Thanks for your interest in visiting us here at Casa Segura! We look forward to seeing you!
Casa Segura is a home and a family, not an institution or business. Because of this philosophy, you will be received into the home and treated as a family visitor.
We ask that when you come to Casa Segura, you come with a heart open and willing to serve the needs of the children and the project. We also ask that you are able to identify with and support the vision and the core values of the project.
Opportunities to serve may include:
Assisting with homework
Special activities with the children
Gardening and property maintenance
We also hope that you are able to put to use any special skills or talents that you have, and we are open to discussing any activities or projects that you would like to undertake at the project or with the children.
When you arrive at Casa Segura, we will provide you with a private place to sleep, separate to the children. You will also be provided with all meals with the family during your stay. We do not ask for any payment, or expect any reimbursement for costs such as room and food.
Because we are a registered home for children, we must abide by certain and strict government and private policies in relation to child protection. As part of this, you must read and understand the policy documents that form part of this package, and are available on the Visitor Information Page of the website. These policies include:
Child Protection Policy
Indemnity Form and Waiver
Memorandum of Understanding
Please read these documents before you arrive. You will be asked on arrival to sign the documents with another staff member. We will also need to take a copy of your passport and have you complete a Visitor Details Form.
While this may seem like a lot of paperwork, we hope you can understand that it is for the protection of the project and our children.
We have many guests visiting us at Casa Segura, and we are often asked what gifts we suggest to bring for the children. While we appreciate the thought and generosity of our visitors, in an effort to avoid instilling a culture of expectation, and also to avoid gifts of items that are not needed or useful in our home and culture, we encourage you not to bring gifts with you. However, while you are here visiting with us, if you see a need that you wish to contribute to, or the children are lacking something that you wish to purchase, or you wish to treat the children to sweets or ice cream or something similar, we would be more than happy for you to do so.
Preparing for Your Arrival at Casa Segura
As stated above, you will be provided with a room and your meals while you are staying with us. However, all other travel costs associated with arriving at Casa Segura and leaving are your responsibility. We are able to welcome you and pick you up at the local airport, so please provide us with your incoming flight details when you have them finalised.
Other personal costs, spending money etc are also your own responsibility.
In some areas, it is not possible to use credit or travel cards for purchases, so be sure to check with your bank before you leave that you are able to use your bank cards in international ATMs to withdraw cash in the local currency.
We would recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy for your trip. You should check that you have an insurance policy that covers your luggage, important personal documents and any personal accidents or health problems. As you will read in the waiver document, Casa Segura will do all we can to help you in difficult circumstances, however we cannot take any responsibility for your personal health, any accidents or personal belongings.
Please ensure that you check what visas you require, if any, for your stay. This may differ depending on your country of nationality. Please also be sure to check on any visa or entry requirements and costs for transit stops.
The official language in most of South America is Spanish. In Bolivia, our Director is Australian and speaks Spanish and English, however, in Paraguay and Peru, while some of the staff are learning English, they will only be able to communicate in Spanish. Children love to teach their visitors little Spanish words and phrases, and are keen to learn words and phrases in other languages. Knowing or understanding Spanish is not a prerequisite to visit us, but please be aware that some people may find this language barrier especially difficult, especially for an extended visit.
Food & Diet
As mentioned above, you will be provided with all your meals while you are staying with us. The diet at Casa Segura is basic. Generally, meals consist of rice or pasta with meat, chicken or eggs. The limited availability and high costs of different foods can make catering for special diets, like vegetarian, vegan or gluten free, difficult. If you have any special diet needs, please talk to us about this before you arrive.
Please be sure to speak to your doctor before leaving regarding any travel vaccines that are necessary or recommended for your travel.
Stomach and intestinal infections are not uncommon, due to poorly kept or prepared foods and untreated water. Typhoid or salmonella is also a risk. These infections can cause discomfort, diarrhoea, vomiting or fevers. You can avoid these illnesses by drinking only bottled or filtered water and controlling your diet and the places that you choose to eat. We do our best at Casa Segura to ensure that our food is fresh and safely prepared, however westerners may be more susceptible to illness or infection because we have no built up defences against them.
Mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya are a risk across South America (though Paraguay has now been declared malaria-free). These illnesses can be serious, so please speak to your doctor about using an anti-malaria medication during your visit, and be sure to bring repellent. At Casa Segura, we make all efforts to control the mosquito population and prevent mosquito-borne disease, but it is also the personal responsibility of each individual. Treatment is readily available for some infections if you do become ill.
Climate and Geography
Riberalta is geographically located at approximately the same latitude as Cairns and Darwin. We have a tropical climate, hot and humid all year round. Wet season starts in November and runs through to April. During wet season, it rains nearly every day and constant cloud cover keeps the temperatures around 30 degrees with high humidity. Dry season runs May to October, and these days are generally hot and sunny with average temperatures around 38 degrees. Cold fronts lasting 3 or. days are common during winter and dry season, and the temperature can drop to around 15 degrees during the day with high winds.
Asunción is located in an area of Paraguay that experiences a humid, subtropical climate. Average temperatures in the summer months (November - January) remain around 30 degrees with high humidity, with winter averages around 17 degrees. While there is no specific rainy season, highest rainfall is experienced during the summer months.
Urubamba is located in the Cusco region of Peru, and is at an elevation of 2,800m. Due to the altitude, year round average maximum temperatures are 19 degrees, and temperatures in winter months (June-August) can fall as low as 5 degrees. Highest rainfall is experienced during October to March, but during the rest of the year, days are generally sunny and the driest months are June, July and August. You may find that at this elevation, mild altitude sickness can occur. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and dizziness. Symptoms are usually felt within the first 12 to 24 hours of arrival and tend to subside within a few days as you acclimatise. It is difficult to tell if you will be affected by altitude sickness, as some people can be more susceptible than others, regardless of gender, age or physical condition. If you are concerned about altitude sickness, be sure to speak to your doctor before leaving home.
All Casa Segura homes are located in more regional areas outside of larger cities. Insects and bugs are a constant presence. Snakes and spiders are also common. Aside from the bugs and mosquitos, generally, wildlife does not impact on day-to-life, but it is good to be prepared and aware.
A History of Casa Segura
Michael Henzell is a missionary initially sent from his local Church in Australia, Dayboro Christian Family Church (Australian Christian Churches). In 2001, GOD placed in his heart a dream and a very strong vision to go to Bolivia to open an Orphanage within the jungle region of the Amazon. After studying and receiving an Advanced Diploma of Pastoral Ministry and Christian Missions at “Strikeforce Ministry Training Institute” in Queensland, it was confirmed to him to GO to Bolivia and be part of a solution to a growing problem.
Michael arrived in Bolivia in 2003 and worked and lived in the city of La Paz for 2 years. In this time he gained experience and learnt a sufficient amount of the language to head to the Amazon and put the vision of GOD to work. During his time in La Paz he worked alongside a local Church “Ministerio Oasis” and was the Director of a house for boys of the street. At the same time, with a group from this Church, he continued to outreach and supply the basic needs to over 50 children still living in the street.
In 2005, Michael arrived in Riberalta, a rapidly growing town in the north-east corner of Bolivia, right in the middle of the Amazon Jungle. Since that time he has been working tirelessly to complete the vision that God has given him.
Michael's dream has become a reality in Casa Segura (which means 'Safe House'). The aim of Casa Segura is to provide orphans and abandoned children in Bolivia, and all over South America with the abundant life available through Jesus Christ. Children who live at Casa Segura are provided with a home and all their basic needs, receive an education that will lead to opportunities and hope for their future, and are guided in their emotional and spiritual development, all in the context of a family structure built on Godly principles.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves … Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:22, 27 NLT
To give the forgotten children of South America love, a family structure and hope for the future, that they might fulfil God’s destiny for their lives. Casa Segura exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational, social and spiritual needs of these children.
The core values of Casa Segura are summarised in 3 key areas:
Casa Segura provides children with an opportunity to grow up with the security and support of a family environment. A family atmosphere characterises the home, eliminating any sense or feeling of institutional living or organisational control. When a child arrives, they are accepted as part of the family and Casa Segura becomes their home. Just as in any other family, the child has rights and responsibilities, and is not expected to leave their home when they reach a certain age.
Christian Values & Spiritual Growth
One of the primary goals in raising children at Casa Segura is to instil within them moral and Christian values that will enable them to make positive and appropriate decisions and choices for the rest of their lives. Sound Christian values are demonstrated and taught at Casa Segura. The spiritual needs of each child are nurtured and all children are encouraged in their journey of faith, both individually and as a family.
Education & Work
All children at Casa Segura are given access to a school education and also provided with opportunities to train in various trades and develop life skills. Training in life skills and learning the importance of work around the home and outside, prepares children for their future life as adults. Through education and training, life opportunities for our children are broadened, and the cycle of poverty within a family is changed for the better.
Statement of Faith
As a Christian organisation, our mission and work is driven by God’s calling, His leading, and His Word. Our Christian values underpin all areas of the work of Casa Segura.
What We Believe
We believe that the Bible is God's Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our every day lives.
We believe in one eternal God who is the Creator of all things. He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is totally loving and completely holy.
We believe that sin has separated each of us from God and His purpose for our lives.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ as both God and man is the only One who can reconcile us to God. He lived a sinless and exemplary life, died on the cross in our place, and rose again to prove His victory and empower us for life.
We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the 'new birth' we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives.
We believe that when one repents of personal sin and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, that at the same moment, that person is justified, regenerated, adopted into the family of God and assured of personal salvation through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that water baptism by immersion is a sacrament of the church, commanded by our Lord and administered to believers. It is a symbol of the new covenant of grace. By means of this sacrament, believers declare their faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.
We believe that God has individually equipped us so that we can successfully achieve His purpose for our lives which is to worship God, fulfil our role in the Church and serve the community in which we live.
We believe that God wants to heal and transform us so that we can live healthy and prosperous lives in order to help others more effectively.
We believe that our eternal destination of either Heaven or hell is determined by our response to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back again as He promised.