La Paz, Bolivia, March 2021 – With more than 20 years of Scalabrinian presence in Bolivia, the welcoming migrant centers and shelters in La Paz have always been characterized by providing a warm and quality welcome to migrants, refugees, victims of trafficking and smuggling, and people in need of international protection.
However, as of last year and in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, this same population profile was supported, but outside the centers and shelters. Thus, it has been possible to extend the areas of focus, thereby also expanding the scope of the mission to the diocese of Tarija, on the border with Argentina. Through the signing of an Interinstitutional Cooperation Agreement between the diocese of Tarija and the Scalabrinians, the conditions, responsibilities, and levels of coordination were established for the effective implementation of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Project in the Casa del Migrante and Welcoming Centers – Diocesans of Tarija, to strengthen the services provided by the diocese, in favor of people in a situation of mobility.
The Tarija human mobility pastoral team has been strengthened in its capacities, enabling the implementation of some activities related to reception, emergency aid, health care, and legal assistance for 39 families, as well as in the training of agents, for the prevention of the crime of trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
In the city of La Paz, the focus areas were also expanded, especially the area of education, since negotiations were carried out with educational establishments of initial levels that made possible the registration of 6 migrant boys and girls; likewise, school materials were purchased and the families of these minors were supported with the acquisition of supplies for their homes.
Regarding job placement, together with the Rotary Club de La Paz, a sewing workshop is being implemented to strengthen the capacities of the internal migrant population at the Madre del Refugio shelter, in the Chasquipampa neighborhood. The inauguration of this workshop will be held, God willing, in June 2021.