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Movimiento Sonrisa

 

Background

Movimiento Sonrisa was founded in 1997 by a group of high school students who saw the need to assist children from poor backgrounds staying in Cochabamba’s main public hospital who often lacked emotional support and urgently needed funds to pay for their medical care. The Movement initially started as a voluntary initiative to assist one child who required an operation but whose family could not afford to pay for it: the group organized various activities around the city to raise the necessary funds. It has now expanded to include a team of volunteers who spend time in children’s wards providing general care and assistance to many children, while fundraising activities continue behind the scenes. So, do you want to volunteer to assist children in hospitals in Bolivia?

Mission

The Movimiento aims to address the needs of as many young patients in the hospital as possible by organizing games, helping with schoolwork and educational activities, feeding and giving general emotional support in various wards around the hospital. These children may not have family members who can visit them regularly, and may have to stay in the hospital for several months as they receive their treatment. A team of volunteers work at different times around the clock spending time with the children. The Movimiento also runs a small hostel within the hospital for the parents of children, providing beds, meals and in some cases clothing to those who live in the countryside outside Cochabamba and who have no other place to stay while they look after their children.

Objectives

The Movimiento Sonrisa’s two objectives are: to assist young hospital patients who lack family support as they undergo operations and recovery, and to raise money in the local community and abroad to pay for medical care for children whose families cannot afford it.

Current Projects

  • Volunteers are able to choose to work in one or more of the following wards: burns, traumatology, infectology, surgery and malnutrition
  • Each ward has its own specific challenge and special needs; however, the main goal of this organization is to brighten up the day of the children living in the hospital, whether it be through games, homework, special one-on-one time, or other activities of the volunteers’ initiative
  • Volunteers who can dedicate at least 2 months’ time are needed to help the Movimiento Sonrisa Albergue identify sustainable ways to generate income. Currently, the Albergue bakes bread for the families to sell, so that they may receive 7B’s/day of food & shelter while they stay in Cochabamba to support their hospitalized child
  • Volunteers with business backgrounds who can dedicate at least 2 months’ time and are interested in identifying systems and strategies for a grassroots volunteer-run organization are needed to help Movimiento Sonrisa ensure longevity as an organization.

Volunteer/Internship Requirements

  Spanish Beginner
  Minimum commitment 1 month
  Related knowledge/skills Interest in working with children
Interest in working in a hospital environment
Motivation and desire to help