Supported employment in practice - Bolivia

Manuel is a job coach in Bolivia. This is his case report of Maria, housemaid, 19, and




Maria came into my office very early one morning. She immediately said that she

needed a job but that so far she had not managed to find one. I explained that I was

there to support her in her search for work. We looked at what type of job Maria

wanted and what she had done previously. Maria wanted to be a maid. She told

me she had helped her mother in cleaning the house since she was a kid. She and

her mother were trying to find Maria a job by asking around, but nobody had yet hired

her. I suggested she try to get some work experience, in order to obtain a

recommendation from someone locally well-known. She liked the idea and together

we made a list of ten people reputed as reliable and socially minded. A few days later

Maria returned to my office and we decided to send a letter to ten selected persons.

Maria told me what she wanted to say in the letter, I typed and printed it and sent out

the ten letters. Next we rehearsed a short story of what Maria would say when she

followed up her letter with a phone call asking for work. We agreed that she was to

mention she was supported by me and my agency. At my office, she spoke with six

of the ten people. The sixth person responded very positively and invited her for an

interview. Maria then called the other five to explain the situation. Again we prepared

together what she would discuss at her interview. The next day I received a phone

call from a very happy Maria. She had been accepted for a tryout period of

(unfortunately) unpaid work as the assistant to another maid. We agreed she would

call me whenever she needed to and that she would try to obtain a good written


Job finding

After several weeks Maria returned to my office with the news that she had been

hired as an assistant maid in the same house. She was glad, but disappointed about

the poor wages. She asked me if I could help her in this and I agreed.

Job analysis

We also discussed if she could handle the various tasks of the job and Maria said

she could handle it well.


The job matched Maria’s needs.

Job coaching

Maria made an appointment to see her employer with me. Maria and I had previously

prepared what she would say. Her employer was a little annoyed that Maria was

asking for more wages. I supported Maria’s argument but in the end Maria didn’t get

what we had set as a goal. She and her employer agreed on an amount in the


Ongoing support



Maria drops by once in a while, when she needs some advice or just to chat about





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