ÑAUPAQMAN PURIY KEREIMBA: Combating Exploitive Child Labor Through Education in Bolivia

Project Duration
December 2010
February 2015
Funding and Year

Development Objective: To reduce the number of children working in exploitive conditions in Bolivia by increasing their enrollment in educational activities, reducing their hours of work or removing them from exploitive work, assisting families with increased livelihood opportunities, and promoting economic empowerment among communities. The project will develop its strategies in conjunction with indigenous organizations and work within the framework of indigenous cultural values, organizational structure and language.

The Problem

In Bolivia, at least half of the children who work are of indigenous descent and belong to the Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní groups. Most child laborers work in agriculture, either on their families’ farms and/or on third-party farms or plantations. This work exposes children to agro-chemicals and demands that surpass their physical capacity. Some children are also victims of forced labor.

Children also work on the streets selling products, shining shoes, and assisting transport operators, work in which children may be exposed to severe weather, hazards posed by proximity to vehicles, and criminal elements. Some Bolivian children are sent from rural to urban areas to work for higher-income families as domestic servants (or criaditos in Spanish), in circumstances that often amount to indentured servitude. Studies indicate that the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation or begging is a growing trend in Bolivia.

Our Strategy

Project goals include:

  • Provide direct educational services tailored to children’s education needs and labor conditions;
  • Raise awareness about the effects of child labor among local actors;
  • Strengthen policies and child labor regulations; and
  • Organize activities related to youth employment and alternative household productivity.

Summary of Activities:

  • Provide accelerated basic and secondary education program for over-age students, in support of Bolivia’s new education law;
  • Reinsert and retain children in school through scholarships;
  • Implement after-school academic support programs and summer school activities;
  • Develop technical secondary school programs;
  • Provide vocational education and occupational training that is linked to businesses, in order to generate decent employment for adolescents and youth and promote corporate social responsibility;
  • Offer support to small enterprises that raise household incomes;
  • Conduct awareness-raising campaigns, including of health and occupational hazards inflicted by the worst forms of child labor;
  • Collaborate with the Child Labor Inspection System of the Ministry of Labor, the Municipal Children and Adolescent Defender’s Offices, and indigenous organizations.
  • As of September 30, 2014, 4,466 children engaged in or at high-risk of entering child labor have been provided education or vocational services as a result of this project. 


This project provided educational services to 4,466 children in Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, and El Alto who were working or at risk of entering exploitive labor. Many beneficiaries were children from the Quechua and Guaraní ethnic groups who migrated to work in the sugar cane and soybean plantations, while others migrated to the cities to work or become trafficking victims for sexual exploitation or begging. Other children who received services were trapped in forced labor in the agricultural sector.

The project also offered livelihood opportunities for 1,293 households, some of which have been subjected to forced labor, in both rural and urban areas.

Desarrollo y Autogestión (DYA)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Human Trafficking
Sexual Exploitation