Apr 13, 2021

The best language course: Learning with children

The year 2021 has started in the best way in the Center Pinocchio! Lights on, doors open, the smell of freshly baked cake populated by faces and stories from many different countries: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Vietnam! In the office, the new coordinator and social worker, Mihai, is committed to promoting and supporting the activities of the center in the best possible way, to create a network on the territory, to strengthen relations with the families of the beneficiaries. In the kitchen every day Mihaela prepares hot and always different meals with her mother's hands, to feed the children who have just come out of school and the volunteers who are waiting for them to spend the afternoon together. After lunch, divided into groups, our volunteers together with Oana give support in carrying out the tasks and propose non-formal education activities to develop the creative potential of all the children present. Given the gaps accumulated during this year of pandemic for children who were unable to follow school consistently, it was decided to build a "special" program to recover the basics necessary for attendance and understanding of the lessons, made up of games and engaging activities to train the basics of writing, reading and math, cultivating the motivation to learn.
One of the volunteers present through the European Solidarity Corps program, Elena, decided to tell us about her experience of these first months of service, made up of surprises, great challenges, learning and new friends!

 

Buna ziua!

My name is Elena, I am from Berlin and four months ago I went to Romania to do a social voluntary project with children in Panciu, a small city in the eastern part of the country. Many people have been asking me „Why Romania?“ and I always thought to myself „Why not?“. The world is big and I want to see as much of it as possible! And it is true - ever since I left my country, I got to know a whole other world that I never could have imagined before. Being part of a project in an unknown context really made me get the feeling than I am more than a tourist and I want to share with you here what i mean!

The Center Pinocchio is a daily Center for children, most of them are part of the Roma community. After school, they come here and we have lunch together and help them with their homework. After this, we do creative activities or games outside, at one point we also did a treasure haunt through Panciu. For this, we hid small notes in different places, starting at the supermarket, and then proceeding at the pharmacy and the local Cafe – and in the end they recieved a price. So you see – we are trying to be creative!

On the one hand, we sure want them to have fun and be happy, but on the other hand, we also try to support their education. Many of them lack essential bases, like reading, writing and calculating with bigger numbers. But not because they are stupid or simply don‘t want to learn but because their school system does not provide enough help for them. Besides this, their family sitautions are often complicated, dealing with violence or alcohol problems – shortly: they often lack the needed support.

This is why we started with a special afternoon program where we seek to expand their bases. We try to keep everything non-formal in order for them to have fun and stay motivated. Even if this is not always easy - with the right methods we have already done a lot - and with the time I have become really creative! Once for example we did a game where they had to write letters using their butts or a big maths game where we hid the results for the different tasks all over in the room – so it stays exciting!

It is clear that the childrens‘ life will not change just because of an afternoon program done by volunteers but it is essential to ensure the basis in order to be able to do the fist step to break the circle. With some children that I have been doing plus and minus tasks regularly during the last weeks, I could already notice some progress and seeing the children so happy and proud was unbelievable and one of the most beautiful things I have experienced here so far.

For what concerns the language I have made the experience that there is no better way of learning than learning with children! As almost none of them speak english we have no other choice than doing everything in Romanian and by doing this, the progress comes very quickly. The most popular sentences are: „Nu vreau“ (I don‘t want to), „Nu mai vorbesc cu tine“ (I don’t talk to you any more“) but also „Te iubesc“ (I love you).

Of course, it is not always easy. Many things I imagined differently and sometimes I really feel the need to express myself better than I am able to. But I am so happy to be part of this project and I can feel myself growing from day to day. The love and affection you can give to the children and the amount of love they give back to you is incredible and provides you with the needed motivation - I will stay blessed!

I will go on hiding maths results and I am happy about new ideas for non-formal ways of leraning and teaching, so feel free to hit me up!

Until then, o zi frumoasa and la revedere! Have a nice day and see you soon!

 

Feb 1, 2021

Let's protect ourselves from Corona!

The “Tujikinge na Corona!” project was mainly implemented throughout June and July 2020 within both within the urban and the rural areas of the Iringa region, in Tanzania.

The main aim of the above-mentioned project was to broadly safeguard the Iringa district’s most vulnerable population, notably people with disabilities and/or people facing difficult socio-economic situations who were in need of an urgent preventive action intended for pre-empting the ongoing global pandemic caused by Covid-19.

Before the project's effective implementation, it was necessary to deliver several preliminary activities. On one hand, the preliminary activities encompassed the creation of previously adapted and translated COVID-19 informational and outreach materials such as flyers to be handed out to people and posters to be hanged. On the other hand, the aforementioned preparatory activities included a training course addressed to the experts forming part of the on-site work team. The training course dealt with macro themes such as the origin and the nature of Covid-19 virus, its modes of transmission, the proper behaviours to adopt, the disease’s symptoms, the related precautionary measures, the correct use of safety equipment, the rules of conduct to follow in case of infection.

Alongside the preparation activities, personal protective equipment to be distributed to the local population was purchased. The acquired personal equipment comprised disposable gloves, washable face masks, liquid soaps and hand sanitizer gels. The Tanzanian staff itself was provided with the previously outlined equipment.

As a result of the reopening of the local schools at all levels, dating back to the end of June 2020, and in accordance with a Department of Special Needs Education’s technical recommendation, IBO opted for directing its attention to the local inclusive primary schools of both urban and rural areas which were not provided with a sufficient amount of protection tools for the safeguard of students with and without disabilities.

The on-site both training activities and informational material distribution began on the 10th June 2020.

 

The urban area

IBO’s local work team, composed of Adam Dumam, a social worker and expert trainer, and Shakira Kiteve, an expert in disabilities, equipped with appropriate personal protection equipment, delivered 2 packs of disposable gloves (100 pieces), 6 packs of 500ml liquid soap, 4 washable face masks and 1 explanatory leaflet to each of the 40 children with disabilities and their collaborative families who take part in Nyumba Ali’s projects at its day-care centers. During the home visits, the experts informed both parents and children about the Covid-19 pandemic’s features resorting to the above-mentioned informational and outreach materials. In addition, the expert in disabilities taught them home rehabilitation exercises and cognitive activities when needed.

The total number of beneficiaries amounted to 224 people (104 M and 120 F) including 43 people with disabilities.

At the urban inclusive primary schools of Sabasaba, Mtwivila and Ipogolo, 58 reusable masks were delivered to their 29 teachers while 8 packs (128 pieces) of 500 ml liquid soap were delivered to 288 students with disabilities.

The total number of beneficiaries in schools amounted to 317 people.

 

The rural area

Adam Dumam, Shakira Kiteve together with Mussa Kibalabala, the project coordinator, and Yona Mwalongo, the driver, met 191 families in total, 68 at Kibaoni’s village, 67 at Kipera’s village and 56 at Isimani’s village.

Cooperating with Wilfred Mattu, the Department of Special Needs Education responsible for the rural area, and local government officials, who were remunerated on a daily basis, the experts organised collective meetings in the presence of one representative per family (15-20 people per group) around the villages. The experts informed each family about the Covid-19 pandemic’s characteristics using simple words, images and examples. In addition, they provided each family unit with 6 packs of 500ml liquid soap, 4 reusable face masks, 1 explanatory leaflet. Within these three villages which had previously been involved in other relevant IBO’s projects, 4 foot-operated hand-washing machines per village were located in highly frequented places with the aims of both preventing the spread of Covid-19 while promoting frequent handwashing and introducing a good hygiene practice to be maintained in the future. Moreover, 24 Covid-19 information posters were displayed within the villages.

764 people in total were reached by these activities.

Besides the primary schools of the three above-mentioned villages, the inclusive primary schools of Tanangozi, Kidamali and Mfyome were involved in the project too. In collaboration with Wilfred Mattu, the aforementioned work team formed by Adam Dumam, Mussa Kibalabala and Yona Mwalongo delivered a training course on the precautionary measures to adopt after the reopening of schools to 80 teachers (23 M and 57 F) of the 6 schools reached. The project team itself delivered 2 washable face masks and 2 packs of hand sanitizer to each teacher. In addition, the 6 principals were provided with 150 packs of 500ml liquid soap. The 40 students of the inclusive primary schools of Tanangozi, Kidamali and Mfyomewith were offered 2 reusable face masks and 2 packs of 500ml liquid soap per person. Moreover, each school was provided with an information poster and a 60 litres foot-operated hand-washing machine with double access to enable several students to wash their hands at the same time. The expected number of people who will benefit from the foot-operated hand-washing machines amounts to 7.600.

The overall number of students reached by these activities amounted to 4.284 (2236 M and 2048 F) while the total number of students with disabilities involved amounted to 155.

 

Additional activities

Furthermore, IBO provided other local organisations that deal with disabilities with the previously described protective equipment. The local organisations IBO helped were the above-mentioned Nyumba Ali association and the Shiviawata association which is composed of the disabled people's disabled representatives of Iringa.

 

Beneficiaries

The estimated total of beneficiaries reached by the project in its entirety amounts to 5.977 (639 inhabitants of the urban area and 5338 inhabitants of the rural area) including 656 people with disabilities.

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Jan 29, 2021

IBO's ongoing commitment continues agaist COVID-19

Hello,

I hope you and your family are well.

As you may know, Italy was the first European country to have been attacked by COVID-19 after China, before the virus spread throughout the world.

By the end of 2020, the number of reported cases of infections amounted to 2.107.166 while the victim’s number amounted to 74.159.

2021 began pretty well. The epidemic curve is decreasing, the vaccination plan was launched but the public attention remains high and even if the cases are currently fewer in number they are still copious.

Our everyday life was changed worldwide. We all wear facemasks and sanitizer is at hand.

We suffer from lack of socialization. We miss spending time together, reuniting with our friends and families, exchanging hugs and kisses.

For us Italians all this constitutes a great deprivation.

We are lucky since we have people waiting for us at home, people helping us with grocery shopping or going to the chemist’s on our behalf when we are in solitary confinement because we came into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

However, there are people who are not that lucky. Therefore, a few months ago IBO opted for the extension of its pilot project from the single italian region where it first was conducted to fifteen italian cities (Crotone, Napoli, Ferrara, Parma, Fidenza, Rimini, Piacenza, Roma, Milano, Torino, Bergamo, Bari, Catania, Pisa, Treviso). This above-mentioned project growth was delivered by IBO in collaboration with the Youth Department and the Department of Families.

IBO Italia and its institutional partners involved seventy eight young people aged 18 to 35 in six-months domestic care and assistance services for elderly people.

IBO Italia chose to extend its range of home services to the whole national territory, resorting to the national multimedia platform IBO created for the Emilia-Romagna region. The digital platform gathers all the information concerning home services, namely the delivery of essential goods including food products and medicines Municipalities and associations provide lonely people with.

Seventy eight young operators make themselves available to monitor the people’s state of need, to refer people in difficulty to the local competent authorities and to map the social realities, the Municipalities and the small commercial activities which provide home services. It will be possible to volunteer and in doing so to multiply the number of people at elderly people’s disposal in the different cities.

This whole thing represents a special experience to us. The Covid-19 situation is slowly improving but there is still a need for people like you who stand by our side.

Thank you for your closeness and for what you will be able to do in the future!

Linda

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