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About Us

US Non-Profit’s Mission

The Emilia Wojtyla Shelter Bolivia is a 501(c)(3) that raises funds and awareness to combat the issue of violence against women. The nonprofit provides financial support for shelter operations and outreach activities of our sister organization, Asociacion Emilia de Wojtyla.  

Bolivia Shelter’s Mission

The Emilia Wojtyla Shelter Bolivia transforms the lives of abused women and children by providing safety and support, instilling them with a sense of purpose, and empowering them to create self-sustaining lives.

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Our Story

The Emilia Wojtyla Shelter Bolivia was started in 2013 by our founder “Mama Mily” Milgueyra Orochi and her daughter Katherine Cartagena. While living in America, Katherine met Father Luciano Ciciarelli, a well-known priest and philanthropist. In traditional Bolivian welcoming fashion, Katherine invited him to visit her mother in La Paz. After seeing the reality of Bolivian life, he encouraged Mama Mily to open a shelter for women and their children who have face difficulty and felt alone. Together, they opened the Emilia Wojtyla Shelter Bolivia.

Two years later, Katherine expanded the efforts to the US for fundraising and awareness-building purposes. Since the issue of domestic violence is still taboo in Bolivia, it was crucial to find support and volunteers in the United States. She started with a group of college friends, who, with the help of a trusted mentor, founded the Emilia Wojtyla Shelter Bolivia non-profit organization in 2015. Today the non-profit, which has a Board of Directors that consists of  business professionals and a wider network of passionate volunteers called “Friends of EWS.”

The volunteers in the US support the shelter operationally and raise funds by  hosting in person and virtual events. They also sell the Emilia Artisan Collection, products that the women in Bolivia make to learn skills. 

The staff and volunteers who are based in Bolivia help the women recover, give them a sense of purpose by teaching them skills, and helping them set up for future success. They do this through emotional support, community building, and prayer. The women have employment opportunities through the Emilia Artisan Collection, and the EWS Bakery.

ALL income from the product sales and donations to the US nonprofit are sent to Bolivia to support the shelter.

Our Impact

Because of EWS Bolivia, many hundreds of families have escaped the vicious cycle of domestic abuse that is incredibly prevalent in Bolivia. The culture is slowly changing away from “machismo” to a more equitable society. EWS is proud to be on the forefront of women’s empowerment in Bolivia.

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Emotional Support

Emotional Support

Therapy and workshops available for the women and children

Women's Empowerment

Women's Empowerment

Job and life skills taught

Education for Children

Education for Children

Children are given access to quality education

Our Video

Learn more about EWS Bolivia’s work and see the shelter in action.