PENADER stands for “Proyecto Educativo de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes de Escasos Recursos”, the project we are supporting in Camiri, Bolivia. The meaning of the name translated into English is “Educational Project for Children and Teenagers of Low Income Households”.
The center is the succeeding project to the CE.DE.IN.. It does not only target working children, but also children and young adults of low income households in general. Its main objective is to provide them with the helping hand they are lacking.
Our project may be understood as a sort of day care center trying to guarantee the compulsory school attendance and to offer a safe and loving environment for the children to develop. Apart from tutoring lessons, one of the main interests of the educators is to be there for their charges, listen to their worries and to help them solving their problems adequately. All the teachers are committed with their heart to the project and work almost only on a voluntary basis, filling the children and teenagers with trust and love while teaching them important values, such as tolerance and compassion.
In order to exonerate the families financially and to ensure a healthy and balanced diet, a freshly prepared lunch is provided in PENADER every day. This meal is free for the children, but only under the condition of a regular school attendance. The latter is verified by the educators of the center in cooperation with the teachers. With the help of the conversations with the teachers, the work of the educators is facilitated, as they learn a lot about the children’s school progress and problems.
PENADER is not only a place to study, receive help for school, talk about worries or to eat a free lunch with the other children and teenagers, but also a possibility for them to develop a sense of community, consistency and trust. Moreover, health issues, such as oral hygiene and washing one’s hands, are discussed.
The families of the children and teenagers play an important role in the charges’ lives. Therefore, instead of excluding the families from the development of the children, the educators inform and visit them at home on a regular basis.
The Way It Works
Due to the fact that PENADER is closely bound to the school system, it is always conceived for a school year. The center is designed for about 30 children and teenagers, although a much higher number is to be expected on account of a great necessity.
The children have to register themselves at the beginning of a school year and they are asked to pay a fee of three Bolivianos, which is about 45 US-cents. Since this is a very small amount of money, even in Bolivia, it has a more symbolic character. The idea of the fee is to stress the seriousness of PENADER in the parents’ and the children’s minds.
In Bolivia, schools have classes either in the morning or in the afternoon; consequently, children and teenagers who attend school in the morning come to the center for lunch and stay the afternoon. The others, attending classes in the afternoon, pass their morning in the project and have lunch together with students of the morning classes.