I am working in SOS Children’s village in Vicenza from January 2008. I chose this project, because I had the intention to work for children in foreign surroundings; moreover to have an experience which is totally different from my studies, daily routines and life in Hungary; and last but not least to get to know Italy through learning of the language and travelling.
I got much more, though…
In the first period my head was full of confusion, because everything was new and unknown for me. I got to know new people every day, to say nothing of the
Ungheria

fact, that I was constrained to use that very little Italian knowledge I had. The children, however, were open-minded towards me from the very first moment, and they greeted me with lots of affection and love. In consequence of these facts I think that immediately after the first 3-4 weeks I grew up personally and became much more sensible towards children from disadvantages families.
In the Children’s village I’m working in a traditional SOS family with 6 lovely children between the age of 3-7. I have to say, I have a lot of fun with them. As they are quite lively, there is no time to be bored!
Every day is different from the other, especially in the summer we always tried to find out variable activities for the children. Apart from the international summer holiday in the mountains with all children of Villaggio, there are organised different outings and sport activities, like swimming pool visit, also for the smallest ones.
When the children are at home, a normal day looks like the following: In the morning after the breakfast, I help the children with their home-work, since the smallest ones are busy drawing or colouring pictures. Sometimes they also help us doing some housework, like preparing lunch or tidying up the rooms. When they at school, however, there are much transport for them and the afternoons we usually play together in Villaggio or in a park in the neighbourhood.
The work is not always easy, though. It takes quite a long time, till the children get to know you and trust you. You have to be strong and decisive with them, so that they have respect towards you. After 3-4 months I started to feel self-confident with children and gradually I also learnt how to work with them, how to speak to them. It’s a long process, I know, but in the end I feel that I am also an important person for them.
Now I learnt so much about children generally (for example: how to bring them up, how to care about them), that I really look forward to have my own family. I also got to now better myself, because here had the possibility to live independently and organise my life on my own. It brought me self-confidence and the feeling of responsibility.
All in all I am having an extraordinary time here in Villaggio SOS in Vicenza. Apart the facts mentioned above, maybe the most important things I gained during my service is the affection towards children, which, I think, will influence my future.

Aliz

Talking about an experience like this is very difficult. So many are the things I want to talk about and many more are the feelings and sensations that I can’t express, one have to live them...

Villa Servita is a centre of emergency for children, from 0 to 18 years old, whose prime rights were denied.
That means that everyday I had to face with youths that were abused sexually and psychologically, that were left out in the street or constrict to ask for money.

Youths whose childhood was signed forever. With these baby faces one can’t imagine all that they have to suffer and pass trough.

Ninos

I started my program 6 months ago and so far I can say that I became a teacher, a mother and a friend for all of them. It’s incredible how this situation can increase your patient, your tolerance, your sensibility and your love. Yes, because I learnt from that all that the love you can share with others is never enough.

I was sharing my time with the various educators assisting them in their activities with the children like hygienic routine, lunch time, free time and collaborating with the social work sometimes accompanying the children to legal medicine and working in the office.

It was really nice because I had the time to fully interact with this youths. Talking with them like a friend they opened themselves to me and I started to face this difficult world of problems that so many times were bigger than me.
They were so curious about me, about my life and about other cultures that I started to think why not give them the possibility to learn about other cultures but in the same way of other languages.

That’s why I propose to make english classes and I become a teacher!

I choose to work with the pre schools child’s and it was incredible how they were improving and learning this language so fast day by day. Sometimes it was very hard because the minimal conditions where I worked didn’t help me at all, some of the children are very aggressive and stressed and when 5 kids have to share one pencil it becomes a mess!
They suffer of less concentration so I had to make this classes serious, interactive and funny at the same time.
I made them colour, sing and play. I remember how many times I was sitting in my room the night before searching information’s from internet to give me some inspiration for my class the day after.

Like one can imagine children comes and goes from Villa Servita as their problems “are solved”. That’s why my job was harder so far. I had to give the new ones the introduction of what we did till then and go on with the kids that were still there. With the right energy it’s not impossible although sometimes it seems.

I am so satisfied with this experience and I don’t want that all my energies were only concentrate in this six months that I was so happy when they propose me to try something new like english classes on line.
I know this is something very hard to realise but giving them all my support and affection even if I am far would be the bigger compensation for me.

Natasha Lakota, EVS volunteer in Colombia

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