Location within Bolivia

Coordinates: 17°41′S 65°41′W / 17.683°S 65.683°W / -17.683; -65.683Coordinates: 17°41′S 65°41′W / 17.683°S 65.683°W / -17.683; -65.683

Country  Bolivia
Department Cochabamba Department
Province Mizque Province
Municipality Alalay Municipality
Population (2001)
 • Total 638
Time zone -4 (UTC-4)

Alalay is a location in the Cochabamba Department in central Bolivia. It is the seat of the Alalay Municipality, the third municipal section of the Mizque Province.

The Alalay Foundation

The Alalay foundation was started in the early 1990s by a 19 year-old Bolivian student who passed street children every day on her way to university and was determined to do something to help. Alalay rescues these kids from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins; feeds, clothes and educates them and encourages them in their future working lives. The name was chosen by the street children themselves and means “I am cold” in the local Aymara native language.

Alalay is entirely dependant on donations, since the national government does not take any active positive interest in the plight of the street children.

Since it was started, the foundation has helped over 10,000 kids and adolescents and works with over 1,000 children annually, in the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. It currently has 400 children living in various centres, and provides food, health care, clothing, education, social work, spiritual, psychological and legal help, and technical training for them. Most importantly, it provides something they’ve often never had – a home and a family.

Alalay works by involving the kids in four stages of activity: Firstly, street workers talk and play with them on the streets, building up trust and a relationship with the children and encouraging them to come to Alalay.

Secondly, the children can choose to enter a “welcome house” in the city, where they will learn life skills such as washing, wearing shoes, looking after belongings (they may never have owned anything before) and so on. Depending on each child, they may stay here for just a few weeks or in some cases many months, and may also attend a local school.

Thirdly, when ready, they move to the aldea (a centre about 40 minute’s bus journey outside town) where they will go to school, continue developing useful skills and begin to lead a more “normal” family life.

Finally, aged roughly 15, they return to the welcome houses to continue schooling and start vocational training – previous courses have included: car mechanics, computer programming, nursing, beauty, business and management, woodworking and textile work. They are encouraged to seek jobs or go on to further education such as university.


  • Instituto Nacional de Estadistica de Bolivia

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