed new rocking chair for the daycare.
  • $80.00 Approximate transportation costs for all our projects for one month
  • $210.00 The total monthly salary cost for our 3/4-time psychologist, providing counselling to the children at both Corazón del Pastor and Pedacito de Cielo.
  • $260.00 The total monthly salary cost for a full-time teaching assistant at Pedacito de Cielo.
  • $275.00 The cost of providing a guard for the girls' home or daycare, evenings, weekends and holidays, for an entire month, thus providing a sense of security to girls who come from very insecure backgrounds.
  • $500.00 One month's rent of Corazón del Pastor, providing a stable home for 22 girls.

Thank you for taking the time to catch up on what is happening here in Bolivia in lives of the kids we serve. May you have a great holiday season, and find the greatest joy in the smiles of the children around you.

Much Peace and Love,

The Staff and Volunteers of Niños con Valor, Cochabamba

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