Bolivia is mired in a devastating epidemic of sexual abuse. One-third of Bolivian girls have been sexually molested by the time they are 18.
Since 2011, Teodocia Paredes Cabrera has been reaching out to victims in her ministry, Sumaj Sonqo, where she provides physical and emotional healing for victims. She educates victims about legal rights and other issues in hopes of turning the tides toward improvements for the next generation.
The situation is dire in Bolivia because poverty often prevents victims from taking legal action. Even if they could, many choose not to for fear of repercussions from the perpetrators. And only after age 18 can it be considered rape within the Bolivian judicial system, provided the act is accompanied by violence.
Cabrera’s other primary ministry focus involves an outreach to children. Besides treating illnesses such as rabies and Chagas disease in her clinic, Sumaj Sonqo ministers to the spiritual health of children through weekly Bible studies. Cabrera hopes children can impact their own families by bringing the Gospel home with them. Cabrera’s goal is to use her ministry to restore families, marriages and faith.
Teodocia Paredes Cabrera
A quiet nature doesn’t inhibit Teodocia Paredes Cabrera from having the courage to tackle some of life’s most difficult issues. She stands tall among the toilsome circumstances and challenges that come with living in a region plagued with domestic and sexual abuse. Cabrera is a trusted confidant to those who have been scarred by abuse and a compassionate friend to victims in their darkest times. She also shares a deep love for children and desires for them to grow in faith.
Population: 10.8 million
Size: 1.1 million sq. km, or about three times the size of Montana.
Capital: La Paz
Borders: Chile and Peru to the west; Brazil to the north and east; Paraguay and Argentina to the south.
Religious groups: Roman Catholic, 76.8%; Evangelical and Pentecostal, 8.1%; Protestant, 7.9%.
Primary language: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Literacy (age 15+): 95.7%
Physician density: 0.47 doctors per 1,000 people.
Population below international poverty line: 45%
Life expectancy: 68.9 years
Infant mortality rate: 37.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Major exports: Natural gas, mineral ores, gold, soybeans and soy products, tin.
Climate: Varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semi arid.
Terrain: Rugged Andes Mountains with highland plateau, hills, lowland plains in the Amazon Basin.