What do the children and their parents expect to gain from the classes?
They hope to improve their school performance and understand their teacher. Moreover, they hope to learn to be able to express themselves without worrying about what others may think of them.
The best we are able to offer the children is one-on-one care and attention. This is vital as they are unaccustomed to receiving individual treatment: in their family homes, their parents have many other concerns; and in their school, they must compete against 40 other students for their teacher’s attention.
Does our mere presence have a positive impact? Is the role of our volunteers to promote the importance of education?
Those who volunteer should know that our presence in itself is a demonstration of our commitment towards the children and their parents. It also shows that we have faith in them and believe in what they have achieved. This invaluable contribution helps generate self-confidence.
Is the role of the volunteer to teach or to motivate?
It is vital that our volunteers know that their ultimate task is not to teach school topics to the children. Rather, they should work to increase the childrens´self-respect. This will provide them with the self-belief that will enable them to gain the skills that they desire, should they so wish. We need to install in them the idea that they are just as important as any other child in the world.
Do the community centres carry out all their work efficiently?
Unlike schools and training centres, community centres have more than one sole activity. They aim to meet the needs of all the people and the neighbourhood simultaneously. (Be it lucrative projects; workshops for children, young people and adults; distributing food supplies; health and welfare issues; housing problems etc).
Furthermore, they do not have professionals at their disposition to carry out every task. They rely on the knowledge of volunteers and solve their problems using their limited resources.
Although this is an obvious disadvantage, it is not so easy to overcome. The centres take on more work than they can actually handle: consequently, they only complete around half of the tasks or problems that they had wanted to solve.
How can we make a positive contribution to the classes?
Unfortunately, the people we assist live in areas of endemic poverty, where only a select few will be able to study and really progress in their lives.
Nevertheless, if we provide them with hope they will pass this on to their children. Over the course of time, we will gradually be able to leave a trail of hope which will lead to new routes for future generations.