Sitting at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet, La Paz is the third largest city in Bolivia and its capital in all but name. It is also growing constantly, owing to the steady influx of people from the rural regions, and now has a population of approximately 1 million. This population increase is likewise resulting in a steady growth of the parishes within the city. Close to 80% of the population in Bolivia is Catholic, while at the same time there are far too few priests.
In many countries of Latin America there is no state help of any kind for the physically or mentally handicapped. Most families, already living in poverty, have little possibility of helping their own handicapped children in a manner appropriate to their needs. Thankfully, the congregation of the Servants of God‘s Plan (Siervas del Plan de Dios) have a special vocation for the care of the poorest and most needy.
For 20 years now, the Dominican Sisters in Docordò, Colombia, have been trying to help young people. Through educational work and intensive personal accompaniment, they try to keep young people from falling into the clutches of the armed gangs, who are very prevalent and active in the region. Many of these young people are easily manipulated and exploited, often suffering from an inadequate upbringing, a difficult home background and a general aimlessness and lack of direction in life.