After a month of trying to contact Bolivian Ramiro Llanos, prison director of San Pedro prison in La Paz, this morning I heard via the prison dentist, that the prison authorities will be delighted for us to send Christmas present art packs and balloons for the 160 children who live in this prison with their dads. Christmas in prison??
In Bolivia it's common for children to live in prisons with their incarcerated parent. This will happen if there isn't anybody else to look after them.
How can this happen?
Mothers may also be in prison, or have left the family, grandparents maybe to too frail or too poor to help.
The alternative is that the children are dumped on the street. Many are.
160 girls and boys under 6 years live in San Pedro prison with their dads.
But first, here's a litte info about our other fund raising projects.
The community in Orgiva, Andalucia, Spain are fund raising for
Christmas Chocolatadas in Peru and Bolivia.
This means thousands of children in many remote villages near Machu Picchu will receive a mug of hot chocolate, a sticky bun, and a little gift the week before Christmas. This will be the only Christmas gift they will receive.
We are also supporting two food kitchens for underprivileged children in Ollantaytambo and Ccapi in the province of Cusco, Peru. They will also have their own Chocolatadas.( www.pathoftheheart.org).
What happens on the Chocolatada day in Peru ?
Teams of volunteers, lead by Carlos and Washi Gibaja, go from village to village in an area near Machu Picchu, playing games with the children while the mothers make the hot chocolate on an open fire. It's a blast ! Everybody has a great time.
The last few years we've had enough money to not only bring Father Christmas along, but clowns and a musician .
A Chocolatada Day is a very special day in the year for everybody involved.
Kids in prison with their dads. A very different Christmas.
When I read about these young children I was shocked. Imagine your children or grandchildren spending Christmas in a prison.
My fund raising team agreed wholeheartedly to support a Christmas project for them. A small art pack for each child seemed like a good idea: a box of wax crayons -no sharpers needed- a small paint box, and a drawing book, plus a few balloons each, fitted the bill.
There are absolutely no facilities whatsoever in the prison for children. There are no guards inside the prison. The prisoners 'rule' themselves.
My friend Ivan Nogales ( www.compatrono.com) - who runs an arts centre for youth at risk in El Alto, Bolivia - which we also support at Christmas- will buy the supplies. He will deliver the art packs to the prison on the 24th of December.
I don't know yet if we will have enough money to offer the prison children a Chocolatada as well. I really hope so.
So dear, dear readers of my blog world wide, this is the first time I have ever asked you for your help.
If you would like to support this project of sending art supplies to the children in San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia, your help would be priceless.
Rather than set up a donations page On Line which takes a percentage of the money raised, I decided to ask Face Book friends worldwide if they would like to send me a note in the currency of their country, and I will change this into euros. US dollars would be the easiest to change. Can you do the same?
I'll then send the money by Western Union to Ivan, who will buy and deliver the art packs to the prison on the 24th of December.
We need to recieve the money by the 12th of December.
Would you like to light up a little child's face this Christmas, a child who is living in the most horrendous conditions amongst murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and thieves?
My community here in Spain is gearing up for our 5th fund raiser for children in need in Peru and Boliva. There isn't much money spare in Spain at the moment, so any donations you can send will be gratefully received, and will make a huge difference.
If you possibly can, please put a small note in an envelope and send it me at:
Lista de Correos
Please make sure to add your email so I can thank you personally.
Every small gesture helps.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Please don't register your envelope. The Post office won't accept registered mail. For other ways of donating,or more info, you can email me at :