Friday, August 9, 2013

Ozzy's Project Reflections

My experience of living and volunteering in Bolivia so far has been amazing.  From the culture and food, to the people I’ve met, I’ve found the country incredibly diverse.  The longer I’m here the more excited about the future prospects of my project, and all I still have to discover and learn about Bolivia.  

I have been working with children in one of Aldeas SOS´s centres in La Paz.  The centre uses the montesseri routine every morning, which encourages learning through play.  Initially I was slightly apprehensive about this approach to education and behavior management, but seeing the impact it has on the childrens development has proved to me how valuable and innovative it is as an approach to education.  
As well as providing a safe and stimulating environment for the children, the centre also provides the parents with affordable childcare while they work.  Childcare in Bolivia is expensive, costing on average around 600 Bolivianos monthly.  Aldeas Infantiles substantially subsidize this, meaning parents pay just 45 Bolivianos per month. This has an extremely positive impact on families and communities.

As well as the families and children benefitting from the centre, I have also really enjoyed working with the educators and young people. While my limited Spanish skills might make people assume the opposite; I feel I have been able to have a positive impact in the centre, using my knowledge of English to teach the children a different language, including greetings, colours and numbers. This has opened their horizons and provided a base for English. 

As well as supporting the children in the community, in the foreseeable future I will carry out parents evenings along with other volunteers to encourage mothers to be screened for diseases such as cervical cancer.  I look forward to supporting Aldeas Infantiles in a different way, and continuing to learn about the development of children, communities and Bolivia.

Written by Ashraf Mohammad-Usman
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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