If you’re looking for something extra to do this holiday season, take a look at
http://www.lapazninos.org/ they have a donation button on the left side of their page.
For any donations between now and December 31, the donation will be matched if the donation is made through International Community Foundation (click on this link).
Twenty-six years ago, a couple of cruisers (from the San Francisco Bay Area!) decided to get off their boat and settle in La Paz. Wanting to be a full part of the community they enjoy, they saw a need to give an extra hand to children in some of the more modest (to be politically correct!) communities in the area by helping to found FANLAP – Fundación Ayuda Niños La Paz (foundation helping the children of La Paz).
Attending school is not as common here as it is for U.S. kids, especially for low-income families with multiple children. Besides having enough good food to think straight, school kids need uniforms, shoes, supplies, tuition money for high school, and even bus transportation (not free!).
We recently visited FANLAP’s modest building in Colonia Laguna Azul on the northeast side of La Paz where kids can come in for a free lunch after school, around 2:30. Prepared by a volunteer group of mothers from the neighborhood, about 150 kids from elementary through high school age are fed on each school day.
The facility also has an upstairs library with books, computers (that need updating by the way), internet, and a quiet study area – helpful for the many kids who live in a one-room dwelling. (Electricity just came to this neighborhood a few years ago.)
Most of the cruising community helps out by participating in the annual SUBASTA (Auction) which is a major fundraiser for FANLAP. Held the first Sunday every December, there is a big rummage sale (lots of U.S. and Canadian donated household, boat and clothing items that are purchased by local residents), a raffle, live and silent auctions that include boat supplies/services and certificates for hotel/restaurant visits. Several local food and crafts vendors attend and donate some of their proceeds. Several of the scholarship kids help out at the event or do chores/maintenance at the dining/library facility in exchange for their support from FANLAP.