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August Newsletter

Read all our lates updates in the August Newsletter – See the our latest project develop as we build two new classrooms and find out about what our volunteers really think about their international volunteering experience with SKIP….

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The Vanity and Villainy of Volunteer Tourism

One of our fantastic volunteers, Hatty Farnham, had a thought provoking article published this week reflecting on her experiences volunteering in Peru with SKIP. There is an excerpt from the article below or you can read the full article on the Abstract Magazine website

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“…Before we are able to change the lives of others we must change our own. There is an ugly double standard in the colonial arrogance which allows willing yet unexperienced western volunteers to believe that they may teach children, work in medical clinics, or “change a life” simply by offering their time. Would we allow untrained medical students to operate on our grandparents in the UK? Would we be comfortable with adults entering a nursery or school without training or background checks at home? Or with groups of tourists photographing orphans in a care home in London? It’s so easy for us to excuse these bad practices abroad because without them, without foreign aid, even in the form of volunteer tourism, the reality may be even worse.”

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Youth Volunteering Project

Since the secondary programme began and as the years have gone by we have seen the children finish, and have followed what they have gone on to do in their lives for their families and for themselves when they have been into the office on occasions for advice and information.

Over the past years, we began to think about the possibility of involving them once again in SKIP. Why not call them again to see if they want to take part as volunteers? Who better to take on the role of assistants than those who have been in the classrooms? What better example for the children than other classmates who have already finished and are moving forward with their dreams? Why not someone who has been here before and who knows the programme?

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After several calls and meetings arranged through the families, in April we began this new graduate project. Three meetings were held with everyone who was interested, and we established the objectives of this new project, the activities they wanted to develop, their availability and interest in returning.

The idea is that on the one hand they will take part as classroom assistants and on the other they will be able to take the class they like most. At the same time we want to create a communication area which can be used to carry on learning but can also work as an information exchange, a place to bring ideas which can be enjoyed, an information point for concerns that might arise….a space that can be used to teach from their own reality, their personal experience of life based on everything they learnt as they passed through the classrooms at SKIP.

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To see that it is possible to follow dreams such as being a dance teacher, lawyer, doctor, police officer, school teacher, to combine their studies with giving their free time to the place they enjoyed not so long ago.

Jennifer, Marco, Carlos, Johny, Ada, Rosa, Jordan, Toushman,… Thank you for joining our-your team and for making this dream a reality!

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The Waves of the Sea bring Smiles, Hope and Excitement

Twice a year we go on a day trip with the SKIP students. Our aim is to have fun while, at the same, learning in a context outside that of the written word and the adding up of columns of numbers.

On this occasion it was the beach, in Salaverry. The town is home to a fishing port, boats of all sizes, fishermen and a peaceful beach.

We had it all planned; the only thing left to do was to let the families and students know the day and time for the enjoyment of a day of sun, sea and sand. Then, at the last minute, we were told that the buses we had been relying on weren’t available… Oh, no! (heads in our hands), What do we do? (all hands on deck).

No sooner was it said than done! Enthusiasm, love and hope are what drive us, and, so, we started to mobilise friends, relatives, past volunteers, etc. via social networks, and within two days we had enough money to hire buses to take all the SKIP students! It’s incredible how many generous people there are in the world…

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Families informed, rucksack packed with all the essentials, buses waiting at the gate, students brimming with excitement, mothers ready for the trip… Let’s go have some fun!

We all arrived at the beach wearing the biggest grins (needless to say that everyone had put on their best clothes, and even painted their nails), and, even though the sky was clouded over and there was a chilly breeze, nothing could stop us rushing to get straight in the water.

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Some of our students had never been to the beach before, so the trip was truly thrilling.

At SKIP we have daily, weekly and monthly plans for our work with the students, but, on this occasion, we let the students themselves organise the day’s activities.

Dipping our feet into the cold salt water for the first time, castles, pictures traced and shapes dug out in the earth, games in the waves, splashing each other, catching fish with our hands, finding sand crabs, searching for crabs among the rocks and watching how they move, more raucous games in the waves, chasing seagulls and watching them flock together, burying our feet in the sand, our hands, our bodies, digging and digging in the sand, fear and nervousness in the face of the unknown, the feeling of freedom with each movement in the water and in the sand, brimming with curiosity at each step, each movement, profound excitement conveyed in hugs and wide smiles, discovering what our bodies can do, making up incredible tales about huge fish, lauded friendship and fun group games, running and running til arriving breathless at the end of the beach, sharing food, along with love and joy, on the sand, going to the harbour to watch the fishermen, long walks together, races along the beach, happy mothers wearing smiles while they walk, talk, watch the goings on around them or buy fish, everyone transformed into children feeling the excitement of each of the SKIP students, smiles and understanding shared between us all, gratitude, joy… immense joy.

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Each game, each movement, each discovery… charged with beautiful emotions and feelings, of those that fill the heart, that are so intense that they wear out the body sending you to sleep on the bus ride home.

And so it was. We came back delighted and happy with the lovely day that we’d shared, worn out by the excitement, the races and the games.

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On the bus ride back to SKIP, everyone friends, everyone thrilled, everyone happy, everyone dreaming of the next trip.

Many thanks to the team of volunteers that, as always, gave their all: Adrián, Claudio, Fabianne, Fin, Hannah, Jacky, Katalina, Lali, Mar, Maja, Minerva, Silvia and Víctor. Thanks to the mothers, our classroom assistants, who accompanied us, along with their love and excitement. To the anonymous people who donated money so that we could realise this dream. To the bus company for looking after us on the way there and back.

The day was filled with magic, love and excitement, giving our all to the children who charmingly thanked us with their best smiles, and most heartfelt hugs and impassioned expressions.

Just like the ocean, every day we continue to drench ourselves in life!

Vanessa,
Primary Coordinator.

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Competitiveness is not a strength

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Should development organisations be taking lessons in competitiveness from the private sector? An article on the Guardian Professional Development site last month argued that we should. This may be true of the larger NGOs, but in the world of grassroots organisations, I strongly disagree…

This article, written by SKIP Director Liz Wilson, was published in the Guardian on April 22nd and presents some interesting thoughts around NGO collaboration in anticipation of the international NGO conference that SKIP will host in August.

Click here to read the full article in the Guardian.

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SKIP Director gives a TEDx Talk

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On February 14th the SKIP Director, Liz Wilson, took part in a TEDx Youth event in Valencia, Spain. Her speech is in English, with the title, “Do stuff you love and make a difference” and encourages people to get involved in community projects and volunteering as well as talking about Liz’s own motivation to work in international development projects. Click on this link to see the video

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Day Trip to the Conache Lagoon

In February we were able to take the mothers that participate in our artisan workshops on a day trip to the Conache Lagoon and the weather was perfect for the occasion! Conache is not far from Trujillo, but the mothers that participate with SKIP very rarely have the opportunity, or resources, to leave their neighborhood.

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After we arrived, the whole group took a nice walk around the lagoon and a few mothers even walked half way up the very steep sand dune located nearby! There was a farm on the property with all types of animals and many of the mothers were fawning over the baby goats. Everyone sat together to share lunch and chat.

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It was a relaxing and enjoyable day for all! A special thankyou to those of you who donated in order to make this trip possible! ~ Jeanette Harris

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SKIP helps stop violence against women and children

The 14th February celebrated the worldwide campaign “One Billion Rising”, which aims to put a stop to violence against women and children.

The event took place for the second year running and aims to mobilise one billion people to fight against all forms of violence against women and girls of all ages, and, thereby, raise sensitivity and awareness of the issue.

As a member of the Gender Roundtable since November 2013, SKIP was invited to participate in an event that took place near the town hall in El Porvenir, which witnessed the coming together, not only of the representatives of the roundtable, but also of various social actors from across the district, as well as of a number of entertainers who had travelled from Lima, and all those who wanted to participate in the “dance” against violence.

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SKIP was represented by the Family Welfare Team and the Parents Comittee, both of which participated actively in the various activities held over the course of the morning. We were given T-shirts to celebrate the day, and a group of Social Work students from the National University of Trujillo hosted a quiz on the topic of gender and equality, in which our Parents Committee won several rounds, demonstrating the SKIP families’ awareness of the topic.

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Over the morning more SKIP families started to join in as they arrived. As a final touch, following the presention of each of the organisations taking part, came a mass dance, in which everyone participated.

MANY THANKS TO ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS, BOTH THE TEAM AND THE COMMITTEE, for their help to make this issue more visible.