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Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the photos from that day tell the story...
Themes: Disasters, first aid, and risk management presented by the Children’s Emergency Number of Participants: 30 children from Mejicanos, 26 from Joya Grande, Committees of Joya Grande Children’s rights and the Law for the Inteand 9 from Santo Tomás for a total of 65 participants between the ages of 4 and 14 years old, ac- gral Protection of Children and Adolescompanied by 9 adults from the communities and cents presented by the Children’s Violence Prevention Committees of Mejicanos 9 facilitators from SSPAS and CEIBA. Objective: Children from different communities in El Salvador learn from one another’s experiences and strengthen their leadership abilities through sharing their knowledge and teaching others what they have learned in their respective formations.
We started the day bright and early, picking up the children from the different communities of Mejicanos at 7:30 am. The ride to Joya Grande was a little over an hour. At the first sight of Lake Ilopango, which nearly all of the kids had never seen before, everyone rushed to the left side of the bus and began yelling with excitement. When we got to Joya Grande, the children from that community had already set up the space and were preparing for their presentations. One of the young boys from Joya Grande began the event by welcoming everyone to his community. After presenting the team and setting some ground rules for the day, we shared a delicious breakfast of pupusas and hot chocolate. When everyone was satisfied and ready to begin, we went outside to start out with some games to help the kids get to know one another. We split the participants up into four groups and, after some brief introductions, played several games with them, which the kids definitely loved.
After the ice breakers, it was Joya Grande’s turn to present their knowledge about disasters gained from their formation process as Children’s Emergency Committees. The children had organized four separate stations to learn about different aspects of disasters: Station 1: Landslides and Floods In this station, the children started by explaining that disasters are NOT natural, but caused by human intervention and social vulnerability. Then the participants saw a demonstration of how flood happen. Then they split up into groups and built their own “communities”, one of which was safe from disasters and the other vulnerable to floods and landslides.
Station 2: Evacuations In this station, children discussed what to do during a disaster. First, the children split up into groups and drew communities on large sheets of paper. They included different buildings like schools, churches, houses, and stores as well as risks like rivers, potential landslides, and volcanoes. After they identifying “safe zones” such as the Red Cross, a school, or a soccer field where they would be safe from danger, they “evacuated” the people from the different houses and buildings by drawing lines to the safe zones without touching any of the dangerous spots. Station 3: Fires and Earthquakes The third station focused on two specific kinds of disasters, fires and earthquakes. First, the children explained why earthquakes and fires happened and the participants gave suggestions of how to react in each circumstance. Then the children from Joya Grande explained some basic first aid of how to wash and dress wounds. Afterwards, all of the children worked together to put on a short skit about how to react to a fire. Station 4: Fractures and Broken Bones One of the kids’ favorite stations had to do with first aid. This station started out with an explanation of the different parts of the skeleton and the difference between a fracture and a broken bone. The kids showed real x-rays in their homemade xray machine so that the participants could see the difference. Afterwards, they explained how to transport someone who is injured based on different scenarios (type of injury, consciousness of patient, etc.). Finally, the children showed how to immobilize and bandage a broken bone. After the demonstration, bandages were passed out to the participants and everyone got a chance to practice for themselves..
Throughout the morning, the participants enjoyed themselves and learned a lot. The children from Joya Grande were excited about the chance to show off their knowledge to other children. They explained each station clearly and confidently, quickly getting over any nervousness.
As we waited for lunch to be ready, we split the kids up into their groups again to play a cooperative game and increase the communication and relationships between the kids from the different communities. Each group received a stack of newspapers and a roll of tape and was given 15 minutes to construct the tallest free-standing tower they could in that time. Some groups were more successful than others at getting their tower to remain standing, but all worked together to create their structure. After lunch, the children from Mejicanos took their turn presenting what they had learned in their years with the Passionist Social Service. First, three girls from Próceres Oriente (who used to be too shy to participate in the workshops in their own community) taught the whole group a song with actions and led them through it. Then they presented the concept of children’s rights and the law LEPINA, which they explained protects the rights of children and adolescents. To get an overview, we first watched a short video animation about the law. Afterwards, the participants once more split up into their groups to analyze the video and discuss whether the different rights presented in the video are respected or not within their communities. This lead to some interesting discussions about their experiences living in different communities with distinct problems. For example, the children from urban communities were more like to identify safety as a problem than those from more rural communities. After the analysis, the children from Chancala Baja took their turn presenting the rights that they had identified as the most important ones for children to know: the right to life and the right to expression. First they explained the meaning of the right to a dignified life, showing posters they had made to illustrate the idea. After similarly explaining the right to express themselves (and to have adults take them seriously!), the children split up to make their own drawings, expressing what they would say to the adults in their communities if they had the opportunity.
The children’s drawings revealed the depth of their understanding of the ideas as well as gave insight into their lives. Their messages included appeals to keep their communities clean and free of trash, for their rights to be respected, to have adults listen to their ideas, to be loved, and to live in households free from yelling and violence, among others. When all had finished their drawings, it was the turn of the children from Próceres Oriente to present the rights they had chosen: the right to be free from abuse and the right to play. After the children showed posters they had made and explaining the right to be free from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, we watched a couple of short videos about the meaning of abuse, how to protect oneself from it, and how to react if abused. After the videos, we all went outside and the kids explained and demonstrated the cooperative game they had chosen to illustrate the right to play. Each group formed two lines facing one another and the first three pairs held pieces of firewood between them. Then one of the children climbed up onto the firewood and stepped from stick to stick as the other children passed them down the line. The game required them to all work together to make sure everyone made it safely to the other side. All of the groups cooperated well and had a lot of fun too! Then came the moment for which all of the kids had been waiting: the trip to see the lake. With so many kids (many of whom couldn’t swim), we didn’t let them jump in, but we organized a game of capture the flag between the groups from the different communities at the lakeside. It was a new game for all of them and took a bit of explaining, but once they understood they really enjoyed themselves. When it reached four o’clock, it was time to take the kids home, so we met in groups one last time to do a quick evaluation. The participants all said that they had really enjoyed the event, especially the games and getting to make new friends. After thanking everyone for their participation throughout the day, we climbed back into the buses for the long ride home. By five o’clock, everyone was safely back in their communities and we could finally rest after an exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable day!
Concept Snacks for preparation workshops Phone minutes Gas for preparation workshops and logistical coordination Car maintenance Lunches for volunteers Cost $15.00 $5.00 $25.00 $25.00 $1.75 Quantity 4 4 3 1 5 Total $60.00 $20.00 $75.00 $25.00 $8.75 Total income TOTAL $188.75 Total expenses $817.34 $658.75 Total donations Contribution SSPAS $537.34 $280.00
Day of event:
Concept Breakfast Lunch Transportation from Santo Tomas Transportation from Mejicanos Extra cups and plates Cost $1.00 $2.00 $40.00 $100.00 $1.00 Quantity 100 100 1 1 30 Total $100.00 $200.00 $40.00 $100.00 $30.00
The extra money, split between the two organizations, will go towards follow-up work with the different communities who participated in the summit to reinforce their learning and continue their formative processes. Part of CEIBA’s portion will also go toward a youth summit that they are preparing.
Cost of preparations Costs for day of event $188.75 $470.00