Campamento Yevide

Posted On 2023-08-20 In Projects, works of mercy

For the children of the Yevide migrant camp

CHILE, Verónica Morandé •

During the long summer vacations, the migrant families of the Yevide migrant camp continue to work while their children are on school vacation; they are forced to leave their children alone, without an entertaining activity. To help them, we organized a “mosaic workshop” for them. —

We obtained materials from the hardware store of the sons of one of our directors and faced the new challenge.

In this workshop worked Ignacio, our director; Eliana, social worker of our community “Maria en el Camino”, who contributed with great responsibility and Patricia, a very important collaborator, member of the board.

It was the first workshop for children, in which only nine children participated. As the work progressed, they became more and more motivated and made beautiful mosaics.

A very important aspect of this workshop was that the name “Casa-Capilla” (House-Chapel) was born. The children themselves expressed this in a mosaic that they made during those days and stuck on the door of the simple community center in the camp.

This is the place that serves as a “common space for the children to meet, work, rest and pray”, where they can develop their skills, meet, make friends, share and experience moments of healthy and varied entertainment while working together.

From this first Mosaic workshop, the new idea of out-of-school care was born.

Campamento Yevide

“After-school care” for elementary school children at Yevide Camp

Throughout the years, we have tried to figure out how to contribute to a better quality of life for the residents of Yevide Camp, this large refugee and migrant camp. We began by placing the image of Mary, our dear Blessed Mother, in a wayside shrine in their midst on September 12, 2022, asking her to open the way for her Son and allow us to do an important work among these families.

We have done a census, celebrated Christmas, involved them in our educational workshops on our grounds and in some common activities that can help them to know each other better and open the way for themselves.

This summer we started to pay special attention to the children. Some of them were alone, locked in their homes while their parents worked, sometimes in charge of younger siblings, with no space for entertainment or community life. When asked how they were doing at school, some said they were bullied because they were foreigners. But they also asked for support for their lives at school. This is how the aforementioned mosaic workshop came about, in which nine children participated and in which we discovered their diverse abilities, but also their needs.

We wanted to focus our activities on the children in the camp, on their education and their integration in our country. Therefore, we proposed to create an after-school care center, which would be a space for diverse learning, play and care. We want children to have the opportunity to become integrated, educated and happy adults who contribute to a better integrated and better society. We believe that strengthening their basic skills and developing new ones should be a general goal.

Campamento Yevide

The “Casa-capilla” as a meeting place for the community

Little by little we succeeded in creating the necessary conditions. A school in San Felipe gave us chairs and tables that were no longer needed and in good condition, as well as a large blackboard.

We also received school supplies from many people, textbooks, notebooks, pens of all kinds, blackboards, games, puzzles, etc.

We put up posters to make ourselves known and started to invite people directly to meet with the children on Fridays from 4 to 6 pm. Currently, we have more than 30 very active children who love to participate and are creative. With them we form age-matched groups, which we accompany and guide in their games and works, their concerns and questions. The time flies by and we always have a snack at the end.

We still need some volunteers to support the educational process and to develop other important areas such as music, theater, dance, some sports and creativity according to the developing abilities. And also “donors” to help us with money to buy games and different materials to implement music, sports, dance, theater and other possible areas to work with these children.

We are very grateful for all contributions in the form of materials, time, money and suggestions.

Campamento Yevide

Collaboration: Miguel Ángel Rubio

Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer

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