The Yanapay School

This is the project that I was able to start, due to the money I had available. The Yanapay school is a place that has areas such as classrooms, a library, a game library (educational games), reading room, kitchen, and others, that are necessary for the development of the children and adolescents we work with.

We work with children from various public schools who come after class. In the Yanapay Village they do their homework, making use of the library and the materials that we have. They also receive another type of education based on the arts (theatre, music, painting, etc), as well as other topics that are important in today's world: world cultures and religions, ecology, sexuality, and reading.

The Village is also open to all types of cultural expression, for example. Meditation, massages, capoeira, circus arts, etc., since people from all over the world arrive at the Yanapay school and each one has something to give.
There is a phrase that is fundamental at the Yanpay school

“the most beautiful thing about teaching is being able to give opportunities”

This, with a strong dose of love, tolerance, and trust, to me seems to be a way to educate human beings who are free in themselves, with the ability to give.

The Yanapay school is one of the projects that has been up and running since June 2004. (The Yanapay school is completely free of charge)

What can you do at the Yanapay school?

The Yanapay school functions from Monday to Friday from 3PM to 7PM, and on Saturdays from 10AM to 1:30PM, depending on where we go that day (CURRENT SCHEDULE). Normally a week-day in the school is like this:

  • We greet the children, we see what homework they have, and we help them to locate the appropriate educational materials, so that they themselves can finish their homework, monitoring each child personally during the process.
  • Once the homework is done, we move on to the different classes that the Village has for the children. Normally there are fixed courses such as English, ecology, world culture and religion, reading. There are other courses according to the time and availability of the volunteers.
  • There is also playtime which is one of the most important parts of the Yanapay school, be it in the educational game library or outside in the patio. Interaction with the volunteers is important in order to break down the enormous barrier between children and adults that has been created throughout many years in my society.
  • Then, if the Village has the necessary funds, the children are given a simple dinner at the end of the day.
  • Saturdays are sport days; we go to the park or to the countryside and we have fun and exercise.

In this volunteering program, one can participate in various ways, be they active or passive. According to the level of Spanish that the volunteer has and their specific abilities, each one will be placed in an area.

At the school it is important to point out that the volunteers do a little bit of everything, from teaching to sweeping or cleaning. It is obvious that if anyone has a real problem with doing any job, they should just say so; it's not a sin to have preferences.

There is also a space called "expression" where classes or workshops created by the volunteers are taught. To do this, you should just write your proposal down with objectives, times, and materials, and present it to me for analysis and approval.
The amount of time that the volunteer will stay is important. That’s why there are programs for just one day, a week, a month, and more time. According to the amount of time the volunteer will be with the project, they will be given different responsibilities.

Some of the school’s rules:

  •  Communication with the children should be friendly. It is absolutely prohibited to threaten or hurt a child physically, psychologically, spiritually, or morally. This does not mean that the children can do whatever they want. It is important to know, that the volunteer, as an adult who is much more aware of reality, has a big responsibility when dealing with a child or adolescent.
  • There are things that you, as a grown-up, know that are wrong. Based on this you should put limits to actions that go against what the Village professes in its ideology.
  • Take care of the school’s infrastructure and different areas, as well as the accessories that it has. Considering that our children come from realities where order and cleanliness are secondary priorities in daily life, it is necessary that every adult member of the school motivates the children to have good hygiene and order.
  • It is absolutely prohibited that the children leave the school, from the start of the day to finish, unless they ask permission from the director or the person in charge at the time.
  • No one outside of the school can pick up the children from school if they do not speak first with the director or the person in charge.
  • Anything strange that a volunteer notices in the behavior of the child should be discussed by them, trying to find the cause. If the reason for the behavior is a touchy subject, it should be communicated to the director, in order to ask for help from the school psychologist. The same process applies if the child does not want to talk about his/her behavior.
  • If you have questions or concerns while you're volunteering, please let me know so we can answer and resolve them.
  • If you find yourself in a situation that raises questions in you, the best thing to do would be communicate that and ask for help from the person who is in charge, or stay longer with the project.

Well, I’ve tried to touch on the basics, obviously there are always things left unaddressed. I would ask you to please let me know of these things if you discover any.