Support to the Center Virgen Nina

Project location: BOLIVIA, El Alto
Project start date: December 2009 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2008-36
Beneficiary: AssociaciĆ²n XXI

Final report
Timeline: 2012-2014

The Association developed four social projects:

            1. Education Department: Special Education School.

            2. Education Department: Child Development Program

            3. Health Area: Multidisciplinary Team

            4. Social Area: Family & Community

            Community Dining Hall.

1. Educational Field

The Alternative Education Center of Special Education (CEAEE) at the Center "Virgen Niña EPDB".

In the period covered by this report, and in accordance with the overall goal of special education, the care provided by the Center to children with disabilities focused on therapies and educational programs contributing to their overall development.
At the end of the year 2013 it was done the evaluation of results achieved in each child in the Center, the same as was achieved in individualized instruction.
These evaluations were made with the participation of the multidisciplinary team, proceeding to the delivery of reports to all parents and mothers, regarding progress reached by each of the boys and girls, which is done with an interview to the family with all the multidisciplinary team, this team makes recommendations on the tracking in homes, in both psychomotor, intellectual attention and food.
This work also sets the actions to take in the following administration related with strategies in terms of both educational intervention and habilitation and rehabilitation.
The groups assisted in the current year by the Center were physical disability, multiple disabilities, intellectual disability, sensory impairment (deaf), autism and learning difficulties.
The project resulted in the following achievements by the end of 2013:

Nine kids graduated from the special schools, older teens to 13 years old with intellectual disabilities, they move to other projects working in technical training and Special Education Centers as "SANTA MARIA DE LOS ANGELES," "CEREFE" Y "SAN MARTIN DE PORRES "accompanied by the area of Family and Community, to facilitate this transition.
The process that families should follow it starts with social work where data is requested to families as: the family group, family dynamics (which activities  are performed by each member of the family), search some problems for which they are passing through, so,  a social diagnosis is made and some suggestions for supporting families as home visits and training are given.
After that, the boys and girls and their families go to the medical area, where they are measured: the Center takes weight, height and a whole medical examination of the kids. All health reports or studies that had been conducted are analyzed with other professionals, the ones that do not belong to the center such as neurology, orthopedics, among others, these reports are in the file of each of the boys and girls that was evaluated.
Then, other type of evaluations are done like:   psychological assessments, speech therapy, physiotherapy, nutrition and education, in order to see the level at which the boy/girl are in that moment,   and subsequently the information is consensual by an interdisciplinary team and is defined which classroom that kid should enter, so they can receive the supports needed in education, in the field of health and family.
The children already enrolled pass to the next grade with automatic enrollment process for the next year, but previously the reports and assessments that indicate progress are analyzed.
For the year 2014, the Center has 180 children registered.
This child population, receives from the Center support in the educational area from 8:30 to 13:00 hours, they are given the five daily meals, ensuring good nutrition and requirements according to their nutritional status, then until 16:30 hours the children  participate in Workshops for their personal  training.
The Center has a folder of applicants waiting for new evaluations of 58 cases which are not possible to care because the teachers are not enough and there are no new spaces.
In order to reach this population, the Center has opened the psychomotor room, which is providing support to families in regard to therapies early stimulation, these are sessions in which a family member is invited to be trained in the care of their child and they can also make the support from their home, thus these actions will provide a better quality of life for these children under the slogan "for a decent life, life prepared”.

During 2013, the Center has taken the first steps in terms of activities in workshops aimed at strengthening the skills and abilities in our boys and girls, directed these to get started on a definition of skills, so they can throughout their training an optional occupation and allow them some independence in their daily lives according to their possibilities.
These workshops have been prepared with greater emphasis for year 2014, currently the Center has the following workshops, which work in the afternoon:

·         Music Workshop - This workshop uses percussion and rhythm as therapy for children with special needs in order to improve motor, physical and emotional processes of children and promote their psychomotor development. Music enriches the lives of all people, helps every human being, so it is necessary to surround the child with a rich musical environment, controlled stimuli, since this sensory experience is what is going to provide emotional, psycho physiological and social balance.

·         Psychomotor Workshop - Psychomotor is a technique that, through physical exercises, tries to promote, establish and/or re-educate the whole person, aspects like motor, cognitive and affective. Through psychomotor the Center intended that the child, while having fun, develop and refine all basic and specific motor skills, enhances socializing with people their own age and fosters creativity, concentration and relaxation.

·         School Support Workshop - psycho - This workshop seeks to create tools for educational inclusion for boys and girls, taking part in the special needs of each. The Center also provides support to boys and girls who follow the regular school facilitating their integration into their everyday environment

·         Shop early learning - implementing this workshop is considered important that the community still demand this service; many children who require this intervention exist. The aim is to raise the awareness of families, knowledge of certain practices that help their children inside their homes with the stimulation of the areas of development, giving way to achieve quality of life in the center and the households with the full participation of family members.

·         Art workshop, painting and dance - Art therapy involves using artistic methods as therapeutic tools and proven to be an effective method of therapy for children with special needs.

·         Workshop of pets therapy with dogs - With the support of the dogs school's training of the Bolivian National Police and a professional in psychology from the same institution, there has been signed an agreement by which children have therapies assisted with dogs, this method is useful in the treatment of children with motor and cognitive problems, such as autism and Down syndrome. The purpose is to help awaken their senses, creating an environment rich in stimuli, which increase their skills and potential.

·         Computer Workshop - This workshop is designed for both groups of children:  children of Child Development and Special Education, whereas access to educational computing as a tool allows to develop special educational capabilities through its implementation.

For these workshops the Association hired 10 specialized teachers.

In order to finalize this administration the Center has outlined a plan to support children who leave the center, enhancing their skills and especially outlining his attendance at other institutions which can provide continuity with the achievements that the Center has been established in their training children. The Center wants to ensure that children who have been graduated are accompanied by educational strategies, the necessary care that must be provided within families and especially a profile of skills that can generate training for their future tentative occupations.

·      The bakery workshop began its job with great expectations and enthusiasm among children, achieving generate interest in this workshop, which will provide tools directed toward specialization in this occupation.

It was possible to sign agreements with educational institutions and technical training in the areas of bakery, jewelry, crafts (making cards by hand) and other occupations.

Inclusive Education for children with Disabilities

The work at the Center is governed by the principle of Inclusive Education: Building on the philosophical basis proposed in the Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has the same rights and should be respected and valued as individuals. Therefore, the Center promotes the inclusion of children with disabilities in regular system from baseline in their early years of schooling in schools to regular system where the children are attending to the Primary Level.

In the levels prekindergarten and kindergarten the Center is working with educational inclusion of some children at the special school, achieving great progress, currently the Center is  working with 12 children that can be integrated into regular education.
At the same time the Center is monitoring the children that are outside of the Center and attend regular schools, which has a full contact, having made arrangements for teachers and the multidisciplinary team issued workshops for teachers of primary education, with the theme "Inclusive Education of children with Disabilities" and "Teaching Strategies".
As new tasks, the Center is developing the project “Sports School” with disciplines directed for boys, girls and young people with varying degrees of disability, with the experience that the Center has participated in Special Olympics with great success and the kids that  graduated cannot follow the practice of these sports, so the project is developing the sports school, where teachers and trainers are receiving the necessary   training in Special Olympics, hopefully with other centers in the city of El Alto who want to join this activity.
The common problems that children with disabilities face in all areas of daily life, and especially face in the field of education are considered in the Center. Denying the right of education for children with disabilities means stripping them of future benefits, it limited employment opportunities, social participation, access to health, and this exacerbates the exclusion. Instead receive quality education enables them to ensure full realization of their rights throughout life.
A quality education must include inclusive education systems, since they serve as mechanisms for implementing the right to education for each and every child. An inclusive education system is defined by "The participation and joint learning of all children in regular classrooms in their community, regardless of different abilities and disabilities, teaching methods, materials and school environments that meet the needs of all children."
However, it is important to note that inclusive education not only focuses on the different styles of learning, but also serves to ensure the inclusion of other groups of marginalized children. Thus, the Center “Virgen Niña” wants to help eradicate discrimination, helping to avoid intolerant attitudes and behaviors; through this it is possible to achieve the construction of an inclusive society.

2. Child Development Program "Virgen Niña EPDB"

The goal of work in Child Development is that children develop could holistically taking into account all curricular areas. At the Child Development program provided for children aged 6 months to 6 years, from families with fewer economic opportunities, single mothers who are responsible for their homes and parents too young that can improve their quality of life by working and professionalizing at the same time.
The attention of the child population in the Center is from 8:30 to 16:30 hours, providing five daily meals according to nutritional needs.
In 2013 the initial level graduated 57 boys and girls with excellent prospects of entry into primary school.

FRAMEWORK OF THE ACTIVITIES

Activities in the field of education in general

During all year the Center developed courses and workshops on issues related to work in the Center: such as: "Autism", "Inclusive Education of Children with Disabilities", in addition to encouraging professionalism of the teachers in the professional program given by the Ministry of Education. Likewise, the Center remains constantly training to staff and stock levels within Christian doctrine.
In the Center, the development of curricular materials is bimonthly, being performed the progress in education in relation to the bimonthly curricula in the context of inclusive community partner project "Implementation of road safety education."
The day of "OPEN DOORS" was performed for all families of the Center "Virgen Niña - EPDB" at which any parent of any family can visit each classroom and health care environments. This time the new hall early learning, new environments in psychology and speech, plus computer workshop were opened.
In July 2014, the Center began the workshop “First aid and disaster prevention”, with support from the Finnish Red Cross and the Red Cross branch Bolivia La Paz, this project helped to train 25 teachers with a n accumulated 20 hours each workshop, also a mapping of disaster prevention was developed in the surrounding community.

Human Relations and teamwork

During this quarter the Center organized a retreat, which was held with all staff of the Center “Virgen Niña”, this activity was performed at the head of Father Jose Ramon Iriarte, as Board member and National Director of Popular Schools Don Bosco.

3. Health Area

Multidisciplinary Team

The health area is to prevent and intervene with therapies derived by specialty and timely health problems to specialist centers. In this area the Center offers supports for children who are multidisciplinary and are carried out by a team of various professionals: Medicine, Social Work, Psychology, Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy and Nursing. In the month of April proceeded to consensus around the Multidisciplinary Team and the pedagogical area, in order to make recommendations for follow-up in the classroom and at home, both psychomotor, intellectual as feed, care setting actions to take in during the year, creating new strategies for both educational intervention and habilitation and rehabilitation.

In the month of June the Center made a report of delivery-time of all families in coordination with the educational team.

These activities are done checking the following actions that are directed to the Special School, the development program and activities of Family and Community Area:

- Preparation of quarterly progress reports on children, delivering them to families.

- Individual and group psychological therapies, speech therapy, physiotherapy.

- Health checks, personal medication delivery

- Quarterly Control of weight and height for all children. Especially the ones that are malnourished, the control of weight and height is monthly.

- Development of Control menus and food preparation.

- Workshops and training courses, lectures on various topics of health, education, nutrition, self-help groups.

The Center has three professionals in the field of physiotherapy, although the requirement for these professionals is growing every day, these shortcomings have been covered, somehow with the support and presence of students from local universities (Aquino Bolivia and the Central University). They are students in the last semester doing an internship at the Center under the supervision of the professionals.
For the nutrition the Center has highly qualified staffs who prepare menus based on the different nutritional needs of the children and special children, like the child development program, always trying to have their own food from the social environment as:  fish, quinoa, and other grains.
The month of June the Center developed a workshop for bakery for the staff, the ones that cook and clean the Centre, replicating the same training to the teachers and children that are going to be graduated soon, in an effort to create spaces of interest in possible technical training areas.
During the current year and, according to the agreement signed with the Ministry of Health, a free general medicine office was established for the entire child population, plus their families. This office takes care also the Community Dining Hall, for extremely poor families and the elderly who have been abandoned, along with the community. The Center pays a medical professional for evaluation and monitoring of each of the children.
The Center organized a Lens campaign in coordination with Kantuta Foundation, making ophthalmology review and provision of lenses to 80 ancient people and 50 elderly adults in the first instance, and subsequently measuring ophthalmologic examination to all children was performed in addition to their brothers, deriving this action in delivering 382 eyeglasses to those in need and reports from the review who did not need glasses, reaching to care 500 people.

The Center has implemented a new hall of Psychology and Speech Therapy, in order to have more attention spaces, besides being enabled external therapies spaces to address cases of violence and family disintegration.
It is required the installation offices of a pediatric clinic, dentistry, orthopedics and neurology, right now the Center is making the necessary steps to have the support of professionals involved in the care of children with disabilities.
For 2015 the Center is trying to get a system for recording clinical medical records of the children with the cooperation of the International Red Cross, this will facilitate the management of information the team providing the full knowledge of each of the cases.

4. Área Familia y Comunidad

In the social area the Center is working with parents (mothers and fathers) or guardians on the importance of the family as the basic unit of society, and the importance of family support in the case of special children, regarding their therapy, their education and its acceptance in the same environment.
The Center is working on changing attitudes and behaviors that will improve the lives of the children who attend the Center. They have scheduled talks and meetings with families, playing inherent in psychomotor and educational aspects of their child support, the same that are made throughout the year.
During April, the area of social work, in coordination with the General Service (Personal Identification SEGIP), made the identity cards of children that belong to the Center "Virgen Niña". At the same time monitoring, social support and home visits to families in need and visits are made.

- There have been social and categorization to determine the socioeconomic status of family’s chips.

- Was performed Counseling and Family Counseling.

-  Home visits were carried out with the aim of knowing the conditions in which families live; giving them guidance on how to improve their quality of life. Updating social chips.

- Interagency coordination was conducted with family support organizations, the Human Rights Ombudsman, Brigade family protection and other

Community Dining Area

The Soup Kitchen serves 84 families with an average of 5 members, who are in a situation of extreme poverty, and providing for the delivery of food, medical and social assistance. In the same way it works with more than 100 seniors by providing food, medical care, therapies aimed at providing a better quality of life.

In the dining area activities the following actions were taken:

- Delivery of dry food to over 100 seniors

- Delivery of dry food to 84 families living in extreme poverty, each with an average of 5 members.

- Supervision of preparation of menus and food preparation.

Support for the old man who runs from the Center providing them primary medical care, assistance in patient care, social work, have been detected many cases of abandonment by the family, which also involved psychological support.

Inter-institutional relations

Continuing with the Centre's policy with respect to maintaining a full driving within the community of the city of El Alto, the agreements signed with networks that bring together Special Education Centers and Associations of Persons with Disability like Red Equidad (Equality Network) and REDAL.
It is supported as the Salesian University, Public University of ElL Alto, Universidad Central (Central University), among others for the practices of students of the last year, this activity makes it easier to have more staff to support for daily work.
The Center is working with intuitions that house and give attention to young people with different capabilities in terms of technical skills provide them technical occupations, such as CEREFE, CEAMAN, FE Y ALEGRIAA (FAITH AND JOY) and other centers in the city of El Alto.
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