Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nikhil's reflections on volunteering with Aldeas Infantiles SOS

Aldeas Infantiles SOS, meaning “Little Villages”, is an organisation that supports children to grow and thrive in a safe and inclusive environment.   One of the ways in which they do this is through their Ludoteca programme, which I recently begun volunteering with. 

The Ludoteca programme uses the Montessori method, which encourages learning through play.  This method of teaching allows children to grow as independent people, giving them freedom within limits to exercise their capabilities. As is usual with any infant, these limits are often tested!  Fellow volunteer Lawrence Barraclough and I have found it challenged getting used to this style of education, but equally we've seen how rewarding it can be witnessing a child taking the initiative to learn something new with your guidance.   

One of the highlights of the programme is working with 'Madres' [mothers], a lovely group of teachers who dedicate their time to helping the children grow.  From teaching them nursery rhymes to cooking their food, they monitor and facilitate the progress of all the children.  I can’t begin to imagine how hard they’ve worked to maintain the centers whilst  looking after the children, whose energy know no bounds! Despite their challenging role, their warm welcomes never seem to falter, and they’ve even gone so far as to accommodate my decision not to eat beef with a whole new meal choice!  

Having now volunteered with our respective centers for a full week, all 6 of us have a clear idea of what we’d like to do to compliment the work done by the Madres. Over the next few weeks we will get to know the centres, the staff, the routines and, most importantly, the children, who always relish the opportunity to exercise not only their minds, but also their mouths when the time arrives for Almuerzo! Already, the opportunity to work with these children alongside such an important organisation has invigorated us and left us all with a plethora of ideas, ranging from recycling workshops to a giant, painted world map, incorporating both parents and children wherever we can. So, in light of our ideas and enthusiasm as one big team I’d like to say: Watch this space!

 Written by Nikhil Vyas
Edited by Sarah Cassidy

 To find out about International Service's ICS projects and stay up to date with our latest activities, please visit our blogs and 'like' our facebook page:
UpClose Bolivia
ChildFund - Encounter of the Youth's Generation
 Aldeas Infantiles - Entrepreneurial Education
International Citizen Service - Bolivia Facebook page


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  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences on your blog, the posts have been really insightful. We will look forward to seeing the progress you are making on the different strands of your projects; particularly comparing your world map with the map on the York office wall!!

    Best Wishes,

    York Team