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A great talk and a great workshop

Iquitos, Peru

Most of the work I have been doing here, at least so far, has involved field work. Lately David, a social worker that works with the program, and I have been visiting schools with populations at risk or already involved in sexual and labor exploitation, trying to get the teachers on board. Since they are our main points of approach for the children, because of the relationships that already exists, we depend on them a lot to get to the targeted population. Usually we explain what we do, what children we can help, how, and give them these cards to fill out so we can do a follow up and start the process. But this time the teachers actually spoke up. One of them said that, yeah, they all want to eradicate child labor, but that the social realities are different, and there is so much need that kids will have to work to help either their households or themselves as long as things don´t change.
It could have been a slap to the face.. "this is pointless!" Instead it turned into something amazing. A real dialogue began about the realities that exist and what can actually be done. I increasingly believe in what we´re doing, and it´s mostly because of the workshops we do for life skills. What I love is that we´re not just closing our eyes to the fact that, whether we want to see it or not, these kids will still need the money they get from their jobs, and taking them from their jobs altogether is not gonna work. Instead, we are giving them skills that help them to cope, so that they can get out of the situation they are in. We help them build up their self esteem, we show them how to resolve conflicts and other problems that might seem insurmountable. We give them the tools and, most importantly, the ability to see that they can be protagonists of their own history, that they can better their lives, and more than just monetarily.
I´m only now beggining to delve into these workshops, but they really seem amazing. They consists of twelve modules, each with an aim and different games or activities. It is nothing like a class; the activities are very dinamic and lively, teaching the kids through activities and examples. We build uo their self esteem, teach them the advantages of learning to communicate assertively, about their rights and duties. There is a part on sexual abuse and about being sexually active, about protection.. There is even stuff about gender and sexual orientation.

Working these modules, I´m learning probably just as much as the kids. It´s so interesting, fun, and helpful. I don´t know why it´s not one of those things that are required for every child.

Pictures coming soon... promise!!

permalink written by  poweroflove on May 21, 2008 from Iquitos, Peru
from the travel blog: PERU
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Cada vez q leo cada uno de tus parrafos me siento muy orgullosa de lo q escribes, lo q sientes, lo q has ido creciendo cada dia, lo q eres.

permalink written by  Sabrina Casadiego on May 21, 2008

pretty amazing stuff, Batman--keep it going.

permalink written by  Eric Selbin on May 21, 2008

I like very much your blog, you are creating bridges specially for us, to become children again and remember how to enjoy and be amazed with the small "big" thinks that life offers to us, ... and perhaps be able to use Pope John XXIII quote "Born poor, but of honored and humble people, I am particularly proud to die poor"

permalink written by  Carlos Parra on May 21, 2008

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