In the past few weeks Mano a Mano has received a ton (literally!) of surplus school supplies donated from local schools in the Twin Cities area. As part of our medical surplus distribution program for our clinics, we also send school supplies to rural schools in Bolivia. These supplies make a huge difference for the students who receive them; simple things like receiving a notebook or a pencil can be a very special gift.

Mano a Mano’s Executive Director Dan Narr recently returned from a trip to Bolivia and shared this story of how excited kids were to get one pencil:

Segundo and I just came back from a trip to Bolivia about two weeks ago where we took time to visit one of our road projects that was just completed. The entire community came together to share their appreciation with food, song and dance and speeches from all the community leaders, including the mayor. It is Mano a Mano’s tradition to bring school supplies for the children for all the communities, regardless of the project.


As we brought out the books for them to read, the children started gathering and then the bag of pencils came out and the children started to smile and jump with excitement. The pencils, even though they were used, was the best gift they thought they could ever receive. The delight on their faces says it all. A number of volunteers from the U.S. visiting with us sat around for a bit and read the children stories. It just doesn’t get any better than that! Not only do they have a new road, they have the promise of a new dream. A road is just the beginning of their story.

Girl in Sancayani, Bolivia happy with her book that was donated for the school library in August 2011

We are very grateful to the many volunteers and schools that have donated, collected, sorted, and packed these supplies that would have ended up in the trash in the US but can make a big difference for children in Bolivia!

Students from Minnetonka High School with school supplies they collected and packed last week