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Bolivia - Familia Feliz

Mission
Provide a full education (spiritual, mental, physical, emotional) for children by providing a family-like atmosphere.

Description
Familia Feliz is a boarding school and orphanage just outside the small jungle town of Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. The school accommodates children of all ages - Pre-K to 12th grade. Kids stay in different houses based on age group and gender with a few missionaries acting as house parents. Missionaries also function as teachers and work supervisors. Familia Feliz is a great location for those who love kids, are interested in being teachers or social workers and are comfortable being immersed in a Spanish-speaking country.

More Info
  • Average Fundraising Goal: Prices may vary. $5,000 for two semesters; $3,500 for one semester. See Student Missions Office.
  • Timeline: Full year and semester options available. The school year starts in July and ends in June with a two-month break in December and January. Student missionaries are generally required to come for the entire school year (or semester) but there may be some flexibility.
  • Location: Rurrenabaque is a small town in northwest Bolivia with a population of about 20,000. It is situated on the Beni river, part of the extended Amazon river basin. The town's economy depends heavily on tourism consisting of "Pampas Tours" that take clients to rural jungle lodges to see the diverse wildlife in the nearby Madidi National Park. Rarely do missionaries at Familia Feliz have to travel further than Rurrenabaque (about a 20 min drive campus) for necessities. Check out the location on Google Maps!
  • Living Accommodations: Missionaries generally live with 1-2 other staff and up to 10 children. Houses generally have two rooms downstairs for the staff to share, one of which includes a bathroom. Houses have a small kitchen area with a sink and small stove. The children share a common sleeping area in close proximity to the staff rooms.
  • Language: English can be very useful, but it is recommended that students wishing to go to Bolivia start studying Spanish before going. While fluency is not required, all of the kids, and several staff members speak only Spanish.
  • Food: Nearly all meals are served cafeteria-style from a larger kitchen connected to a common dining area. From time to time, each house is responsible for their own meal which consists house parents cooking the meal for the children. The food served at Familia Feliz is all vegetarian and consists heavily of rice, beans, and vegetables.
  • Internet Access: There is no WiFi on campus. WiFi can be found in town during a day off. Getting a phone chip is necessary for communicating among volunteers and will allow data for daily use to be purchased at a low price.
  • Requirements: Specific Purpose Visa (apply two months prior to arrival), yellow fever vaccination.
Position Info
  • Teacher & House Parent – Missionaries at Familia Feliz will be assigned classes and are tasked with lesson planning and teaching the subject with very little resources available on campus. There are a few basic textbooks available, but there isn't a curriculum set in place, and teachers must often lesson plan from scratch. Outside of class, missionaries serve as house parents for up to 10 children. This includes (but is not limited to) waking the kids up, getting them ready for school, doing house worships, discipline, helping with homework during evening study hour, cooking, and putting them to bed. Missionaries also are expected to help out with the on-campus work program in areas such as the kitchen, maintenance, landscaping, and agriculture.

Images

(Click to enlarge)

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Seth and Mason ('18-'19) with their boys
Overview of Rurrenabaque and the Beni river
One of the houses on campus
Volunteer/SM accomodation
Working in the fields with machetes
Sophomore English class
Videos

Student Missions

Lives Changing

Familia Feliz Promo

2012

Familia Feliz

Mason's Experience

Blogs
Websites
Familia Feliz's Website
familia-feliz.org

Interested in Bolivia?

Apply for your preferred position at least four months before you plan to serve, though spots may be available up until a month before departure.