This kindergarten is located in a neighborhood called Zavaleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, about 40 minutes from the city center and accessible by bus. It was founded in 2006 as a daycare out of necessity in the neighborhood. Many mothers were working below minimum wage and could not afford a private daycare center. Stella, the founder, and her family decided to use her home as the foundation for this new kindergarten. They began with five moms and a single room and with the help of Voluntario Global, they were able to build 5 more rooms and have 12 teachers and 9 workers. In 2015, assisted by Voluntario Global, they became a part of the CPI program which allocates resources to feed the children with breakfast, lunch, and a snack. As a part of this program, the nursery is also now able to pay the teachers and workers a salary, something that was not previously possible.
Why is this project important for the community?
The support from these social organizations is essential for the kindergarten because it is how it was sustained for the first nine years. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems concerning the infrastructures and standards of living in this neighborhood because they do not receive much aid from government programs. The neighborhood itself was built about 60 years ago over Napas (contaminated water) so part of the ground is unstable and in danger of flooding. Furthermore, there is a landfill close by so they live near much of the city's waste. This, in addition to sewer contamination, causes a lot of respiratory problems for the children who live here. The members of the community work hard to try and better their conditions but unfortunately, it's a slow process, which is why help from social organizations like the nursery is essential.
Role of the Volunteer
From 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, the kindergarten welcomes and educates the kids from the area. The volunteer has the opportunity to help in many different aspects while they are there. From assisting the teachers in playing with the kids, feeding them, and helping put them down for a nap. This is both a practical aid and it fuels the cultural exchange.
What can you learn as a volunteer?
In this area, where a variety of cultural communities live together, the volunteer learns a lot about social diversity. Moreover, they can share with the local inhabitants their customs and experiences, providing for improvements to the organization of the nursery because they welcome any and all suggestions. The volunteer will also benefit from the company of the kids, who are always full of energy and happy to see them! They will receive a good lesson in patience and learn to see everything from a different perspective. All in all, this nursery is a place wealthy in the amount of love that circulates among everyone involved.
Long term volunteers can apply for a soft skills certificate from GLORE, a Project from the EU. You can choose up to 5 skills to certificate according to your experience and will.
These are the soft skills that kindergarten volunteers are most likely to develop during the volunteer period:
- Critical Thinking
- Ethics and Work Commitment
- Learning to learn
- Multicultural Awareness
- Self Awareness
The kindergarten works Mondays to Fridays from 9 to 4 pm. Volunteers usually work 3-4 days per week. This program is not available during the summer holidays in Argentina (January and February) and 2 weeks in July (winter holidays).
Location and first day at work
The Center is located in Barracas, about 40-minute far from the center of Buenos Aires and accessible by bus. On your first day, the volunteer's tutor will take you to the project so you learn how to travel by bus, present you to the main coordinator and the teachers so you are confident to go by yourself the following days.
- Valid Passport & Visa: Most travelers do not need a visa to enter Argentina. Volunteers enter the country as tourists and can stay for up to 90 days. Extensions on visas are possible; our coordinators will advise you on this process.
- Medical Insurance: Voluntario Global requires the volunteer to have adequate medical insurance for the duration of the program and must be provided with details of such insurance coverage at the time of confirming their placement.
- Spanish Level Required: Basic
- Minimum Stay: 2 weeks