Hernan Siles Suazo founded The Bolivian Institute for the Blind in 1957 under the law “22 de Enero.” IBC provides development and integrated care for people with visual disabilities on a departmental and national level.
IBC aims to provide education and rehabilitation to those suffering from visual impairment. Programs of assistance, training, development, and protection are used to provide technical instruction and integrated education to youths and adults in a non-discriminatory environment.
IBC also implements projects to create sources of employment for the visually impaired; Mosoj Nan, for example, is a cooperative that home delivers organic produce. Employment opportunities are crucial in the fight for equality, as without the ability to work, an independent life is unattainable. IBC works to ensure that the visually impaired are given the chance they deserve to lead self sufficient and fulfilling lives.
Who does IBC help?
At the moment there are over 410 people with visual disabilities affiliated with IBC, including children, adolescents, and adults from the entire department of Cochabamba. This figure, however, does not include those who are not affiliated, but have contact with IBC and those who have never been registered. IBC offers economic aid in the form of a Bono de Indigencia and also provides health insurance.
The main office is located in the center of Cochabamba. Volunteers may be required to visit partner institutions and rural communities through the IBC outreach program.
Volunteers are welcome to join IBC on their community outreach project, which involves visiting surrounding communities and providing talks and encouragement for the visually impaired and their families. An important part of IBC’s work involves providing support for people who have recently lost their sight. Volunteers might engage in such activities as accompanying them to shops, helping them with day-to-day activities, reading to them, or simply offering friendship.
Volunteer/ Internship requirements:
- Beginner Spanish
- Experience/knowledge in a relevant field (desired but not required)
- Willingness to visit partner organizations/rural communities
- No minimum commitment period