A young Sylvan Lake volunteer is using her skill, education and training to help children in a poor, improvised area of Peru.
Barclay Martin, 25, leaves Saturday for El Porvenir, Peru, where she will spend nine months running video workshops with poor, underprivileged children.
Martin, who holds a master’s degree in International Development, is a volunteer with SKIP, (Supporting Kids In Peru) an international non-profit charity.
Martin, who has also volunteered in Ghana and Benin in West Africa, Bosnia and England is excited about her coming adventure.
Volunteering to help others less fortunate is rewarding and interesting, she said.
“You are giving back, but you also gain so much.”
Her volunteer adventures have taught her valuable lessons about what really is important in life, she noted.
“Material wealth doesn’t always equal happiness,” she stressed.
The friendly young woman said travelling for one’s pleasure only is different than experiencing other cultures as a volunteer.
Julie Nielsen, 21, who completed her teacher’s practicum at École Fox Run School has been working with Martin to involve students in the school with the SKIP program.
Nielsen, who is a third year education student from the University of Alberta helped students make postcards which Martin will take to Peru and she also wants to have the youngsters here create videos about their lives and families which will be available on-line.
“This project is important, we want be able to communicate with the kids in Peru about our lifestyle here.”
Both young women are grateful to École Fox Run School for their involvement and support with the project.
The public education systems in Peru are not free and many families cannot afford the cost which means, for many uneducated parents, the difference that an education can make in their children’s futures remains unrealized.
In addition, a wide range of social problems ranging from family violence to drug dependency, are disturbing issues which need to be addressed.
As well as providing educational support, SKIP volunteers strive to educate and empower parents so they can improve their own living circumstances.
Social work and psychological support also helps parents deal with difficult issues and gain better understanding about how to manage their children’s behaviour.