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“We are giving a small house to the longest living sister in Bolivia, it’s a small contribution”
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales attended the event Sunday at which ‘Mama Julia’, thought to be the oldest woman in the world, was given a social housing unity free of charge. The president also announced the launching of a new housing program for single mothers.
Julia Flores Qolque, known as ‘Mama Julia’ is 118 years old, is an Indigenous woman originally from North Potosi, but is now living in the town of Sacaba in Cochabamba.
She has made headlines around the world for her longevity and jovial manner. Mama Julia has told international press that she does not eat rice or pasta, preferring traditional foods native to the Andes, such as corn and potatoes. She has also told the press that she never married and has long done "men's work" such as cutting wood.
“We are giving a small house to the longest living sister in Bolivia, it’s a small contribution," said Bolivia’s leftist president aduring his meeting with her.
Le agradecimos a “mamá” Julia por recibirnos junto a su familia, y le entregamos una vivienda para que pueda vivir dignamente. Ha sido una verdadera alegría verla tan fuerte y tocando su charango. pic.twitter.com/Rwg8D0gCMk
The house itself, built in her town of Sacaba, is 51 square meters, with two bedrooms and is fully furnished. Local media reported that it’s located close to a hospital if Mama Julia were to require medical assistance.
Reporters also said she was given the house because her previous residence was a make-shift home that was precariously built.
President Morales also used the occasion to launch a new social housing initiative, the project will be incorporated into the next budget and is set to give free housing to single mothers with more than two children, a demographic particularly vulnerable to falling into poverty.
In May 2019, the government announced that between 2006, when Evo Morales took office, and 2018, the government has given public housing to 151,058 families.
Such social spending is possible, the government argues, due to the country’s rapid economic growth that followed the end of the neoliberal period.
Bolivia currently has the fastest growing economies in the region, which analysts say is largely due to state-led investments made possible by the nationalization of natural resources and strategic industries.