Organization works with BYU students to provide humanitarian aid to Bolivian women and children

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(Derek Larsen)

Yapay Bolivia is an organization that aims to assist Bolivians with healthcare and education. BYU and UVU student interns have worked to raise tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of the organization.

Yapay Bolivia was started by four former missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served in Bolivia. According to the organization, “Yapay” means “give a little more” in Quechua, a language spoken in Bolivia. The organization currently works with hospitals, schools and orphanages to provide education to poverty-stricken individuals in Bolivia. 

Yapay Bolivia has raised over $100,000 since 2016. The organization has completed various projects each year, such as providing hospitals with ultra-sound machines and other medical supplies and has helped around 883 patients by providing supplies and education.

Behind the scenes at Yapay Bolivia are five volunteer interns from BYU and UVU. The interns take on various roles, like public relations, project analyst and development coordinator. The interns do not receive financial compensation because 100% of Yapay’s donations go towards funding service projects. According to the interns, the experience working for the foundation has benefitted them in a number of ways.

“It’s not even that I’ve developed new and refined old skill sets in content writing, document design and international communications that makes my work with Yapay Bolivia so invaluable,” said Deven Curtis, a graduate student at BYU. “It’s seeing the need in the world and doing something about it.”

A graphic explaining Yapay Bolivia’s success. (Derek Larsen)

Derek Larsen, who attends UVU and works at Yapay Bolivia as a public relations intern, has had the opportunity to visit Bolivia to help with various projects. There, Larsen delivered special pediatric medical equipment directly to a Bolivian Hospital. Larsen said he will remember the experience forever. 

Yapay Bolivia receives most of its funding via social media. Giving Tuesday, the pseudo-holiday that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a big day for the foundation. Yapay Bolivia raised $30,000 last year, but its members hope to exceed the amount in 2019. 

“Because the interns manage social media and the website, draft donor reports, take care of donor receipts, and keep track of donations, it would be nearly impossible to fundraise without them,” said Yapay Bolivia secretary and treasury Ariane Dansie. “They are integral to our ability to fundraise.”

Find out more about Yapay Bolivia, including how to donate and apply for internships at yapaybolivia.org.

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