Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Zebra Safari gets of to an interesting start.

At Alalay Foundation. Children in street situation Training.
The first three weeks have whizzed by, we’ve been thrown head-first into our projects and it’s been the most exciting time. Working with the Zebras our work has been slightly more disjointed than other teams, as our partner the DCC, has been very busy facing numerous important politic situations. However we have found other fantastic organisations to help; Fundacion Arco Iris and Alalay. With these partners we will be working with young people and children, giving workshops on a variety of subjects.

Alalay's Villages 
Alalay is an organisation working with street children aged 3+, helping them have a normal childhood, and build skills to help them find work later in life. We’ve been developing workshops about human rights, art, sport, self esteem and noise pollution to use with the 10-15 year olds. It’s been challenging, especially as none of us have extensive experience working with children, let alone children from such complex backgrounds. However, we are very happy with what we have produced and really hope that it will be enjoyable and informative for them. It’s exciting to work on something that will have direct recipients and beneficiaries. We have also been developing workshops to work with the four Arco Iris centres in La Paz, however the audience varies hugely from centre to centre, two work with boys from deprived and homeless backgrounds, one works with girls also from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the last is a refuge for teenage mothers. We’ve adapted the workshops for each groups, and I cannot wait to see the results.

The entire Team at Alalay's Villages

Children steps at Alalay's Villages

These weeks have made me realise that development work is so much more than building hospitals and delivering care packages. Bolivia is a country of huge economic disparity, my host family live in a spacious apartment in an affluent area of the capital city and have most luxuries we have at home, wifi, televisions, central heating, yet there is no social services equivalent, no free basic healthcare, and the poorly performing state schools are outnumbered by fee-paying schools. Much of the work we do is not life or death, it is helping the people that have no safety net to fall on when bad times hit, or enforcing the less noted human rights; the right to rest and relaxation, the right to feel safe, the right to play and socialise. It is these issues that I feel we take for granted in the developed world, even more so than basic human needs such as food and water. Although it will be hard to see the long term impact on the children and young people we will be giving these workshops to, for us it will be so rewarding to know that we’ve given these people a fun, constructive use of their time, something that so many of them are lacking as there simply are not the resources in their centres for anything but the basics. I also know that I and the rest of the team are working our hardest to make sure that these workshops are so much more than that, we want to give these young people more belief in themselves, and more confidence in the world around them.

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