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The hospital is extremely lacking in not only funding but also personnel, so the help of volunteers is extremely appreciated.
The main area that you will be working in is the “Ludoteca” or play area. The goal of the Ludoteca is to help children get better through play. Children who are well enough are allowed to go to the play area after the morning rounds to play games and carry out other recreational activities. They enjoy being able to go somewhere else and not be in their beds on the wards all day. They often visit the play room together with their parents, which allows the parents to relax and enjoy a positive moment with their children. You can join parents and children in their play, talk to parents (if they appreciate this) or play with children who come by themselves.
There are also children who are too sick to move from their beds, are on special wards or are not able to walk independently, so you will also be able to help by visiting these patients on the wards with another person from the hospital staff. In November 2013, our partner donated a play cart to the hospital to take up to the wards.
Your main task is to play, motivate and get to know these children, make them smile and make them forget about their worries. As some of these children are long-term patients at the hospital, they miss a large part of their school education. Volunteers are more than welcome to take the initiative to give English, mathematics or music lessons or any educational and recreational activity to the children and/or parents. This should always be done in a playful way so that children will be motivated to participate in the activities. Speak to the volunteer coordinator if you have some ideas.
If your level of Spanish is good enough, you can also participate in talking to the parents. Parents of the ill children often have more problems than their ill child. If parents appreciate it, you can talk to them and offer your support.
- Serving breakfast to group of parents in the morning.
- Taking note of which children visit the Ludoteca and writing down comments about the children and their well-being in the notebook.
- Organize activities such as theatre shows, hand puppets shows or other performances to entertain the children.
The more hard work you put into the project the more reward you get! Show initiative, work independently and don’t be afraid of working hard. They need all the help you can give them.