Social Work: Community Intervention

According to I. Martin (1987), Community Education has evolved from three main strands. Following our needs assessment of trying to improve a few areas of education (primary areas such as English, Math) with the children at the orphanage, the second strand of community education was attempted. The second strand of Community Education involved providing compensatory education to the children. Some of the children in the orphanage were unfortunate enough to not have been enrolled in a school until at an age where they were way behind the curriculum.

Very few of them seemed to be working at their suited level in their respective schools. To compensate for this we divided ourselves among the twenty eight children to attempt to teach them Math and English. Fortunately, we had two teachers in our group who structured lessons for some of the children while the others were given one on one tutoring based on school work they had trouble understanding. Community Development has been defined as organized efforts of people to improve the conditions of community life and the capacity of the people for participation, self-direction, and integrated effort in community affairs.

In this case, the community we are talking about is the orphanage. Community development places emphasis on promoting self-help through education. Our process of community development began with our group firstly visiting the orphanage and speaking to the founder and the children after introducing ourselves. Next as part of the process, we carried out a needs assessment based on our meeting at the orphanage where everyone had an input to say what they wanted from our group. And based on most of them said we decided upon the enhancement of their numeracy and literacy skills.

One characteristic of Community Development is that though the development is concerned with all members of a community, not all of them will be willing to participate. This was experienced at the orphanage where the older boys, though at times we got them to participate, would rather help the workers in the yard rather than let us work with them. Community development, instead of just dealing with one specific aspect, it entails developing total community life and addressing all its needs. Though we were not required to address all their needs, we attempted to address literacy and numeracy.

We also did crafts to improve their creativity. In the process of doing these planned educational activities, there were times when we taught them unplanned lessons that were valuable to them such as helping them to realize that to be able to do things they must first give it a try and also when we noticed that one boy was not able to use a scissors we attempted to improve his motor skills with a simple task of cutting drawn lines. In building on the community assets, we found that the orphanage had the required materials (e. g. textbooks) so all that our group needed to do was make ourselves useful to the children.

With increasing the skills of the children, we taught them literacy and numeracy which are two basic things that will benefit them in the future and for a lifetime We also baked cakes and biscuits with them attempting to teach them to cooperate among themselves. This cooperation was observed when they let each other take turns at making the biscuits. With the crafts we did with them we challenged their creativity and patience. With the pep talks we had with some of the children we observed that the talks helped to build some confidence in some of the children.

Along with the community education and community development, understanding the children we were working with was very important. The backgrounds of the members in our group were very different from the experiences of the children. We needed to understand why they might behave a certain way. The founder of the orphanage helped us in this way by telling us about the children and their experiences before they came to the orphanage. We had an idea of what kind of behavior to expect from the children. We understood that it would at times get difficult but we were not to judge them.

We understood why they behaved in certain ways and we were mostly successful at dealing appropriately with their behavior. We made it a point to not appear in anyway better than they were and that we were there not only for our own means but also so that we can be of service to them and in turn help improve themselves. Community Profile The Bless the Children Home Orphanage is a registered non profitable organization whose mission is to help all needy children of different races, religion and background; to feed, house, clothe and give them an education. Founded by Mr. & Mrs.

Surujpaul, the Home was opened on October 1st, 2008 and is located at Industry, East Coast Demerara. The Orphanage to date consists of twenty eight children, –boys, —girls, of which — are Indians, and –blacks, —-Amerindian, —mixed race. Their ages range from three years to seventeen years old. These children share a common history of coming from improvised communities with minute or no rudimentary education. Some were sexually abused or physically abused, while some were rejected and neglected. And some parents have died, leaving no legal guardian to take care of them.

All the children from four years and above attend school; the ones 4-6 yrs old attend the Plindola Nursery School, and the ones from 6 years to twelve years old attend the Graham’s Hall Primary School. The others above 12 yrs attend the Cummings Lodge Secondary School, and Plaisance Community High School. The children although from different race, creed or color are Christianized once they become a member of the orphanage. They are taught the principles of the bible daily. They have daily morning devotion and in the evening they are taught stories from the bible along with their evening prayers.

Every Sunday it is compulsory for them to attend church services. The children are taught to live a ‘Christian life’, and sing praises to their God. The children are disciplined or punished when they have don’t abide by the rules of the Orphanage. Their punishment takes different measures, depending how severe they bend the rules. For misbehavior, they are not given snacks. Other forms of punishment include going to their rooms (quiet time) and not allowing them to participate in any recreational activities they enjoy doing. Apart from the Christian principles that the children must follow, there is also a daily schedule hat they must abide with. This schedule is a daily time table that delegates each child of what minor chores they are expected to do. They wash their clothes and clean their rooms and their surrounding, help in the kitchen to wash the dishes and even to prepare meals. Apart from minor chores, they children have schedule time for their meals, school/homework time, recreation time, sleep time, etc. Given the children’s abusive and neglected background before they came to the Orphanage, they have been psychologically scared, some displaying deviant behaviours, mood swings etc.

Mr. Surujpaul is a qualified Pastor and prays for the children along with his church members so their hurt and gruesome pain can be alleviated. Professional help is also afforded to them as well. Medical Doctors, Social Workers and a Psychologist volunteer their services towards the cause. Apart from that, there are routine visits from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Social Work Department. The children are well kept and fed; no one seems to be in lack of anything materially. Every child has got a bank account for themselves.

Through donated funds and their pocket piece, they are taught to save. At the age of eighteen, it is expected that they are in the field of employment and move on with their lives. (i. e. they move out from the Orphanage) The children work together, play together, especially among their own age groups. They share a special bond of being one big happy family that care for each other. Petty fights are settled among themselves and the bigger ones look out for the smaller ones. It’s truly amazing to find such unity among the children.

They are also very friendly children and are always open to guests and visitors that arrive at the orphanage. The building of the Orphanage is relatively new; the place they call ‘home’ is well maintained. All fixtures and light are well updated. And everything inside their home is well packed and kept in order. The Orphanage apart from its owners has six staff-Manager, Cook, Three House parents, and a Driver. The Orphanage also has a part time security guard to ensure the safety of this community.

The Orphanage’s main source of income is fundamentally obtained through donations from friends and families, churches, stake holders abroad, especially from the USA and Canada, and fund raising activities. Food items are donated almost monthly by local supermarkets and grocery stores. Also families and friends and church members donate lunch, dinner and snacks regularly to the children. The children’s clothing are also donated through same means. Some children are also sponsored monthly by individuals/families who support the “Sponsor a child for $50 USD a month” program.

Community needs On July 18th, 2012, our group of six members visited the Orphanage. We were given a very warm welcome by the children, especially the younger ones. Each one of us introduced ourselves to them and indicated our purpose of being with them. Then each child was also given the opportunity to introduce themselves and indicate their hobbies. What we realized is that most of the children liked to sing, and play cricket, a few liked drawing and watching cartoons. As part of our needs assessment process we directly asked the children of what help we may provide to them.

They all indicated they were poor in basic Math and English skills. Eighty percent of the children above seven years old indicated they wanted to learn to read, spell, and improve of their grammar skills, while the remaining twenty wanted help in their mathematics skills. The children below the age of six asked to sing and play with them. Having made direct contact with the children about their needs, we decided to arrange them into three groups according to their ages and they were asked to name their respective groups.

The 3-6 yrs old were named the Superheroes, the 7-12 yrs old were known as the White Diamonds and the teenagers, 13 -16 yrs old named themselves the Untouchables. With the knowledge and expertise of two trained teachers who we were fortunate to have had in our group, an activity planner was organized with a list of topics to complete with the children with a given amount of time (thirty two hours) for a six and a half week period ( 5 hour per week- two days a week).

Since the children were divided into three groups, two of us were responsible for each group. Apart from the planned numeracy and literacy skills we planned for them, we also made it fun through games and crafts. We also decided to teach them a craft skill of baking banana oats cookies and baking a cake. We the group members believe that having an education is a form of empowering the minds of our youths today in accordance with Convention on Rights of a Child which came into force Sep, 02nd, 1990. Article 29 1.

States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to: (a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential; (b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; (c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own; (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin; Community resources The dining room was transformed into a classroom set up for the three groups. The available textbooks that the children used in their schools were a great asset to helping us complete the below mentioned program. We the group members used our primary and secondary school books that we found relevant to helping the children with their educational activities.

Our group donated the necessary exercise books, pencils, pens, craft paper, paint for the basic numeracy and literacy activities and the ingredients for the baking endeavor. Age group| Activities| Group Members| 3-6 years | Language Pre Reading Activities:- Identify, trace and write letters of the alphabet. – Identify and colour odd objects from series. Literacy: – Pronounce the sounds of the letters of the Alphabet and list words with those sounds. – Differentiate Vowels from consonants. -Pronounce the short vowel sounds. – List words and colour pictures with initial short vowel sound. Grammar: Opposites: Identify big & small pictures and objects. List and draw examples of nouns. Composition Writing: Write sentences on the topic : My Self .