Performing Life is a registered nonprofit organization founded to help impoverished youth working and/or living on the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia.  Today our various programs empower these young people by teaching them performance and visual arts as productive skills for avoiding drugs and delinquency while ensuring participants remain in school and receive academic support when needed.  Performing Life also provides participating youth with new economic opportunities, and the funds they earn are used to start savings accounts that allow them and their families to make important decisions about their educational and financial futures.  Since its inception our organization has helped over 2,100 children and members of their families, and we are proud that youth interest in our programs, and desire to expand them, has never been greater.  We’re glad you’ve found us, too.  For more information about the important work we’re doing here in Bolivia, read on!

Read more about our history & mission

How we help

Our current programs

The Circus Arts Program started in March 2006. It is the oldest of Performing Life’s projects and forms the heart of the organization’s youth programs. Social Circus classes teach at-risk youth in deprived areas circus arts, including juggling, acrobatics, unicycle, and much more. Our workshops have a positive impact on participants’ personal development, increasing abilities such as teamwork, communication, and concentration, as well as developing self-esteem, expression, and self-determination.

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The Music Program began in 2008 with a small studio in a closet, minimal equipment, and six to ten participants. The Music Program engages youth with the least amount of opportunities in life in an environment where they develop self-esteem, using music to express their feelings about their lives and the world around them. The participants learn to create and write lyrics, put them to music, create beats, and produce albums in diverse genres such as pop, acoustic, contemporary, and hip hop.

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The Social Education Program is a replacement for the education program. It focuses on the development of a set of skills and abilities that empower boys and girls to have better opportunities for the future. They work on issues such as basic and advanced social skills, emotional intelligence, alternatives to aggression, coping with stress, planning skills, gender equality, conflict management, etc. All of this focuses on participatory, active methodologies and with an important recreational component to keep the children motivated, interested and participative.

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The Health Programs  provide essential services that help to improve participating youth’s overall health through collaboration with local organizations. Youth and their families have access to Dental care, General Health Check-ups, and educational workshops aimed at improving living conditions, family planning and disease prevention.

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How we help

Other Activities.

Scholarship and Higher Education Programs are available to all youth who regularly attend PL activities and are 16 and above. Past opportunities include training and workshops with Cirque du Monde and scholarships to learn English and Sound Engineering. Through one of our partner organizations, Smiles Forever, young women become certified Dental Hygienists. In 2015 we are forming relationships with other Bolivian and foreign universities to provide youth with the opportunities they need to become a professionals in more fields.

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The Performing Life Cafeteria provides over 70 kids in the programs with a free healthy meal each day, and employment for mothers as cooks.

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How we helped

Our past programs

The Bracelet and Micro-Enterprise Program which began in 2006, is a youth-managed enterprise that offers participants and their families the opportunity to make beautiful, high-quality bracelets that are then sent to the United States for sale.  All profits are returned to the participants and saved in their own bank accounts, which are set up by Performing Life. Families learn to use these funds for education, improving living conditions, and starting microenterprises that sustain them and/or their families.

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The Education Program  was established in 2014 to offer enrichment lessons engaging youth with a range of subjects designed to improve their educational attainment and broaden their perspectives with topics that are not being taught in the Bolivian school system. Participants take classes each week on how to use the Internet and learn skills that they need to be successful now and later in life.

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How you can help


Become a member and make a donation to help improve the lives of the children and families here in Cochabamba.

Click here for more info!


There are many ways you can contribute to Performing Life. It doesn’t matter where you are, what skills you have, or how much time or money you can spare. Click below to see our options for volunteering!

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See Cirque du Soleil in Los Angeles on the 14th December and help Performing Life.

Cirque Du Soleil has partnered with Performing Life to help us raise money to help disadvantaged children living in deprived areas in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We have 100 tickets to the LUZIA show in LOS ANGELES on Thursday December 14th at the Dodger Stadium. Buy tickets for the show and 90 percent of the profits will […]

Support us through Goodshop!

Looking for a way to give back to Performing Life International, and support the work we do? We’ve partnered with Goodshop to help you save while you shop! Goodshop finds you the best deals on the internet — coupons from all your favorite stores like Best Buy promo codes for those new phones, dvds or […]

Raising money with bracelets and cheese at Parlana

Last night, the Performing Life grown-ups were at Parlana, Cochabamba’s language exchange night, selling bracelets and CDs made by the children. We also held a raffle for some rather excellent cheese! Fun was had. Balls were juggled. And a TV crew interviewed Adalid about our work, so stay tuned for that next week. Thanks to […]

Hear from our community


meet Marye

My name is Marye Dijkstra and I am from The Netherlands. From an early age I have always had a natural instinct to help other people, especially children, but above all: whole family systems. Offering disadvantaged families in less fortunate situations the opportunities to further their aspirations, goals and expectations of life. I believe it is a challenge to make people stronger and teach them to discover their own strengths and talents to change their own present and future.


meet Christian

 Cristian Maire, 12, joined Performing Life (PL) in April 2012. He lives with his stepfather, mother, and older brother; he doesn’t know his father, who abandoned the family before Cristian was born.  His family lives in one room in the Montenegro region, about 20 km west of Cochabamba.  Because Cristian’s family has only one bed, he sleeps on the floor.   Cristian’s stepfather is often verbally abusive, and worse, sometimes beats him.


meet Anneleen

“During my travels in Bolivia I made a visit to Cochabamba.  While there I met John Connell, and soon after I found myself asking for a volunteer job.  Working with the Performing Life crew was probably one of the most interesting things that ever happened to me.


meet Hope for the Children

Hope for the Children is Performing Life’s founding funder and tax-exempt sponsor.  Tony Bellizzi, Director, is responsible for developing the PL bracelet sales network in many U.S. schools.  He can be reached at or through the organization’s website.