Volunteer opportunity posted by: Otra Cosa Network
Posted on: November 19, 2012
Here in Peru, most children with special needs (those who are physically or mentally less able) do not get the attention or support they need. Many of these kids are kept at home as their parents are ashamed of them or think it is a waste of time sending them to school. If they do go to a normal school it is common that they lack the support they need so they fall behind and drop out early. Thus, the disadvantages these children face are compounded from the very start of their school career - their abilities and self-confidence fail to develop, they end up unable to cope with life adequately and do not achieve their potential or feel good about themselves.
In one of the poorer areas of Trujillo, a local group with some church support have founded Santo Toribio, a school for special needs children. It adopts an alternative, practical led approach to education. Alongside teaching the basics of reading, writing and numbers etc., they have 'master bakers' and 'master shoemakers' etc. to teach the children practical skills and enable them to become more self-reliant. Through this, their capabilities and self-confidence improve and almost all end up with some type of job in the local area. This really can transform the life chances of these less able children in this poorer area. The school has a very limited budget though, and desperately needs volunteers to enable it to continue.
It is not always easy working with these kids, so you do need some prior experience of working with children in some way, as well as a real empathy for the project objectives, and a willingness to travel daily to a poorer area on the far side of Trujillo.
However if you are capable and willing, it can be very rewarding to see these kids getting a chance and improving their capabilities day by day.
Volunteer Roles/Working Hours
There are currently around 150 children registered at Santo Toribio, taught in 16 classrooms. The project allows for between 10 and 15 volunteers at any one time, so there is a real buzz at the school and always plenty going on. A position with Santo Toribio favours early birds as you will be required to work Monday- Friday from 8a.m.-12noon.
Volunteers at Santo Toribio can expect to be involved in the following roles:
Please visit our website to apply: http://otracosa.org/apply-now.html
For further information about the program, please visit: http://otracosa.org/browseallprojects/item/187-teaching-assistant-at-a-school-for-special-needs-children.html