In the course of this summer we welcomed 4 new managers at Oye LENA: Jacqueline, Kaat, Charlotte and Sharon (from left to right). They all have one thing in common, a big heart for children. They also have their own unique talents. Read on to find out more.
MEET CHARLOTTE D’HALEWIN.
“I am mom to a beautiful almost 7-year-old daughter, Ella. I am grateful for the family I grew up in and in life I follow my heart. By training I am a psychologist and for over 10 years I have owned my own business. For the last 5 years I have supported business leaders to be motivational leaders. So that they, in turn, could create a workplace that people were happy to get out of bed for. Since the beginning of July I have been in Curahuasi and will stay until the end of May 2022.
Charlotte, how did you end up working at Oye LENA?
I had just returned from Spain, where I stayed for 6 months, and saw a vacancy for a volunteer manager for an educational project in Peru. I immediately knew that this was the next step for me.
What is your function within this organization?
Initially, I am responsible for the team of volunteers. My role is to make sure that they are well taken care of, that they feel good about being here and that they contribute in a meaningful way to the project. In addition, I am also responsible for expanding the awareness of Oye LENA and attracting new sponsors and partners. And for now, I am also teaching English to some of our children here.
You have been staying here for a few months now, what moment do you look back on with a smile?
My heart fills with warmth when I think back of the many hugs I have received from the children here. Then you feel the gratitude and know that you are doing something beautiful and important.
READ HERE WHO JACQUELINE CROUGHS IS
“I am Jacqueline and I am from the Netherlands. I am married to Léon and together we have three, by now grown-up, children. This year, for the first time, I became the (proud) grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter. Since I was 20 years old I have been working in education, mainly with children between 4 and 10 years old. I will stay here at the project until May or June 2022. Then I will be working here for 9 to 10 months.”
What made you choose to volunteer at Oye LENA?
About 1.5 years ago I saw an ad on Facebook asking for private classes for two children of the founders (Stefanie and Gilder) in the morning and help on the project in the afternoon. The chance to live in Peru for a longer period of time and get to know the customs of the country. Learning to speak the Spanish language, which I had been trying to master for some time. All this combined with working with underprivileged children made the picture complete for me. At that time Corona put a stop to it, but fortunately postponement did not turn into cancellation.
Within the organization you have your own responsibility, can you tell us a bit more about that?
My biggest responsibility here is to give good lessons to the three Belgian children (Stefanie & Gilder’s children together with Charlotte’s daughter) so that when they return to Belgium they can join their group again. In the afternoon I help to organize the activities for the toddlers.
What is the highlight of your day?
The highlight of my day is always when I, even if it is only one child, have been able to make them happy and/or have helped them in their development! To see the smile of a child, when he or she discovers that “something” has succeeded, discovers that he or she can do something….. that is wonderful!
ANOTHER COORDINATOR AT OYE LENA IS KAAT THYS
I am Kaat Thys, 22 years old and I come from Kalmthout. In my spare time I’ve always danced and was in the yought movement . This is where my love for children comes from. I found my passion during my education Orthopedagogy; the passion of working with young people with a mental disability. (Orthopedagogy refers to the science of education, the purpose of which is to support people in need of guidance.) My final internship I spent at Oye LENA. Because of the pandemic I had to finish it early and this felt like an unfinished story.
So you stayed at Oye LENA before, what made you return to Curahuasi?
I think it is a wonderful project and feel that my presence here can be a real added value. This is for Oye LENA itself, as well as for the children. Especially with the experience that I have gained in the field, I decided to return!
What are your tasks within Oye LENA?
I am responsible for the children with special needs. From children with Down’s syndrome, autism to children with multiple disabilities,…I also offer support to the other teachers and ensure that the administration is maintained. In the afternoon I give lessons to the smallest toddlers, including sports and individual counseling.
What do you, while working with the children, get the most satisfaction from?
This pleasure I get mostly from working with the special students. The bond we build with them is indescribable. When they have acheived a new goal or had a fun day, my day can’t go wrong. Also when they trust you and therefore dare to push their limits, I am very happy.
SHARON JOINED THE TEAM AS THE LAST COORDINATOR
You love to travel. Did your love for travelling bring you to Oye LENA?
I am 25 years old now and in the past years I have had the opportunity to discover many countries such as Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil and now Peru. I love to travel, but I love even more to step out of my comfort zone. In my opinion, you can travel anywhere. You just have to be open to contact with the locals, the customs and culture with then, the risk of falling hopelessly in love with the country and the resilience of the people there. In addition, you also learn a lot about yourself on such trips. In Brazil I learned that being part of and contributing to the growth of children is the most beautiful thing there is. By training I am a criminologist and I believe that education is the strongest weapon for change there is. It is this curiosity about the local culture and my passion for education that drove me to get involved in Oye LENA.
What will you be responsible for in the organization over the next 10 months?
Within Oye LENA, I will be the person responsible for the elementary school children for 10 months. Here the focus will be on giving English lessons for the beginners and more advanced students. In addition, we will also work on a course that the people in charge and volunteers after me can use with plenty of tips & tricks. In addition, I will also help develop the workshops around sexual education, first aid, self-confidence, etc.
What are you looking forward to the most now that you are here?
In the past I have been working at a great project in Brazil. Here at Oye LENA I expect to expand my knowledge of “starting projects and keeping them running” even further. All this in order to hopefully start a project myself in the future. Of my time in Peru I mainly expect to see the children grow, because that is the most beautiful thing. Discovering the diversity and beauty of the local culture, and with a new experience richer, I’m ready for the next adventure.
Every year we are looking for 4 new coordinators.
Would you like to replace us? Starting in March, we would like to welcome you.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.