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Educational solidarity trips: 8 keys to understanding them

Educational solidarity trips: 8 keys to understanding them

Yolanda in the Iquitos project
Yolanda in the Iquitos project.

What does it mean for boys and girls from a country of the South that people from various parts of the planet collaborate with them? What do they learn from the volunteers? How do goodbyes affect you? The coordinators of the NGOs of Iquitos (Peru), mombassa (Kenya) and Bali (Indonesia), Tumaini collaborators, answer our questions.

1. An opportunity to see the world

Andrea and Pía, coordinators of the Iquitos NGO, are clear about it: “the arrival of volunteers for minors is an opportunity to see the world. Living with people from other countries is a cultural enrichment incredible!".

“The little ones see the volunteers as new friends. They love discovering the similarities and differences between their lives and those of people who come from other parts of the world,” adds Nicole, from the Indonesian project. “Besides, they are also a drive to achieve their educational goals, which is the main mission of our project”.

2. Cultural exchange

For Henry, from the Mombasa project, solidarity trips create positive curiosity in children. “Learn words in other languages (English, French and German), new songs, poems, flavors, etc. create in these boys and girls a positive attitude of learning and sharing. They learn to appreciate the customs of other people,” he explains.

Boys and girls in the Indonesian NGO
Boys and girls in the Bali NGO.

3. Shared dreams

“Through the interaction with volunteers, the little ones learn that their dreams of graduating from high school or going to university do not depend on the country where they live or their circumstances. Now, his dreams are shared by other people from around the planet.. And they are just as valuable as anyone else's. The international volunteers inspire the little ones to continue fighting and put aside their prejudices about themselves”, explains Nicole, coordinator of the Bali NGO.

4. An exciting experience

“The boys and girls in Iquitos are always waiting for the arrival of the volunteers! They are excited to see people come to town to share things with them. In the little school we open a space for them to ask them everything they want to know about them. It is a beautiful moment!”, explain Andrea and Pía from Iquitos.

Little school in Kenya.
Little school in Kenya. 

5. The farewell

When we asked the three projects what negative aspects educational solidarity trips could have, they agreed: "if the person stays for a short time, the farewell can be emotionally hard on children”, explains Henry, from the Mombasa project.

6. The key: foresight and local staff

Preventing these inconveniences in the smallest is essential for NGOs. In Indonesia, for example, it is very important to note that the project has local staff working on the project for years. In this way, the children can find stable support in them”, says Nicole.

In our NGO, we try to get volunteers to distribute as much as possible between the different work areas on a rotating basis, to mitigate that they become too attached to a particular volunteer”, explains Henry.

“In Iquitos, we do farewells at the little school, creating atmospheres of celebration and joy,” Pía and Andrea explain. "Thus, we make everyone see that the farewell is a beautiful moment to celebrate and thank all the teachings that the volunteers leave us”, they add.

Yolanda with the kids from Iquitos.
Yolanda with the kids from Iquitos.

7. His voice reaches further

Educational solidarity trips are a learning and awareness experience. For this reason, Nicole, from the Bali NGO, affirms: “our mission is also to educate volunteers about the reality of children and their communities, society, etc. We believe that the best way to help is invite people to see first-hand the obstacles our boys and girls face, and then share it with their environment”.

8. The journey is only the beginning

“Once back in their cities, the people who have collaborated with our NGO can tell their closest people about their experience. And also, they go one step further: mobilize them to raise funds for the project, to continue helping the boys and girls they have met here”, explains Nicole from Bali.

This is common in all projects: people come back wanting to continue collaborating with the boys and girls who have taught them so much.

Boys and girls in computer classes in Bali (Indonesia).

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