How Misión Timoteo began.
Misión Timoteo has been a foundation in Bolivia since 1992. The founders are Dick and Therèse Altena, Christian missionaries from the Netherlands.
They started a children’s home in Santa Cruz primarily for children found in the prison. This very vulnerable group of children lives there with their parents. The children are not in prison because they committed crimes, but because there is nobody to take care of them, since their parents are imprisoned. Hundreds of children aged 0-10 years are living in the Palmasola government prison in Santa Cruz. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmasola) Within these walls, many of these children become victims of sexual abuse or become involved in the smuggling of drugs. Later on, Misión Timoteo also began to work with orphans and street children.
Children’s home and Daycare
Since 1995, the children’s home has been located on a big property at the border of the city. In the five units, Misión Timoteo takes care of about 50 children (sometimes more, sometimes less). Each house has a Bolivian couple, or sometimes two ‘aunts’ to take care of the children. The children are provided with food, clothes, medical care and psychological help. They visit their parents in prison from time to time, develop a daily life routine, learn about the Bible and Christian faith, and attend school and church.
Close to the children’s home, the Misión has also constructed a daycare, Manitos a la Obra. About 75 children from the neighborhood are registered at the moment (2013).The parents of those children have to work to maintain their family and to survive. To avoid potentially dangerous situations happening because of children left alone at home, parents can bring them to the daycare.
Fuente de Vida and Farm
In 2002 Misión Timoteo received money from the Dutch embassy to buy a farm. In Portachuelo, the Misión could buy a 244 hectares property with a farm. A house was built for street teenagers giving them the opportunity for rehabilitation from drug addiction. In Santa Cruz alone, there are about six thousand street children! The boys living at Fuente de Vida are generally between the ages of 10-15. Far away from the city and its influences and dangers, they can free themselves from a life dominated by drugs, violence and persecution by the police. At the farm the boys get used to having a daily life routine and structure. It is a good place to get some work experience. In addition, we want to give the street children the opportunity to learn about mechanics, carpentry and bakery.
The Country Bolivia
Bolivia is very well known for its culture and the overwhelming flora and fauna. Nevertheless, it is also one of the poorest countries of Latin America. It is a country that struggles with corruption, a high level of crime, drug negotiations and the deepest poverty. Survival is the most important thing for most Bolivians to think about, in particular for the children of the Bolivian community. Many of them are living under the most miserable circumstances.