Friday, December 19, 2014

A ton of projects in community development!

Written by Judith Valdivia

Mallasa and Jupapina are small communities but with large movements within their populations. Throughout this time, we have developed different activities to benefit these communities or institutions within them. All these actions have been excellent spaces for cultural exchange between volunteers and community members. Below, I will give a review of all the projects that have been carried out. Volunteers from International Service and Upclose Bolivia have been working hard to make an impact and to leave behind products for the benefit of the communities.

The Valley of the Moon Community Children's Centre

Kids and Tia (educator) learning how to use the sensorial garden

This space was founded by mothers of the community to address the need for a safe place for families to leave their little ones. In this place, various interesting activities have been led by the volunteers. Among the most striking are the sensory spaces, consisting of the sensory garden where children can go to relax and watch the CD mobiles, listen to the birds eating from the feeders and smell the flowers that are in the process of growing. Then the children can make full use of their hands playing with the materials within the sensory space, like the plastic bottles, the things to build with and other toys that help the children's development. Another activity has been to teach children healthy eating through fun puppet shows. In these, the children were entertained watching as the chocolate villains and the sweets were destroyed by the tomato and lettuce heroes.

Albergue Transitorio - the Transitional Shelter

Murals with inspirational phrases, painted by volunteers and residents in the temporary children’s shelter

Another great project is the Albergue Transitorio – the temporary shelter - here they play host to children from 3 months to 17 years with difficult situations in their homes. Every Wednesday workshops are carried out here with different activities - those which have been most successful have been those involving the most manual activity, such as creating jewellery or planting seeds. This week, a great project closure activity was undertaken, with the painting of three murals with three inspirational quotes - this with the help of all the children at the hostel.

Fundacion Porvenir – equine therapy

During the building of the games in Fundacion Porvenir

One of the most interesting projects is the hipotherapy in the Fundacion Porvenir for children with disabilities. As closing activities, manuals of games were passed over for use in the participants’ homes - these will help children and families to share fun times at home, but also will help the development of children. Similarly, play equipment was built in the Foundation to also help with the children’s therapy.

English workshops

The display by the English students

The English workshop has been a grand space where the young people from Hermann Gmeiner School were able to improve their skills in English; this through fun classes that volunteers delivered every Tuesday and Thursday at this educational establishment. As a closing activity, students led two fairs where they showcased their knowledge in the English language. At the fair, they pretended to be tour guides who showed the most representative aspects of Bolivia.

Football classes

Group picture after the game in the last football class

About 25 children attend the football school. They are generally young kids from 3 to 11 years who attend this excellent space, where they play sport always within the framework of respect. As a closing activity, different volunteers were invited to play a few friendly matches with the children. As you might expect, the children beat the guests!

Nuestro Espacio – after school club

The kids decorating the plant pot after they ‘planted’ a value

Nuestro Espacio, ‘Our Space’, is an activity that takes place in the Educational Unit of Jupapina, in which children learn about values and issues of interest such as recycling, water conservation, loving the community. As a closing activity, the children had a Christmas party, where they took the opportunity to make Christmas decorations and to share a rich cake!


The kids having their faces painted like animals that they had chosen from the manual

And finally, there is the volunteer work that was undertaken in the zoo. In this, the volunteers worked hard to provide educational resources to raise awareness about how this institution is an animal shelter. Among these materials, they made puppet scripts, a face-painting manual (regarding animals in the zoo) and constructed a long jump pit that teaches you how far different animals can jump.


I am very happy to have been part of the community development team with Adriana, Kate, Hannah, Anya, Laura, Huw and Natasha – it has been a pleasure working with you.

Each of these projects is developed in a different place in Jupapina and Mallasa; all the neighbours are very happy to have been part of this work. Regarding the future, we see that this is a great, strong community sensitive to different situations of vulnerability amongst the population. Similarly, it is clear to see how it will always be in a process of development, since what you have in abundance amongst the residents of the community is an open mind and a sincere heart – and people who always give a smile and a greeting to those who pass by.

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