Our children with special needs start jobs at our home
May 7, 2012 - Guatemala
At Casa San Andres, we have 14 children who live in a section for children with special needs; however, these are not the only children at the home that have special needs. We also have other children with that have special needs, but are higher functioning and are able to live with the other children. They just learn a little bit slower than everyone else. At the beginning of this year, a few of these children turned over a new leaf. In January, some of them started working in our various workshops and in other areas of our home. Some of these children include Luis, Isa, and Carmen, and they are all so excited to partake in these workshops.
Luis was bored just going to school and he was keen on starting a job and doing something in addition to schoolwork. He began by working fulltime on our farm and he is happy to be helping out his NPH family in this manner. He is especially proud of having learned the skill of milking. You can often find him sitting alongside the cow and looking forward to his day at work. Luis is enjoying his days on the farm and he is thankful to have an opportunity to be doing something different every day.
Isa, being one of the older ones in her section, did not go to school during the past year. Instead, she is spending her days helping the home’s caregivers that are in her section with the daily work. When Isa started working in the kitchen this year, it felt like a dream come true for her. Now, she has a big smile on her face when her boss compliments her for the great job that she's doing and for the great motivation that she has demonstrated every morning since beginning full-time work in the kitchen. You can see her sense of accomplishment and happiness.
Last, but certainly not least we have Carmen. Carmen started her job working in the bakery after finishing school last year. At first, she was very skeptical about whether she would be able to meet the requirements of her job in the bakery. Now, Carmen is handling the machines at the bakery like a professional. Since it just comes so naturally to her, one would think she has been doing it for years. Every morning she takes individual classes with one of our instructors in the bakery to learn a more about the different types of bread that we bake and about other things that she needs to learn to do the best possible job.
Each of these three individuals is united by the fact that they have certain special needs. Their special needs require a bit more flexibility and preparation by the caregivers when assigning workshops and jobs. It is pertinent for the caretakers to find positions for them where they can do a good job, where they can do something that interests them and where their handicaps do not make it difficult for them to succeed.
For the best possible integration into these positions, much thought and preparation is required. Thus, the caregivers spend a lot of time evaluating the different workshops, holding conversations with the foremen in the workshops and, of course, talking to the kids in order to figure out what they would like to do. Now that we are five months into the year, there is a balance in their lives both with work and as being children. We are proud of our children for undertaking these tasks and we are glad that they are happy, have a sense of accomplishment, and like what they are doing.