Welding Begins in Viacha

Articulo publicado por Rotary Club Templeton, California


A few years ago, members from our club traveled to assess the needs of orphanages in Bolivia.  Among them is a boys’ orphanage located in one of the most dangerous areas of La Paz , the neighborhood of Viacha in El Alto.

The home serves a dual purpose:  it is a community elementary school during the day, and also an orphanage for abandoned and orphaned 5 to 17-year-old boys.  They are under the care of a sweet couple, Betty and Giovani who live on-site along with their two children.  They earn a minimal salary and work full time, 24/7.

Much like kids in our country, the boys in Viacha, Bolivia face the questions of career and financial independence. They have the added burden that once they turn 18, they age-out of the orphanage. And, unless they have a sponsor to put them through college, they’ll have to face adulthood without a trade to sustain them.  Templeton Rotary is committed to empowering those who want to help themselves.  A vocational welding program was envisioned and set in motion.

Today, the welding shop offers hands on training in welding and aluminum construction from a journeyman instructor.  Young men learn marketable skills they can take with them into adult hood.  Their current focus is building metal furniture which is sold locally.  The funds return to the program making this a 100% sustainable project.

Boys and instructor

soldador repisa

Using equipment supplied by Rotary              Furniture sold at local market

Self esteem shows on their faces as they stand in their brand new weld shop

This project was made possible by the generosity of Melfred Borzall , Eric Melshiemer, CEO who’s vision and seed money made this project a reality!

The picture below shows (from left to right) Will van Kranenburg, Eric Melshiemer and Georgia Vreeken and the boys from Viacha with their newly purchased welding equipment.

donantes y equipo


We are extremely grateful to all of our contributors and project partners:

Our major contributors are ($2500+):

Rotary partners:

Corporate donors ($500+):

Individual donors ($250+)

  • Dino Putrino, Templeton, CA
  • Dom and Sally Simonelli, Templeton, CA
  • Ashley van Kranenburg, Seattle, WA

Individual donors ($100+):

  • Dr. Miguel Lanza, MD, Coos Bay, OR
  • Gary Deardorff, Atascadero, CA


For those familiar with Rotary lingo, this project was a Rotary International Global Grant.  Over $35,000 raised funded not only the implementation of the welding program ($10,000+) but also much-needed repairs to the water and sanitation system of the campus. Additionally,  empty classrooms are now equipped with chairs, desks and supplies and provide Hygiene and Wellness education to students and the community throughout the year.

Here are some before and after pictures:





Weld shop



This project has been a complete success.  We have improved the lives of hundreds of children and their families.  We have empowered young men with trade skills and the potential for a life of self-sufficiency.  We at Templeton Rotary are thrilled… you should be too!

For additional information please contact Team Leader Will van Kranenburg at:

Last word … It’s easy to throw money at an organization and feel good that we contributed.  Most times, the funds go to overhead and little gets to the kids. The Rotary Club of Templeton Foundation will give 100% of funds donated to the projects we promote.  This welding program is a sustainable solution that will make a lifetime difference to hundreds of kids.  With a small investment today you have helped break the cycle of poverty for young men and their future families for years to come!

Thank you for your support!

Acerca de Rotary Club La Paz-Sopocachi

Club Rotario N° 27236 constituido el 16 de mayo de 1990 en la ciudad de La Paz - Bolivia, perteneciente al Distrito 4690 de Rotary Internac
Esta entrada fue publicada en La Fundación Rotaria, Proyectos, Servicio a través Ocupación, Servicio en la Comunidad, Servicio Internacional. Guarda el enlace permanente.

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