A year 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 onsite along with their two children.  They earn a minimal salary and work full time, 24/7.
A needs assessment found their most pressing need to be vocational training.  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.


While in Bolivia, the team noticed that wood was very rare. Most structural construction was steel, steel beams supporting roofs, gates, fences ... steel and concrete everywhere.
A consensus was reached that a Vocational Welding Program would give the boys a marketable trade once they left the orphanage.  The boys would not only learn a trade by the age of 18, but the school/orphanage would create a sustainable income source by providing contract welding services to the community at large. A win-win all the way around!
PHASE I - Complete
Phase I was the acquisition of equipment to launch the project.  A partnership was formed between the Melfred Borzall Company represented by Eric Melshiemer, CEO and RC/Templeton members Will van Kranenburg and Georgia Vreeken to provide funds for the purchase of equipment suitable to launch a Vocational Welding Program. 

The picture below shows the boys from Viacha with their newly purchased welding equipment.
The next phase is to create a workshop with adequate ventilation for the program. Much of the work will be provided by the older boys themselves under the supervision of a contractor.  Some will involve welding, making this their first welding/construction learning opportunity.  Needless to say, the boys are eager to begin welding away!
At our 09.02.14 meeting, representatives of the Rotary Club of Cambria presented President Will vK a check for $500 towards the $10,000 funding goal.  Pictured below are Dennis Rightner, RC/Cambria International Chair, Will vK and Dan Balfe, RC/Cambria Grants Chair.
We are extremely grateful to all of our contributors and project partners thus far.
Our major contributors are ($2500+):
- Melfred Borzall Company, Eric Melshiemer, CEO
- San Luis Obispo Salvation Army, LT. Henry Gonzalez, CO
Rotary partners:
- Rotary Club of Sopocachi  La Paz, Bolivia,  project international partner
- Rotary Club of Sopopachi  La Paz, Bolivia,  project international partner - See more at:
- Rotary Club of Sopopachi  La Paz, Bolivia,  project international partner - See more at:
Corporate donors ($500+):
- Professional Home Inspection Services, Rotarian Georgia Vreeken, CEO
- CNC Central, Inc., Rotarian Will van Kranenburg, CEO
- Cristina Sirotta, RE/MAX Parkside
- Hedges Insurance, Mike Hedges, CEO
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
Global Grant
For those familiar with Rotary lingo, we are pushing forward to raising $10,000 and coupling our efforts with a Rotary International Global Grant for an additional $22,500.  In short, we need your help to gather another $2,000.  The Grant will fund implementation of the welding program as well as much-needed repairs to water and sanitation system of the campus. Additionally, currently empty classrooms will be equipped with desks and supplies to provide Hygiene and Wellness education to 200+ students and the community as a whole.
Individual and club support is greatly appreciated.  If you would like to donate toward this great project, please use the link below:
Checks are also welcomed by mail:
Rotary Club of Templeton Foundation
PO BOX 1496
Templeton, CA 93465
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!