Nourishing Minds and Bodies

As well as gaining insight into informal educational spaces, volunteering at Caras Alegres helped me understand how good nutrition affects a child’s opportunities and development. During my last week there, I was fortunate to assist as a translator at a pop-up clinic run by a visiting volunteer medic, Amir. Over two days he offered free check-ups to anyone who attends Caras Alegres’ programmes and their … Continue reading Nourishing Minds and Bodies

The Boy with No Shoes

I have so many uplifting memories of my time at Caras Alegres, contributing to projects that are making a tangible difference to the kids and families they work with. That being said, one more solemn moment is still stuck in my head, and I decided it was about time to write about it. It was back in May, shortly after I’d started my placement, and … Continue reading The Boy with No Shoes

The Caras Alegres Community

Since starting this year of travel last August, I’ve been constantly reflecting on how to ‘do’ development better. How do you make sure a community has an active, valued role in a project?  That a project isn’t reinforcing power imbalances? That funds are utilised responsibly? That initiatives are sustainable long-term? It’s easy for an NGO to receive a nice chunk of funding for a project, … Continue reading The Caras Alegres Community

Invisible Learning

Original version published on Omprakash. Keeping children in education can be threatened by a variety of factors: low funding and investment, lack of teacher training, large class sizes, geographical barriers, and child labour, to name a few. In contexts where literacy and school completion rates are low, it’s easy (and often necessary) to prioritise developing projects and infrastructure that will keep children in formal education. … Continue reading Invisible Learning

Dar a Luz Honduras

The last two months have been a steep learning curve, to say the least. I’ve been volunteering with Dar a Luz Honduras, which campaigns for respectful maternity care and raises awareness of human rights in childbirth to lower rates of maternal and neonatal mortality. Founded in 2007 by activist and 2019’s HRiC Champion’s Award recipient Sylvia Bahr, Dar a Luz Honduras’ mission has grown from providing … Continue reading Dar a Luz Honduras

Women & Healthcare

Having spent the first part of my trip learning about literacy and education initiatives, I am shifting focus to the second theme of my project: how health affects women’s livelihoods and opportunities. Healthcare is a spiderweb of issues and the more I learn, the more cans of worms I feel like I open, but in this post I will try to summarise the main topics. … Continue reading Women & Healthcare

Biblioteca Interactiva de Baños

(Forgive the horrendous lateness of this post; I’m now back with a working laptop, new passport and time to catch up on how my trip has been going.) Following my time at Biblioworks and the brief segue to La Paz for emergency travel documents, I spent my last month before Christmas volunteering at Fundación Arte del Mundo’s ‘Biblioteca Interactiva’ (interactive library). It can be a chore … Continue reading Biblioteca Interactiva de Baños

Things That Matter

The last two weeks have been surreal. I can’t really think of a better word for it. Last Monday, one of my bags got stolen, containing my passport, laptop and travel journal, among other less important things. I’d been back in Sucre to extend my visa, the bus back to Redención was packed and I didn’t realised until we arrived that my backpack hadn’t finished … Continue reading Things That Matter

Navigating Responsibility

It’s really hard to create a perfect volunteer placement. Almost impossible, even. It’s a complex navigation between host community needs and expectations, volunteers’ skills, cultural sensitivity, collaboration, logistics, goals, and usually a lot of compromise. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about volunteer responsibility over the last few weeks in Redención Pampa. Though I found out and applied to Biblioworks half a … Continue reading Navigating Responsibility

What Makes a School?

Outside my biology classroom in secondary school there was a poster that said ‘Reach for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars’. Incredibly cheesy, yes, but somehow eight years later I still haven’t forgotten it. I remember seeing it when waiting for class to begin and thinking it was just part of the fabric of my school, along with the textbooks, … Continue reading What Makes a School?

Inka Trail & Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was more moving, impressive and stunning than I could have imagined. Wanting to experience more than just a quick two-hour tour, (but not wanting to punish myself with climbs to over 4,000m) I opted for a two-day Inka Trail trek, which includes 13km of the Trail itself plus a tour of the Inkas’ sacred city. The hiking day began with an unexpectedly picturesque … Continue reading Inka Trail & Machu Picchu

Learning Patience

My time at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte has come to an end, and with it has come a whole host of reflections, questions, and realisations. I was talking with a fellow volunteer on the bus back to the city about the emotional extremes of volunteering after a particularly deflating afternoon at the home, and how to navigate the often overwhelming mass of expectations, hopes and realities … Continue reading Learning Patience