The last weekend of my fellowship was the most impactful moment of my trip and something I did not expect would happen when I first embarked to Buenos Aires. It sparked from a passion that my boss and I have in common and it all came together with full success in the planning of a week.
One day speaking with my boss, Rocio we spoke about my organization Seeds of Change. I explained to her my frustration in not being able to go to Kenya and help out the Massai Tribe and had this money and just wanted to go out and help. She said that she had been feeling that Fundacion de la Tierra was lacking something we began to brain storm and came up with Playing for Change Project. We both agreed that it was difficult to get children to love nature if they could not go out and play if they were too cold and didn’t have sweaters or take care of animals if all they cared about was figuring out where they will get their next meal. She showed me locations in Argentina that we could help out. With that in mind Playing for change is a project that its mission is based on promoting the rights of children in Argentina. My foundation Seeds of Change formed an agreement with Fundacion de la Tierra where we seek schools, food shelters and community shelters that are in underdeveloped communities. Our philosophy is by connecting them to playing in nature at a young age will develop a love for nature. Playing gives a sense of hope in children and teens. With the instruments from both foundations combined, Fundacion de la Tierra will do workshops and games in nature while Seeds of Change will provide any basic necessities for the community. Playing is the root and essence of the human culture and an activity that begins during childhood and lasts through out a lifetime.
The first launch of Playing for Change was in Salta, Argentina (another province 2 hours away by plane.) we presented the project to Andes Lineas Aereas seeking for sponsorship of three volunteers, the agreed. I went out to the China Town of educational supplies and bought pencils, crayons, pencil pouches, erasers and notebooks for each child that would be at the food shelter. Along with Rocio and the team I’ve been working with we collected clothing donations and bought hats and gloves for the kiddies too. In all the excitement we were ready to travel and have some fun! I planned out the weekend filled with activities. We gave out the pouches with the goodies and the first activity was free art inspired by nature. I sat next to the kids and got to know their stories and hours went by we were enjoying ourselves so much that the rest of the activities were delayed. I later learned that the community we were helping it was very common for the parents to be drug addicts and to have from 5 to 11 children. I work with children back home and I know that kids get bored easily and are ready to move on to different activities constantly. These children just wanted to talk and to learn to draw,one little boy Rodrigo told me “Teach me to draw that giraffe, no one has ever taught me, now that I thin of it no adult has ever sat next to me one on one and spent time with me.” This broke my heart because that is when I realized these kids need attention, love and care above anything else that is what they seek the most. Throughout the weekend we did other activities like airplane races, movie afternoon and popcorn, bird observations outside, card games and more. We also made sure to provide the shelter with enough food for a couple of months and seeds to plant for their own vegetable garden. These children cared for each other. Six year old sisters would feed their baby siblings and carry them around, they raise each other and their rights to be children and just enjoy being one are stripped away because of the neglect of their parents. This project has become dear to my heart and will be continued in Argentina by Rocio and the Fundacion de la Tierra. This project will now bring the joy of playing to other children and that is what I live for.