Grant Participant: Project Suma

(Formerly Word Made Flesh)

Country :  Bolivia

Humanitarian Connection: Preventative and holistic intervention for those affected by sexual exploitation

Year Founded: 2001

Bolivia is home to rich beauty both in land and in the heart of its people, yet it is also one of the most struggling nations in Latin America. Still floundering from centuries of exploitation and tumultuous governance, an estimated 60% of the population continues to struggle to meet their basic needs. The capital of Bolivia, La Paz, and the adjoining city of El Alto report approximately 13,000 legally registered sex workers.

The Executive Director of Project Suma (formerly Word Made Flesh), Andrea Baker and her husband Andy, began their work in Bolivia in 2001, spending time weekly with the women in the largest red-light district in El Alto- a district with roughly 400 beds in a dozen brothels.

For over two decades, they developed a holistic program as part of the Word Made Flesh community that offers hope and lasting change to sexually exploited women and their families.

In recent years, as they have grown and matured in their mission, they began to dream new dreams for the future. It grew clear that their next step was to become their own entity, ready to make a deep and transformative impact for the exploited women and children of Latin America. In August 2022, Word Made Flesh became Project Suma.

The mission and vision is still the same – taking a holistic approach to healing by addressing the whole person, including their families. Not only are they available in emotional, practical and spiritual ways, their team also offers a trauma-informed, 7 component process that moves through a victim – survivor – thriver model.

Their team continues weekly outreaches to the brothels where women bear the war-torn signs of injustice upon injustice: sexual abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, single-parenthood, heavy debt and more. Project Suma meets them here, seeking to break generational cycles of abuse, awaken dormant dreams, and provide tools and support needed to reach them if requested.

Their drop-in center, in the heart of the red-light district offers community, discipleship, vocational training workshops, therapy, and financial support in times of crisis.  It is a place of healing, a refuge. Project Suma provides direct support for approximately 150 women annually. With over two decades of experience, this holistic approach has brought wholeness and healing that redirects the cycle of trauma, poverty and exploitation in families.

Investment Opportunities

  • Outreach Activities

  • Restoration Program: social support and intervention, spiritual support, activities for physical well-being

  • Economic Development Program: vocational counseling and financial guidance, survivor mentoring program, business internship support, and scholarships for personal entrepreneurship

  • Partial Social Worker Salary

Numbers at a Glance

Description Total Annual Cost (USD)
Outreach Activities $5,329
Restoration Program $8,717
Economic Development Program $5,515
Partial Social Worker Salary $5,439
TOTAL: $25,000

There are approximately 13,000 legally registered sex workers in La Paz and El Alto.

1,023 women have received services at Project Suma’s drop-in center.

70% of women in Bolivia are victims of violence in their lifetime.