“Prior to the pandemic, Kevin had just been registered with his birth certificate and been able to start Kindergarten – which he was really excited about!”
Kevin is five and lives on the outskirts of La Paz, in a remote area prone to landslides. His home, which was built by his parents and is shared by Kevin and his four older siblings, is very basic and has no sewage system or access to running water. Instead, the family rely on moving water in buckets from a public pool.
Prior to the pandemic, Kevin had just been registered with his birth certificate and been able to start Kindergarten – which he was really excited about! Previously because he did not have his identity documents, he was unable to enrol and would spend his days working alongside his older sisters making and selling handicrafts on the streets.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in Bolivia and the national lockdown which ensued, Kevin has not been able to go to Kindergarten however his new birth certificate has still played an important part in protecting his rights. Because he is now registered and has a legal identity, his family were able to receive emergency food vouchers from the government. Similarly, should Kevin get sick and need to visit the hospital, his birth certificate will ensure he is able to access the medical care he needs.
Kevin tells us that his day to day activities have changed a lot since the country went into lockdown. Whilst he is able to take part in some school activities online using his sister’s mobile phone, internet access is limited and expensive in the remote area they live; and naturally the family are prioritising the small amount of income they are able to earn selling items on the streets to buy food and healthcare supplies.
He says that he misses going to Kindergarten, playing with his friends, and attending the recreational activities offered by our partner, Alalay, and that he would like for this whole pandemic to pass quickly and for everything to go back to normal soon.
Currently, Kevin and his family are also beneficiaries of the emergency family baskets that are being provided to vulnerable and high-risk children and families by Alalay as part of their emergency response work during the pandemic. These baskets include food and hygiene materials including masks, soap and sanitiser and have been a vital lifeline for many vulnerable families.