December 5, 2023

Frolián’s Story

Frolián Tapia is the second of four siblings, the only boy.

All the siblings live with their grandmother since their mother abandoned them 12 years ago, just a few months after giving birth to their youngest sister.

The family is originally from the city of La Paz but had to move to Cochabamba for health reasons. La Paz is at a high altitude (3,600 meters above sea level) and their grandmother had heart problems, so the doctors advised her to move.

The Tapia family lives in a building that is still under construction. In exchange for guarding the construction materials and tools the owner of the building has let them stay there. Grandmother Pastora sleeps with her granddaughters in one room. The four of them share only two beds. Frolián sleeps in a separate room, a very small space that only fits his single bed and a bedside table. They have no other rooms other than a small bathroom with a shower next to where the girls sleep. They cook and eat outdoors or in the bedroom itself. Grandmother Pastora says that having to share the same room ¨helps them to stay together¨. Frolián loves his grandmother very much, and calls her ¨Mamita¨, Kind Mother. He says that lately, apart from her heart problems, she is also losing her sight, so it is increasingly difficult for her to care for the household and the children. For this reason he is very grateful to be in the BEF program, as he has the opportunity to study and not be a worry for his grandmother.

Frolián is doing very well in school. He is currently grade 11 which means he will graduate next year. He wants to pursue a military career, a very difficult field in Bolivia, where they require academic and physical excellence to enter military school. Without the Bolivia Education Foundation he would be unable to spend time focussing on his studies, and having the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for his family.

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