Issue - July 2009

July 2009


In this issue: Rachel Dakin tell us about her visit to Community of Producers in Arts; Rebecca Wearmouth writes about El Hogar de Ninas San Francisco; before concluding Walter Sanchez C describes the art of Stained more...

July 2009

Home Is Where the Heart Is

El Hogar de Niñas San Francisco is an orphanage which does not just care for its girls; it helps them to develop an education and skills, preparing them for a sustainable life once they leave the orphanage. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly difficult to provide and they are now seeking generous individuals who can help them to maintain their programme.

Rebecca Wearmouth
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Stockton - United Kingdom

Located in Sacaba, El Hogar de Niñas San Francisco (el Hogar) is an all-girls orphanage that seeks to raise educated and well-rounded girls, thus providing them with good prospects for the future. The orphanage was built in 1993 through the work of a group of sisters from the Catholic Church and was sponsored by a selection of foundations from Germany and Italy. Orphanage director Sister Anna Kurysz explains that the main aim of the orphanage is to “support children that do not have a mother or father or that only have one parent…some of the girls have come from really poor families or have suffered rape inside the family, but this is only a small amount of the girls.” Sister Anna estimates that in fifteen years around one hundred and fifty-two girls have been through the orphanage. Hogar currently houses approximately seventy-one girls, ranging from around three years old up to twenty-six.

Hogar is clearly more than just an institute to those that live and work there. Magdalena Moll and Monika Wiacek were on holiday in South America from Krakow, Poland when they visited Hogar and, after seeing the work being done at the orphanage, they decided to return at the end of their trip and volunteer there. They try to explain what it is about Hogar that makes it such a special place for them: “It’s a magic place…the people here are so open…the kids are amazing…when you are away from them you miss them and you want to spend more time with them…you can’t help but love them,” says Magda. “Everyone that works here tries to make it homely for [the girls] so it’s not like an institution and its more like a home for them,” continues Monika, “Of course it’s impossible to make it exactly like a home when there are so many kids but its not like they have to eat at a certain hour or sit in a certain place… as you can see (points to girls pulling on Magda´s earrings)!” What Monika says about the orphanage being more than an institution does seem to ring true when one visits Hogar, there is a real family feel about the place.

The girls at Hogar are given a chance to truly develop as individuals. Education is first and foremost, it is compulsory that every girl attends school, but more than just simply being made to attend school, the girls must also continue to maintain a certain grade in order to remain at Hogar. Not that the girls are left to accomplish this task alone, “not only do the sisters help them study, but they also have teachers in the afternoon who come in to help them,” explains Monika. The girls are also permitted to remain in the orphanage whilst they study at University. In addition to their school education, the girls are offered language and ballet classes, as well as being taught a range of practical skills, including: embroidery, painting, gardening, cooking, baking and housework. Hogar has a workshop in which the girls can craft traditional costumes, such as chacarera, cueca, tinkus, and saya, and more modern blouses and t-shirts. The girls also make table clothes, ornate jars and decorative soaps depicting sceneries typical of South America. The items the girls craft are often then sold to local churches and other organizations; with the money from the sales going back into the orphanage. The orphanage ensures that the girls receive support for any emotional damage they may have suffered by having psychologists visit the orphanage twice a week for sessions with them. Hogar encourages the girls to have a life beyond the orphanage and the girls benefit from a wide variety of contacts, “they have contact with the church, with the sisters, with us, they’re used to meeting people from different countries- I think it helps them… You can look at the map and show them where Europe is, where Poland is and where England is-they learn through the people they meet,” explains Monika. Trips, such as a recent trip around Bolivia are an additional enriching experience for the girls. “It is beneficial for the girls to get away from their usual home and complications and to see the world out there… We went to Copacabana, La Paz and Tiwanaku, we were visiting their heritage and it was the first time that any of the girls had visited Tiwanaku. It’s good for them to spend time together as well,” says Monika.

However, it is increasingly difficult for El Hogar de Niñas San Francisco to provide such a well-rounded up bringing for the girls as it does not have sufficient funds to pay its employees’ salaries. As a result, the orphanage faces difficulties in its daily operations and the majority of the work is done by the sisters, volunteers and the orphans together, with the girls washing all their own clothes, cleaning the house and managing the vegetable and flower gardens. Even their recent trip was only made possible through the donations of Monika and Magda’s friends and family. In order to continue offering its girls the life opportunities it currently does, Hogar is seeking individuals who would be willing to become a Parent-of-Heart for a child at the orphanage. The idea of the Parent-of-the-Heart initiative is that an individual sponsors a girl and that the money can then go towards food, materials for school (with the possibility of the girl going to university), repairs for their home and anything other the girl may require.

El Hogar de Niñas San Fransico is truly a wonderful place to visit, it has a friendlier and more welcoming atmosphere than I ever expected from an orphanage. The girls at the orphanage are clearly happy and the close, family-like relationship between them and those that work at the orphanage is evident. The amount of opportunities the orphanage seeks to provide is inspirational, especially when one considers how limited the opportunities for these girls may have been without the orphanage. Hogar is something to be truly proud of being involved in; if you are in any way interested in helping this worthy cause then please contact: ninas.

The Art of Stained

The art of stained glass spread from Europe to America during the 19th Century due to a combination of renewed interest in Gothic art, the summit of the Art Nouveau and the peak of the Belle Epoque. The 20th century continued to strengthen the bonds between architecture and glass as a decorative art. In addition, there was a contribution from a new modernist sensibility which was tied to the industrialization of society. This renewed spirit was expressed in visible changes in architectural conceptions in two ways. (1) The opening of conventional walls to “walls of light “, manifested in wide windows using stained glass. (2) New, ultramodern conceptions expressed through the use of new materials and futuristic designs.

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