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The challenges

Unregistered children and children without identity documents

In Bolivia, hundreds of thousands of children are still not registered. When a child in Bolivia isn’t registered, they do not have a birth certificate or any other form of official documentation. However, every Bolivian citizen needs an ID card and these need to be updated regularly. Unregistered children live on the margins of society and national statistics do not recognise them as citizens. They also face other challenges, for example in order to receive medical attention in any health centre it is necessary to present an identity card and if a child becomes a victim of a crime, they need to present their identity card to formalise the complaint to the police. Without a birth certificate and identity card, all their rights are violated.

Poverty and a widespread informal work sector

Although rich in energy and mineral resources, nearly 40% of Bolivians live in poverty and nearly 14% in extreme poverty . The country ranks at or near the bottom among Latin American countries in several areas of development and health, such as education, poverty, malnutrition, mortality, and life expectancy. The country’s income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. The country’s labour market is dominated by low paid, informal work and almost 28% of children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years old actively participate in some kind of economic activity (paid or unpaid). This can take them away from being able to focus on their education while also putting them at risk of harm while undertaking unregulated work.

Violence in the home

Violence within the home is one of the major push factors contributing to children leaving home and ending up on the streets. In Bolivia, many children are persistently exposed to and directly experience violence at home. In 2021, there were 46 infanticides and 34,893 reported cases of violence against children, teenagers and women, equating to 95 cases of abuse a day.

Our work in Bolivia

Our work in Bolivia


  • Workshops are delivered to children to help them understand the importance of having their birth certificate and identity card. Sessions cover topics such as how to keep the identity documents safe, as well as how to use the documents to access services and where to go for additional support.

  • The project focuses on improving the processes around birth registration.Training is delivered to build state officials knowledge and skills, ensuring that future generations of children are able to access improved registration services more easily.

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  • Media campaigns are delivered through television adverts, radio broadcasts and newspaper articles to spread the message of the importance of registration, how to access registration services and where to go if additional support is needed. These campaigns inform and encourage parents and caregivers to ensure their children are registered and that they have their birth certificates and an identity card appropriate for their age.

  • The projects support children at risk of ending up on the streets. Children have the opportunity to learn a variety of key life skills, participate in leadership training and receive support to create a life plan. These activities focus on building core skills to support children in a life away from the streets.

  • The projects offer support and guidance to vulnerable families to develop productive and sustainable income generating businesses. These activities aim to increase stability within the home, which in turn can contribute to children experiencing reduced levels of stress and violence in the home, which are both push factors causing children to connect with the street. They also help families to earn a higher income, which can mean they are able to afford rent and less likely to end up on the streets.


  • Short-term packages of financial support help families living on the street to move into accommodation away from the streets. This support also helps families set up small enterprises to generate a regular income and increase stability within the home.

  • Life on the streets is dangerous for children and injuries are common as a result of unsafe work and physicial abuse. Street children are often denied access to medical care, particularly if they have not been registered. The projects offer children and young people on the streets emergency care, including first aid assisitance. By treating the children’s immediate injuries, frontline staff also have the opportunity to give counselling support, and begin to build trust with the children.

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  • The projects undertake weekly night walks to meet new children on the streets and check in with individuals they are currently supporting. These visits enable staff to uncover the challenges and issues affecting the children and young people and remind them of the planned activities they are able to participate in during the week.

  • Regular sports and recreational activities are delivered with the aim of establishing trust and confidence with children and young people on the streets. Once a level of trust is established between a child and the project staff, the team work alongside the child to create an individualised life plan (which may include access to counselling, life skills sessions and support to gain ID documents).

  • The children we work alongside are often visibly malnourished, with many unsure of where their next meal will come from. Meals and snacks are provided to children and young people on the streets to foster their healthy development. Distributing food also helps to earn the trust of children while also increasing their interest in other useful support we can offer.

  • Children and young people participate in group and individual sessions to support them in effectively managing their emotions (including non-violent conflict resolution, verbalising emotions).


  • Positive parenting workshops are delivered to support parents in understanding and implementing alternative, non -violent forms of discipline within the home, with the aim of creating safe and stable home environments. The workshops with families also offer a safe space for the children to get help with their homework and participate in crafts or other fun activities while their parents are learning.

Our work in Bolivia has changed lives


Birth Registration • Bolivia • 2022

Messi works with his mum selling sweets on the streets of La Paz. The family barely have enough to survive and often didn’t have a roof over their heads at night. In addition to this, none of the children were registered. Thanks to Alalay, Messi exists and can relax in the knowledge of the proof he is his mother’s child.

Read Messi's story


Birth Registration • Bolivia • 2022

Alana’s life has been punctuated by periods on and off the street with her mum and brother. Growing up, she’d spend her time selling products on the street, missing out on school because she didn’t have a birth certificate. Since meeting Alalay, Alana and her family have received support for birth registration so now they all officially exist!

Read Alana's story


Birth Registration • Bolivia • 2022

Tau was born on the streets of La Paz. She grew up selling sweets with her mother and the stresses of earning enough to survive meant she was never registered. When she was 16, Tau met Alalay, Toybox’s partner in Bolivia, and they were able to help her and the rest of her family get their birth certificates.

Read Tau's story


Street Outreach • Bolivia • 2022

Sonrisa found solace from the streets of La Paz through football. Being on the pitch has allowed her to perfect skills and values she can use throughout her life. In 2022, she joined her team in the Street Child World Cup. Although they didn’t win the tournament, Sonrisa is determined to become a professional player.

Read Sonrisa's story


Birth Registration • Bolivia • 2021

Blanca started life on the streets of La Paz, until her grandmother took custody of her. When she was born, her mother didn’t register her, so she couldn’t access any of her rights. Through her grandmother’s persistence, Alalay supported Blanca through the processes to get her birth certificate meaning she can look forward to an education-filled future.

Read Blanca's story