The administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz is home to 816,000 inhabitants – and its metropolitan area, to more than two million.
It is a key manufacturing hub, and markets can be found all over the city. But the class divide here is very pronounced, with a wealthy elite and an impoverished majority living in shantytowns on the hillsides.
Since 1983, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in La Paz.
Across the country, 15% of the Bolivians live in extreme poverty, meaning that their basic needs, such as clean water or sanitation, are not met. Moreover, 35% live in poverty – that’s according to a national poverty line that represents the minimum cost for a basket of goods and for services necessary to adequate living conditions.
Because Bolivia is a predominantly urban country with 71% of the population living in cities, that poverty is felt particularly strongly in metropolises like La Paz. Children and young people living in poverty in urban areas need support so that they can stay together and hope for a brighter future.
There has been an increase in the number of children attending primary school in recent years in Bolivia. However over 25% of the students who are of official secondary school age are not going to school anymore. Around 10 per cent of the young people aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed and out of the education system.
Around 40% of the total population not using the internet. All of this means that opportunities for progress, learning, social advances and economic growth are missed daily.