Global Builders – Bolivia

Global Builders Bolivia

Bolivia is a country known for its outstanding beauty and deep cultural and historical richness. Due to its diverse mix of landscapes and cultural experiences, it is a popular destination for adventure seeking tourists. Despite it being a popular place to visit, there is still a great need for housing, as there are many families who still live in substandard homes.
 
We work with families who live just outside of the administrative capital, La Paz, in the city of El Alto. The two cities sit at an altitude of 12,000-14,000 feet and offer breath-taking views all around. Between the friendly locals, the amazing views, and the extremely dedicated staff, this is a place you are going to love visiting and building in!
Bolivia

Getting Involved

There are several ways that you can get involved:

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Volunteer on one of our Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Bolivia and get to know the local people and traditions while you partner with families to complete a home.
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Sponsorship Cost: $15,000

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click “Join” to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

The Fuller Center Bolivia was started by two brothers, Carlos and Alex Aramayo, who had previously built 600-700 homes through an independent organization. They joined the Fuller Center so they could be part of something larger and have a greater reach. Our teams work primarily with indigenous families who have been lured to the city of La Paz with hope for a better life, but find themselves living on the urban periphery in the city of El Alto. The families typically consist of three kids and two parents, as well as a number of single parent households. Many of the families earn their income through growing fruits and vegetables which they sell in the markets called ferias. Others work as laborers in the various industries located in La Paz and El Alto.

What is a trip like?

Each trip to Bolivia is with a group of mission-minded volunteers – typically 8-20 total – who want to experience the world, meet new people, and make a difference. No skills required. Trips last 1-2 weeks and include opportunities for sightseeing in this beautiful, mountainous nation.

  • 7:30 – Breakfast
  • 8:00 – Depart for work-site
  • 9:00 – Start building
  • 12:30 – Lunch
  • 1:30 – Continue building
  • 6:30 – Dinner at a local restaurant

    Exact schedules can be discussed and set depending on the team’s preferences and length of stay.

We are building mostly new homes in the El Alto area. The homes are built with bricks and are typically around 750 square feet. Work typically involves helping the masons and carpenters. This work involves laying bricks, mixing/carrying cement and mortar, digging the foundation, and helping construct the roof. We provide necessary tools, but as with most build sites, it never hurts to bring a few small hand tools with you.

Most teams stay at the Hotel Sagarnaga in La Paz. Although a fairly simple hotel, the Sagarnaga offers all your standard amenities and includes breakfast and wifi. You’re located right in the middle of an excellent tourist area, with coffee shops, restaurants, souvenir vendors, and local performances an easy walk away.

A small bus or van will be rented to transport the group throughout each day. The time from the hotel to each work-site will vary depending on traffic, but on average is about 1 hour, so bring a book and some car games. Due to the busyness of the city, groups will need to leave early in the morning, around 7:00am, to beat the morning rush.

Bedding and towels are provided by the hotel, but we recommend you bring your own washcloth. We recommend coordinating with other team members to share things like sunscreen or bug spray. Luggage can often get delayed, so bring your luggage as a carry-on if possible. Sturdy work clothes, closed-toed shoes, and a hat for the sun are essential, since the high elevation increases the risk of sunburn. It’s often cold at these elevations, so long pants and a jacket are essential. A full packing list is provided in the country guidebook.

Bolivia is a country full of beauty and breath-taking views which means there are a lot of sightseeing opportunities. In La Paz, where groups will be staying, they have gondola’s that go high above the city offering incredible views. Lake Titicaca is also close by and is a must see destination. There are markets, shops, and restaurants around the hotel providing hours of shopping. We will work with you to set up cultural and sightseeing opportunities for you and your group.

Prices vary based on team size and trip duration, but a typical 1-week trip will cost roughly $1050 – $1150. That price covers lodging, local transportation including airport pick-up, three meals per day, bottled water, travel health insurance, and a contribution toward building materials. The fee does not cover airfare, R&R activities, or tips. We will work out a more accurate price after you submit your trip proposal.

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!

Pricing – What’s included?

Team MaterialsFuller Center hat, t-shirt, country guidebook, fundraising guide, & more
Trip SupportEasy contact with Team Leader and Global Builders staff
Food and Drink3 meals a day provided by safe, sanitary local vendors
TransportationTo and from work sites and airport
LodgingHotel Sagarnaga in La Paz
Travel InsuranceCurrently provided by Core Travel Insurance. Contact GB staff for details
Life-changing workAlongside your teammates and the homeowners!

What happens after the trip?

Even after you return, your trip can have a sustained impact on both you and the community in which you served! 
Learn how on our Country Champions page.

Sample before
Sample after

Learn the Basics – Area Info

Language:
Spanish (Official) 60.7%, Quechua (Official) 21.2%, Ayamara (Official) 14.6%, Other 3.5%
Age Structure:
0-14 years 32.36%, 15-24 years 19.55%, 25-54 years 37.08%, 55+ years 11.01%
Population:
10,969,649 (2016 est.)
Life Expectancy:69.2 years (Male 66.4, Female 72.1)
Climate:
Highs: 60s-70s, Lows: 30s-40s; Rainy Season: December-March
Currency:
Bolivian Boliviano (BOB)  $1USD = 6.91 BOB
Literacy Rate:
95.7% (Male 97.8%, Female 93.6%)
Ethnic Groups:
Mestizo 68%, Indigenous 20%, White 5%, Other 7%
Religion: 
Roman Catholic 76.8%, Evangelical and Pentecostal 8.1%, Protestant 7.9%, other 7.2%