This kindergarten is part of a Community Center that helps the population of the area with various activities such as a kindergarten, a playground for the younger kids, afterschool support workshops, a vegetable garden to be tended by the children when they are old enough, and the soup kitchen that cooks for the kindergarten and the people from the neighborhood. Thus, this organization is based on working with families and children from first to seventh grade, supporting them in their growing and development process, with a team of professionals and social workers. The Community Center was founded in 1994 as a soup kitchen, and the kindergarten was started by the mothers from the area a few years later.
Why is this project important for the community?
The main goal of this Center is to offer the children's families a place of education and integral support, where they can find social and psychological benefits. It ultimately represents a way to compensate for the schools' weaknesses and the lack of investment from the Government to improve them. Those who belong to the organization understand that the work with children is not efficient if it doesn't start from the beginning, with the youngest children, and this is the kindergarten's task. It is also a place where the unemployed women from the area can have training sessions that take place periodically with professionals.
Role of the Volunteer
From 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, the kindergarten welcomes and educates the children from the area. The volunteer can do a multitude of things such as assist the teachers with organizing activities, play with the children, help to feed them during lunch time, help in the cleaning process and much more! The Kindergarten is a place of exchange between teachers, social workers, parents and volunteers from the area, as well as from Voluntario Global. They all work together for the safe upbringing of the children and this gives the international volunteers a unique opportunity for learning about this perspective and exchanging valuable experiences.
What can you learn as a volunteer?
The help of the volunteer is invaluable for the teachers and for the population of the area because it represents both a practical support and cultural exchange. In this area where a variety of cultural communities live together, the volunteer learns about social diversity. Moreover, they can exchange with the local inhabitants about teaching methods and share their own experience and ideas to improve the organization of the kindergarten. These different viewpoints represent a wealth for this place and all initiatives are well received. This project is perfect to benefit from the company of children, who always have energy and whose smiles make us happy every day.
How does your work impact on the community?
The support from social organizations and volunteers is fundamental in this neighborhood, mainly because its precarious situation affects families that need to face a lack of infrastructures and serious problems of public sanitation. Indeed, many families live in houses where they have problems with light and where they don't have running water or a drainage system, in an area which has huge weaknesses in terms of sewer systems and road pavements. Also, it is located near a river which is highly contaminated by the chemicals released by nearby factories, and this generates respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases that mainly affect the children. Although faced with this situation, people don't receive help from the government to improve their standards of living that are now disadvantage and harmful to their health. There are some housing construction projects in the works but they are slow-coming and displacing the inhabitants that are the most affected by the contamination of the river. In addition to this precariousness, today, ambulances refuse to come into the area. Therefore, having volunteers coming to help them and wanting to learn from them and share time with them is crucially important for making them visible and appreciated in today’s society.
The Center is open from Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. Volunteers will be assigned a specific schedule according to the Center’s needs.
Like most educational programs, the Center remains close during summer break in Argentina, that is from mid-December till March. And there is also a 2 week winter break in the month of July.
The Center is located in Barracas, about 40-minute far from the center of Buenos Aires and accessible by bus.
1. Valid Passport & Visa: Most travelers do not need a visa to enter Argentina. Volunteers enter the country as tourists and can stay for up to 90 days. Extensions on your stay are possible; our coordinators will advise you on this process.
2. Medical Insurance: Voluntario Global requires the volunteer to have adequate medical insurance for the duration of the program and must be provided with details of such insurance coverage at the time of confirming their placement.
3. Spanish Level Required: Basic
4. Minimum Stay: 2 weeks