As you may or may not know, at the moment myself, Sarah, Sinead and Beth are away on our travels. At present we´re in Bolivia, Sucra where among other things we´re volunteering at a local nursery. The nursery is set on the edge of town, in a poorer part of the city - this was particularly telling when we went to the nursery for the first time.
At the nursery each day a small group of amazing Bolivian ladies dedicate their time (from 8am-4pm) to caring for, feeding, entertaining and either prepping for afternoon school or putting to bed around 25 children. Parents of the children pay 3 British pounds a month to cover the cost for food - other than ths cost it is entirely free. Wages for the helping female staff are paid by the government, however they amount to little more than an average 50 British pounds a month, which even at a stretch fails to cover the basics at home, let alone the nursery. Beyond these two incoming figures and the government covering land costs and bill payment for gas and electricity, all other contributions are non existent...
As a result of this situation, the bare necessities that a nursery SHOULD have are simply not there. Very little toys, no further equipment, old colouring books and pencils worn down to the nub. Older children are late for afternoon school because there is no clock - not a massive issue but it highlights the point of poverty. Windows are broken, and serve as a massive hazard to children. Toilets are left blocked for well I don´t know how long - when we came to the nursery they asked how to unblock a toilet and that there is no toilet roll, we advised with a plunger and duly made sure they had one with toilet roll the next day. They had no cleaning materials with which to make surfaces germ free. In a small environment where 25 children and a small number of adults share each others company daily, without proper cleaning materials illness is rife and uncontainable. To quote one of the staff members "when someone is ill, we´re all ill". What makes the situation worse is something that was revealed to us on the first day is the site is located next to a rubbish site - this site is directly accessible from the nursery, there is no security wall or fence to prevent this. When we led the children outside to play, 10 of the children made their way onto this site to find toys, old deodarant cans became imaginary perfumes, egg shell containers became hats or mock building blocks for a house and metal piping acted as guns in the mind of a 3 year old boy. Thankfully we contained the situation, but understaffing prolonged this situation for longer than it needed to go on for. Something tells me this happens a lot, the children were quite settled on the rubbish site and accustomed to looking through rubbish, and something tells me had the volunteers not been there the situation might have continued for much longer. Please don´t overlook the fact either that these children aren´t innoculated against the things that we or our children or nieces and nephews are guarded against. 20 minutes on a rubbish site, with skin exposed and things like needles, rusted metal and old bottles, are enough to introduce a life-long or fatal illness to these kids.
I could go on listing all the further problems with this nursery, but I think the point is clear, would you be happy for your child to be in this environment for up to 8 hours a day? And will you be so kind as donate a small amount to make a massive difference to the wellbeing and happiness of the children and staff. Given the figures above, you can envisage that a 5 pound donation will have a huge affect and will help to ensure these kids can enjoy a good start to life. Any donations you make will go directly to this nursery and 2 others without intervention or any overhead costs that often get sucked up in charities.
They have no outside support, so really it is down to us and our efforts. We really appreciate your time reading this. Please donate via this page if you can. PLEASE SUBMIT DONATION INCURRING FEES YOUR END IF YOU CAN.
Many thanks from us all!