Who likes to say : I have to live in prison ?

In earlier times the situation in Cochabamba /Bolivia was like this :

When a woman had to go to jail because of smuggling drugs at low level and she had no help with the upbringing of her children she simply had to take them with her into the prison.

The imprisoned woman had to pay for a cell or a place for herself and her children and for meals, medicine , clothes , in short - for all ,she needed . Each woman „invented“ some type of work ,for example she could cook or bake something for the other prisoners or their children sold it out in the streets. The women cleaned the clothes of the guardians and repaired them or sewed them anew and sold that too. Carpenters also worked in the prison , they made tables, chairs, beds for children and huts for dogs and these things were also sold by the older children out in the streets of Cochabamba. All these activities are meant to produce some sort of income .
The children had no place for games and playing and – above all- they had no access to education.

Since 1996 exists a private association, called HAMIRAYA , which also was supported by the government , but, all the same , needed additional help of different organizations . Its aim was to help the children in the prisons.

A bus collected the children out of 3 prisons ( at that time it were 138 children) . The little ones ( up to 6 years) were brought to a house with kindergarden. The older ones were taken to their schools.

The little ones learnt the importance of cleaning their hands and of brushing their teeth , because in the prisons the sanitary conditions were very poor. They also learnt the ABC , the numbers and how to read. Besides, they played games and they sang songs.

The older children had their lessons at school , in two terms, but everybody met at midday for lunch in the CAICC centre. Here the organization has a big kitchen and an oven to bake bread and cake.

The centre CAICC disposes of a library and various rooms for the children to make their homework. Nearby there is a place to play football, and sometimes children gather to form a band and make music. With jobs in their freetime they have managed to buy some instruments and so they could play in different parts of the city and thus could earn a little bit of extra money. These activities were of course
interrupted during the pandemia Covid.
In the late afternoon the children returned to the prisons or their homes by help of the bus.

In 2017 the government enacted a new law that prohibited children older than 6 years to live together with their parents in the prisons. Instead they should live together with relatives like aunts and uncles or others alike . But nevertheless they had the possibility to come to the CAICC as „ children of the carcels“, like before. For the little ones (up to 6 ) nothing changed.

The whole situation of the centre has changed very often during time, sometimes to the better, but sometimes also to the worse :

- „Children of the carcels“ now only count up to 50 per cent of the 150 in total (2022) , the other half comes from situations especially difficult like violent or suicidal parents.

- the financial support of the government has been reduced considerably. There was a lot of economic problems of the bolivian state during the pandemia Covid . On the other hand the CAICC did not succeed in finding additionally supportive organizations. Our foundation RUVD sometimes is the only secure and continous financial resource for the project.

- The director of the CAICC has changed. The new director, Meri Quispe, is getting a lot of support by some very committed voluntaries ; there is ,for example, Bernardo , owner of the Cochabamba Hotel, where they can organize beneficiary dinners . And then there is Alex Bustamante, president of the board who undertakes everything he can to keep the project running and who sometimes has the chance to visit us in Berlin.

- 2022 they finally succeeded in buying a new bus , because the old one was completely rotten. The new bus, a Nissan, has got 24 seats and cost 25.000.- USD. This means an enorm progress for the functioning of CAICC.