In 2020 Isaac and Anali sold their home and possessions to travel to Bolivia in 2021 and help kids in the street and disadvantaged families.
Mission Bolivia is their charitable project that is establishing roots in the area of Santa Cruz, but with a vision to help children throughout Bolivia connecting with authorities and NGOs across the country
Isaac’s wife Anali is Bolivian and since they met she had shared videos of street children and the poverty in Bolivia with Isaac. Some videos were documentaries and others were sent from her father or brother in Bolivia. In 2014 they travelled to Bolivia and whilst there they saw first-hand and were very saddened by the poverty and especially the children on the streets.
Picture the scene, kids as young as 3 on the road side, some are trying to make money by helping parents wash car windows or sell biscuits. Many are there because they have no other means to make money, but others are there because they live there, often sleeping under bridges in drainage canals. As you walk you can’t help but notice more kids on benches sleeping or vacant eyed intoxicated with drugs, often glue, self medicated to mask their hunger, trying to obliterate the fact they are lost, trying to forget. You see two girls, sisters about 5 or 6 years old standing in doorways singing and dancing for money every time a stranger walks past.
It is estimated that 40 million children live on the streets of South America. Bolivia with the continents highest income inequality it is estimated to have several hundred thousand sleeping rough. From official surveys 80% of street kids inhale glue and many young girls turn to prostitution by 12-13 years or younger. Some have fled physical abuse, some mental abuse, others have been orphaned or abandoned by their parents.
Through Anali and by visiting Bolivia Isaac began to better understand the needs of these children. To add to this understanding Isaac also had his own experience of rehabilitation from depression, drugs, alcohol and poor health in the UK. He knows that God is using his experience to help others. Much of the suffering that Isaac witnessed was bound up in the children’s environment – how can you fight addiction surrounded by addicts or find value and hope in an environment where you are akin to dogs and rats?
These children need more than just a meal on the table, they need nurture, security and community, they need a home, a place where they can come to know their value as children created in God’s image. In 2016 in the UK whilst eating lunch Isaac had a vision of being in Bolivia helping the kids on the street and opening a mission centre away from the city where they could have the space to provide a home for them.