Casa de la Alegria
Casa de la Alegría literally translates to House of Joy, and it implies happiness and pride! We are a young organization that aims to stimulate and encourage children and teenagers in Cochabamba, Bolivia to become proud. We do this by offering workshops in which we help them develop their social-emotional skills. Among other things, we help them deal with traumas and aggression and teach them about sexual education, but we also teach them to have fun and trust each other, helping them to become stronger and more independent in the future. Furthermore, we think it is very important that the kids discover and develop their talents, as this will make them both emotionally and financially more self-sufficient, and thus less dependent on both us and the people around them.
Our mission is to help children and teenagers in Cochabamba develop the social and emotional skills they need, as many of them do not learn these at home. In practice, this means teaching them how to deal with emotions, like aggression and mistrust, in a more constructive way and helping them develop a more positive self-image. It also means helping them discover their talents, and preparing them for a more confident and independent future.
Because we have a background in anthropology and development studies, we think it is of crucial importance that the aid we offer matches the local reality. Very often, Western ideas about development aid are implemented on Non-Western circumstances without a second thought, and as a consequence are not nearly as effective as they could have been. This is why it is important to us that the aid we give is led by local ideas, concerning both the kind of help that is needed and the best ways to implement it. In many cases local people have a lot of relevant knowledge and experience, and with a little bit of help, can achieve much on their own.
Making sure our work is effective in the long term is very important to us. We want to make sure that in the short time we work with these children, they learn skills that will help them in the rest of their lives, without making them dependent on our aid. This is why our main goal is to teach the kids skills that will make them emotionally stronger, more independent and self-sufficient. In this way they can build a better life for themselves, and pass on the skills they have learned to their family and others around them.
Another important issue is the sustainability within the organisation itself. For example, we have chosen to hire a local teacher in Bolivia to whom we pay a (locally based) salary, instead of working with Dutch interns that will only stay for a few months, don’t know the language and culture, and do not have the necessary knowledge and experience. In this way we make sure there is continuity, both for the children and the organisation, and it enables us to work on long term goals. When we do work with interns or volunteers from the Netherlands, we choose people who have a lot of knowledge and experience in their field. Also, the most important goal of their time in Bolivia is not working with the children, but the exchange of information and knowledge with the teachers and coordinator, to further the long term development of the foundation. Most of the goals we want to achieve are long term goals. This means that it can take a long time to see results, but that the effects are more lasting . We believe it is important to teach the kids skills that will not only help them right now, but that will help them in the rest of their lives.
HR Assistent in Cochabamba, Bolivia (Volunteer Opportunity)