Poverty and violence can seem to go hand in hand in much of rural Bolivia. All too often this violence is in the home, directed at women and children. Those who try to escape it can frequently be found scavaging on rubbish heaps and in bins, or retreating into alcoholism and substance abuse.
Voces Libros (Free Voices) provides a refuge for those people most effected by poverty and abuse. At their many safe hostels across Bolivia, beaten women become like mothers to orphaned children and those whose parents can no longer look after them.
The organisation doesn't just house, feed and clothe the children, it also educates them. This is not just about providing schooling, it means teaching them a useful trade so they won't be re-entered into the cycle of poverty when they are older. Baking, sewing and music all play an important part in providing the children of Voces Libres with the option of a new life.
Volunteers are much needed, as the organisation has very few resources. Their offices can be easily reached from the main part of Potosi. Bus 'F', one of the many regular bus services around town, will take you almost straight to their door.
For those who can't give their time but want to help, the website has a section for donations, sponsoring a child and selling handicrafts made by the children of Voces Libres from your home.