We walked into the daycare to sixteen babies all under the age of one, crawling over the foam flooring, sucking on eyeless, hard dolls, and falling turtle-back during frequent attempts to stand. Our Communications team intended to stay for an hour to take pictures for Maxine’s last day volunteering; instead, we left three hours later with slobber on our clothes, applesauce in our hair, and stiffness in our backs we would only feel the next morning. We left feeling accomplished, helpful, and happy, making plans to return the next day.
If you want a challenging but rewarding experience by making a difference for underprivileged families who can’t afford private daycare, join one of Voluntario Global’s projects working with kids. Located on the outskirts of the city in low-income neighborhoods are daycares in constant need of an extra pair of hands from all corners of the world - hands to hold and coddle babies; to feed them the nutrients they need to grow; to ensure they can develop while getting their basic needs in a safe environment.
Work among superwomen
On a regular day at the daycare, the influx of toddlers falls on the laps of two caretakers. I could barely put on a baby’s bib during his tantrum, and one of them saw my struggle, picked him up, put his bib on with one hand and continued to bottle-feed another on her lap, all in one swift motion. Superwoman, I tell ya.
Maxine, Voluntario Global volunteer from Australia, worked at the daycare for only two weeks, and was hailed a “god sent” as one of the caretakers put it, despite Maxine’s feelings of occasionally being a burden because of the language barrier. It seems nurturing a crying baby doesn’t need any verbal translation, and the caretakers’ appreciation for Maxine’s help was expressed through hugs and a party for her final day.
Make a difference during babies’ critical time of development
We were five unintentional “caretakers” the day we went to the daycare, and even with only half of the babies in attendance, it was a lot of work to entertain, feed, clean, and give each one of them the attention they deserve for their healthy development.
I sat amongst the crawling lot, my legs like mountains for climbing, my shoe a foreign binky to suck (which I replaced quickly with a stuffed bunny), and my glasses a new source of entertainment for curious eyes. Our Communications team jumped in with open arms alongside Maxine, and we left with full hearts, among happy, napping babies. We even managed to get a couple of cute snaps.
If you are able to adapt easily, and are quick to learn —the language, the customs, the culture— you will thrive in this environment. Maxine, Australia, Volunteer at Daycare
Learn more about this project and ask questions, here!