Jan 4 2008 by Sandy McKenzie, Evening Gazette
A TEESSIDE councillor is hoping to spark local interest in helping a project which looks after street children in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Joe Michna, a Middlesbrough councillor, recently visited the capital as part of his “Clipboard Travels” when he compares other cities in the world with Middlesbrough.
He had read about the Bolivian Street Children Project on the internet before going to South America. And he and his partner Janet Noble decided to visit it when they were in La Paz.
On their visit they handed over a £500 donation and a suitcase full of gifts such as socks, footballs, hats and pens.
Cllr Michna and Janet now want to raise more cash for the project. It works with other bodies to help the 3,000 children living on La Paz’s streets.
The children, aged six to 15 years, spend their days shining shoes or begging for money.
At night, they find what shelter they can. Many have small houses made of corrugated steel or cardboard.
For those children choosing to remain on the streets the project offers help with medical care, food, clothing, social support and education.
For the children who agree to come off the streets the project runs residential units.
Cllr Michna said: “We were hugely impressed by the project’s work and the staff’s enthusiasm and dedication in supporting the children.
“We are hoping our contribution may inspire others to also consider making a small donation. It has a very informative website – http://www.bolivianstreetchildren.org”
Cllr Michna said he and Janet could provide more information. Any donations could also be sent to them.
Cllr Michna can be contacted at 24 Benson Street, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough TS5 6JQ and by telephone on 01642 812640.