La Jornada (“The Journey”) is a shared home for former street kids who have left the streets for various children’s homes, graduated from high school and are committed to continuing their education by taking up a skilled trade or gaining a professional qualification. Through scholarships, room and board, and mentoring, we work to break the cycle of poverty by intervening at a critical point in their lives.
Finding Hope and Healing
Street kids in Bolivia grow up believing they are disposable, invisible, insignificant, and unloved. Many have ended up on the street as a result of addiction or abuse. After being released from the system at age 18, they can become trapped in the same cycle of poverty as their parents, unable to support themselves beyond a very basic level. Some end up back on the streets and most live hand-to-mouth, working long hours for low wages, usually subject to exploitation and job insecurity. What they experience at La Jornada for the first time is an unconditional love that begins to peel back the layers of shame and invisibility. The home exists not only to provide access to higher education, but also to be a place where they can learn that their pasts do not have to affect their futures and that God has a purpose for them. We literally break the cycle by showing that they can have a good future where they’re not forced to make decisions in the moment, thinking only of survival and where they will find their next meal. They learn what it means to be a part of a family and how to use the gifts and abilities God had given them.
Building a Future
The money raised by La Jornada goes toward providing food and housing for the 15 residents, as well as covering all tuition and transportation costs while they are enrolled in full-time post-secondary education to learn a trade or professional qualification. Current and former residents of the home include a future lawyer, electrician, psychologist, physiotherapist, accountant, computer programmer, pastor, and civil engineer! Once students graduate, they can stay at La Jornada for 6 additional months while staff and volunteers help them find housing and employment and transition to life outside the home. We expect that the transformative power of education will spread outward into the community, breaking the cycle of poverty not just for the young men themselves, but also for their extended families and friends still living on the streets.