Felicia Gehrig

Year Joined MKLM: 1999
Country: Bolivia
City: El Alto
Focus: Education
Project: Education in the Neighborhood of Senkata
People Served: 15,000 children and youth
GOAL: To provide children and youth access to educational resources and provide training opportunities for teachers working with small children.

Personal Data
Felicia and her husband Jason joined MKLM in 1999 and have been in El Alto, Bolivia, since 2000. Since their arrival in Bolivia they have had three children—Jessica born in 2001, Nicholas in 2004 and Anthony in 2005. Nicholas and Anthony were born in Bolivia. Felicia was born in Houston, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (1994). Before going into overseas mission, she taught 4th, 5th & 6th grades in Houston and Fort Worth public elementary schools. Felicia was also very involved in her parish, St. John the Apostle, in the Diocese of Ft. Worth.

Felicia’s current ministry is dedicated to formation, literacy, and early education efforts in El Alto – one of the world’s highest cities and one of the most impoverished in South America. Her efforts are based primarily in Senkata, the marginalized neighborhood where she lives with her family. Senkata has approximately 30,000 residents. Along with the local neighborhood associations and parish, Felicia coordinated the construction and operation of the community libraries, Biblioteca “Ullañani” (“Let’s Read” in Aymara) and “Oscar Romero.” She works closely with the librarians in these and two other parish libraries in Senkata. These libraries are the only ones available for the well over 15,000 school-aged children and youth in that area who attend over 20 different public schools with no textbooks provided by the school system.

Felicia also works with a local program that provides tutoring to children in the local school who need special assistance. In addition Felicia helps train teachers at three local day care centers. The training focuses on helping the teachers learn how to create dynamic and participative activities for their young students. The directors of these centers have been very grateful and excited about the possibilities with the continuing professional development of their teachers.

Felicia serves as a catechist in her local parish and helps coordinate formation groups for Aymara indigenous women and adolescent girls in Senkata. Her skills and experience in early childhood education contribute greatly to community educational efforts throughout El Alto.

Current Ministry
Felicia and her family returned to the states in 2007 and live in Ft. Worth, TX with their three high school and junior high children. Felicia teaches at their parish school at St. George’s Parish and Jason works in the water systems department of Ft. Worth. Together they are active in their parish and pillars of the Texas Catholic Mission Conference.