The goal of this fundraiser is simply to buy food for people in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, who have ran out of money because of the drastic lock down imposed in Bolivia to fight the coronavirus pandemics.
In March, the pandemics was just arriving in Boliva. The Bolivian government reacted quickly and decisively and imposed a very strict quarantine: people are only allowed outside of their home for one morning per week, to get supplies. Other than that you have to stay home.
This has been relatively efficient at containing the propagation of the virus, at least compared to the situation in some neighboring countries. Although in the last weeks even that isn't going so well any more.
But you have to know that Bolivia has one of the highest percentage of people working in the so-called informal sector in the world, with over 70%.
That means that these people don't have a fixed wage. They depend on their day-to-day activities for their income: many have a market booth or are street sellers, or maybe they repair shoes, drive a cab, care for someone's baby or clean houses.
So when they have to stay at home, all these people stop earning any money, from one day to the next, and there are no unemployment benefits for them! The government has created some subsidies to help them, but it is not enough, and that money has ran out too.
In popular neighborhoods, solidarity has worked out and they have organized soup kitchens(in Spanish "ollas comunes", literally "shared pots") where people from a street or neighborhood pool their money to buy food together and distribute it to all the neighbors. But, after almost 3 months of lock-down, they often don't have anything left at all.
A couple of weeks ago, the people in our apartment building, who are mostly working as salaried employees, entrepreneurs, or are pensioned, decided to pool some money to help the "ollas comunes" of the barrios nearby. We have already collected nearly two thousand dollars, and all this went straight to buy basic food: rice, beans, eggs, chicken, etc. the were then distributed directly to the people responsible for the soup kitchen.
So, 6 "ollas comunes" have been provided, through which about 200 people have been fed for over 2 weeks. Thanks to these efforts, they have received good hot meals! We have also distributed food to a hospital for cancer patients nearby, where they also needed food for the patients and their families.
Please help us help these people! The contamination rate by the virus is now increasing in Santa Cruz, the strict quarantine has just been extended to the end of June, and given the epidemiologic situation, it will probably be extended even further. So the need for food is only going to increase in the short term.
We don't ask for much, a few euros can provide a meal for a family. But every donation counts!