Hunger alleviation in Cobija, Bolivia. A IELB and Montana Synod shared COVID-19 campaign
Updated: Aug 13
Cobija is a city located well to the north in Bolivia, on the border with Brazil. On the Acre River
The city has a population of about 65,000. It is a young city founded in 1905, and it grew rapidly due to the exploitation of rubber. At that time, the town was crowded with merchants, adventurers seeking quick possessions and wealthy, exploiting the environment, and people who did manual labor.
The City of Cobija has one of the highest migration rates in the country. The productive economy is the production of chestnut, wood, tourism, exotic fruits, and fish farming.
40% of the population of Cobija is extremely poor (indigence); their income is not enough to ensure their minimum food.
One of Cobija's most serious problems is chronic malnutrition in children under three years of age. In other words, the percentage of children between 0 and 35 months of age who have a height and weight that is lower than usual for this population.
In this context, the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELB) began several decades ago (with the support of the ELCA) a diaconal work (evangelization and service) at the service of children and adolescents. Diaconal leader Luis Blanco and his wife serves in that context, with deep love and dedication for the poor and needy.
The COVID-19 situation has aggravated the critical conditions of many families and children.
IELB (with support the Synod of Montana) has implemented a campaign to improve the food security of children and adolescents in the neighborhoods where the church is serving.
At the end of July, Pastor Emilio Aslla visited the diaconal work in Cobija. He took these photos about the food distribution program and the "common pots."
The "common pots" are mechanisms to alleviate hunger and in which people (mostly women) cook communally by multiplying food.
The Bolivian government announced the emergency status in Bolivia on March 30.
The poorest people make their lives working in the streets, but they can't work due to the COVID-19 confinement
They do not have incomes, so they can't
buy food. The common pots have alleviated the situation of the many families in hunger.
The photos were taken by pastor Emilio Aslla