Volunteer support for kindergarten children from the rubbish dump
The day care centre is located adjacent to a rubbish dump in the north of Quito, approximately 30 minutes from where Monika, the Outreach International coordinator lives. The dump was previously a scavenging point for adults and children looking to sift the rubbish for saleable items, but now it is run by the local authority as a transit station for rubbish. The rubbish is dropped off, sifted manually for products that can be salvaged or recycled, and then taken away for permanent disposal.
The day care centre is located about 500 metres from the dump and its purpose is to provide a clean, safe environment for the children whose parents work nearby, collecting and sorting the rubbish.
If the day care centre was not there then the children would be left at home, either preventing the parents from working, or more likely being looked after by family friends or relatives.
The children receive three meals a day and benefit from the opportunity to have a good wash themselves, plus having their clothes cleaned. Where time allows they have recreational activities and basic lessons. They are looked after by just four staff, however, one of which is the cook, so it is not possible to give much attention to one activity or child, which is where volunteers can be a huge help.
The building was donated by the city of Quito, but the project relies on donations from a US charity organization. The building contains a kitchen and two large playrooms, which in turn are divided into areas to play, sleep and work. There is a separate building with toilets and a small yard with a few toys, plus a newly built small play area, over-looking the rubbish dump.
Through staff and volunteers they have the opportunity to play and develop, and receive a basic pre-school education that would otherwise be absent.
Suitable for volunteers wanting to gain experience working with children and gap year volunteers.
The volunteer role is working in the day care centre, caring for, playing with and teaching children aged 6 months – 3 years.Duties of preparing and serving the food, cleaning and washing the children and their clothes are also an inherent part of managing the centre, and it is hoped that volunteers will support all the activities of the local staff.
The project was set up to provide a clean, safe, stimulating environment for children while their parents worked. The centre is therefore open 8am to 5.30pm, with lunch being taken at the centre, which means a long day for all staff.
The volunteers improve the staff ratios significantly, offering the children more time and attention; time to play, have fun, develop and learn. Through practical activities such as teaching children to wash their hands and teeth, hygiene can be improved which further improves the quality of life.
Volunteers also provide a benefit to the stretched local staff, providing for an overall more positive environment, capable of doing much more.
Like many of our projects, the attention of international volunteers has a positive impact on the self-esteem of the children and learning some basic English helps.
What I’m beginning to accept and even enjoy, which is a huge step for a neurotic like me, is to go with the flow and not worry. Mañana., Career break, Ecuador