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“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” —Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV)
Alvaro, the future aviator
Lack of access to safe water made children and their families vulnerable to disease in mountain villages of Bolivia. But since the World Vision arrived in the area, these villages now have four new water systems, built with the support of the communities. Also, adults were trained on how to maintain these systems and why they are important for the well-being of children.
Alvaro has lived in these mountains since he was a child. He liked to see the clear sky and let his imagination fly; with his right hand he used to take a small airplane and run in the field, making the tiny airplane reach high.
His parents Angelica and Adalberto were worried about his future, so when they heard about World Vision’s sponsorship program, they were interested and registered him in June 2004. As of a year ago, Alvaro’s program supported 2,770 sponsored children, benefitting around 1,800 families.
A common problem that families face in this region, including Alvaro’s family, is malnutrition. During the time that World Vision has been working here, malnutrition rates have decreased, thanks to activities among the families such as food security projects, trainings on vegetable growing, and certified potato production. Also, mothers participate in trainings on how to cook healthy food with local products.
Through another project, Alvaro and his brothers benefited from school supplies. Young children from this village also participated in early stimulation activities to ensure their success at school. Teachers are also trained on quality education.
Alvaro’s sponsor began to send him letters and gifts. The boy was very happy when he received his first letter, thinking of his sponsor as a second father because he was supporting him with school supplies to continue his studies. They communicated with each other through letters every year; the words from his sponsor encouraged him to get good grades. His mother pointed out that her son felt happy to have a sponsor who, although he was very far away, always supported him and took care of his education.
Alvaro was a very good student, and always got the best grades in school. In 2008, when he was in high school, he was chosen to represent the children of his community, so he started to be part of the municipal sessions and give his opinions about projects in his community.
The same year, he was chosen as the representative of Oruro’s City, becoming Senator for Oruro. He represented Oruro in the national assembly, highlighting that every child has the right to be listened to by society. His family always admired the leadership abilities he acquired while he was a sponsored child. In 2009, Alvaro entered military service, but he didn't abandon school because he was appointed as the school president. With all this leadership background, encouraged by World Vision, he decided that he wanted to serve the state.
Thanks to the support of his family and sponsor, Alvaro, now 21 years old, accomplished his dream to study in the Military Aviation School, although it meant leaving his village and family behind.
It is important to highlight that only a few youths from his community were able to enroll in universities or other higher education studies. Alvaro is an example of effort and sacrifice for youth and his peers at school. His parents feel that nothing is impossible with God’s blessing.
“Do not let the dreams we want to reach since we are very young fade away. Don’t let a fall [put] you on the ground, instead stand up with strength and keep moving forward until you reach the sky, value the sacrifice of your parents and who support you. God bless you,” says Alvaro as a message for children and adolescents.
Additional reporting by Filomena Mamani and Andrea Cabrera.
At the top: Alvaro with his mother and his father during his second year at the Military School of Aviation, 2012. (Photo: Alvaro)
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