Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kendal's Post In English, Children and Youth Empowerment Project International Service Bolivia.

Kendall´s Blog – Childhood and Youth Empowerment.


During my time in Bolivia I along with my team have worked with Child Fund in various centers around La Paz to help educate young children who have school in the morning but usually stay in the house pr work in the afternoons and give them educational support.

The project that I am part of in the Las Lomas center aims to educate children in different age groups from babies to teenagers about nutrition and sport. Teaching the children about these subjects is important as the children -and some of their parents- will not know much about having a balanced and healthy diet and keeping fit. Myself, my fellow UK volunteer whom I work with, Liam and our cooperate, Adrianna decided that in order to get the importance of nutrition across to the younger children who most likely wouldn´t sit and listen if we just told them everything and just expected them to take it all in. So, we decided that we should do a puppet show in which the characters are fruit and vegetables.

I was in charge of the scripts which were difficult at first because we had to include culture of peace values such as respect for life, ending of violence, human rights and lots more while keeping the storyline child appropriate. Also writing about fruit and vegetables that go to high school and deal with bullying, school work and things that teenagers deal with seems a little silly at first. I eventually produced some okay scripts with the needed values included while keeping the storyline kid friendly with some added humor and lighter values such as friendship and family though I would say that three out of five of the scripts did focus on different types of bullying or violence and I should have used each of those themes once and then moved on.

That being said the children did enjoy the puppet shows and I feel it was a fun way to educate them especially since we had each of the characters at the end of each puppet show talk about how they´re good for the body and ask the children questions such as what they know about that specific fruit or vegetable and what they would eat it with.

For the older children we choose to have activities and games to see how much they know about keeping healthy and finding out what they like to eat for each meal. But we did take a different approach by telling them about different nutrition values and showing them the nutrition triangle as we felt they would be too old of the puppet show and they can concentrate for a lot longer and the information that we give them they´re more likely to tell younger family members and even the younger children at the center about what´s good for you and what isn´t good for you.

For the sports element of our project with the younger children we had them draw their favourite sports and they had to tell us why it was their favourite. Also we taught them some martial arts moves to the song ´Kung Fu Fighting´ and we had written a song about fruits and vegetables with a dance routine to go with it which we taught the kids during every session so that they would know it by heart for the main event. The older kids were asked to research sports person and find out what they eat and drink to stay fit and healthy for the sport that they do and we researched two Bolivian and two UK sports people as examples for them. They were also asked to help us plan for the sports day too. They let us know what sports and games they would like to do and what snacks they would like as well.

In the beginning weeks in which we planned everything out that we wanted to do in the centers and what we would do for each age group we decided that we would have a sports day in which we called: ´The Hungry Games´. which was a joke at first but we decided to keep the title. The sports day would include a football game that the kids can play together with some other typical sports day games such as ´The egg and spoon race´ and ´The three legged race´. Also, to include the nutrition part we decide that we would have the kids decide what healthy snacks they would want on the day of the event.

What I found interesting while working with the kids is how eager they are to learn everything we have been teaching them, especially if they don´t know much about the subject and if it is presented in a fun way. I feel that people who live in much more ´developed’ countries take education for granted and it was nice to see them appreciate what we were doing and hopefully they have taken it all in and can tell their families and other kids at the centers and their schools what we´re telling them.

During my time working in Bolivia I have learnt a lot about the culture, the people and how our contribute as volunteers has an impact and how it will keep having and I think that the experience will motivate us to keep contributing when we do return to the UK.

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