Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Diario de fotos

Now in Week 8 of our eleven-week placement the Aldeas Infantiles SOS project is in full swing. The work within our project is so varied that there is never a typical day or even a typical week for our team, which consists of; four volunteers, Lindsay, Issy, Rachel & Ruth, two cooperantes, Debbie & Favio, and our team leader, Desi. We hope this photo diary gives you just a taste of all the goings-on within our project team.

We spend three mornings a week at various childrens centres across the city. Here is volunteer Issy teaching children about colours and shapes. The Montessori Method, which focusses on learning through play, is the preferred pedagogical approach in Bolivian early education.
Varied teaching and lesson styles are important to keep the children stimulated and engaged. Here are Lindsay and Issy taking a lesson outdoors.
On the 1st of May Bolivia celebrated Dia del Trabajo (Worker's Day). The volunteers prepared a lesson to teach children about different occupations and encouraged them to think about what they wanted to do when they were older. The children were excited to tell us about what their parents' do for a living, and many of the children aspire to become teachers, policemen and doctors in the future.
Sometimes the children get a little over excited to see us in the mornings. Rachel is under there somewhere!
They soon calm down to begin their lessons, but there is never a dull moment and there is always a child wriggling around somewhere!
Working in the childrens centres allows us to get to know areas of La Paz that most visitors from the UK would never see. Working with the children and educators in the centres is an excellent way to create links and relationships with the families and communities.
As a result of building relationships with parents of the children and other community members we are able to host workshops with the aim of strengthening and empowering families. Here are Favio, Lindsay and Issy delivering a workshop about nutrition and health at the centre in Santiago de Lacaya.
Another of the workshops we have delivered focusses on family finances and budgeting. It became apparent that many mothers have no method of keeping track of their finances and are struggling to make the most of their money as a result. Here are volunteers Ruth and Rachel distributing some blank sample monthly budget sheets to mothers at a workshop at Portada Triangular.
Meeting the parents and grandparents of the children gives us the opportunity to find out more about each family's circumstances and what their needs are. This is invaluable for our progress and allows to us to expand and improve the content of our workshops based on what we learn from the community.
Much of our work is research based and we spend several afternoons a week in the office investigating various areas of Bolivian culture and society. Pictured above are Ruth and Desi busy reading during a working lunch at Virgen de los Deseos, the restaurant run by Mujeres Creando, an anarcha-feminist group in La Paz.
In addition to our project work we also take part in Guided Learning which gives the ICS volunteers the chance to present on various themes relating to development and consider the wider socio-political context and impact of the work we are doing. Our session looked at the issue of the Root Causes of Poverty and Inequality and involved all of the volunteers participating in a game of Inequality Monopoly.
Another aspect of our work is a weekly visit to the cancer ward at the Hospital del Niños in Miraflores. Each Thursday afternoon the team arrive armed with colouring-in worksheets, dot-to-dots, word searches and other numeracy and literacy related tasks in an effort to create a stimulating environment in the ward for the children during their stay in hospital.

The Aldeas Infantiles SOS are always busy with the various aspects of the project. Preparing for lessons, workshops and the children's hospital can be hard work but it is all worth it when we see positive results in the children and their families.

Written by Ruth Clark
Edited by Desirée Benson

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