Conscious of the lack of hospital-based classrooms in the country and aware of their existence worldwide, Aprendo Contigo saw the obligation to create an educational/recreational program based on the immense needs shown by the young Peruvian patients.
Aprendo Contigo is born out of a deep pain, the devastating loss of a son, and the ability of translating this loss into an act that would benefit many. Because of this life changing event is how Ana Fernadez de Gaveglio, mother of Fabrizio ( who died of cancer) reaches out to Carla Cavassa Canessa, a well known educator. As a team they would then decide to place this incredible project in motion.
The project was presented to the INEN, the cancer hospital to Malili Montalbetti in charge of the Psychological department and Dr. Tony Wachtel in charge of the pediatrics department who accept the proposal.
With the support of ten enthusiastic women, the Program is founded on April 2000. The first hospital based classroom is inaugurated providing daily assistance to approximately 40 hospitalized children by providing service from Monday to Friday during the morning hours. In October of the same year the afternoon shift is incorporated into the program. In 2001 the Saturday morning and afternoon shifts follow as well as service within the Chemotherapy and Ambulatory Stations thus providing assistance to over 100 children daily. Parallel to all of this, there is a program geared towards parents which includes group interaction, psychological support, knitting workshops, and educational books and videos.
In March 2003 the activities in Posadita del Buen Pastor (shelter for abandoned HIV positive children) begins providing service during the morning shift. While it is not a health center, Aprendo Contigo saw the need to intervene as these children had no ongoing schooling and had not been accepted into the routine of regular schools because of the stigma related to their illness. Our main goal in this classroom was to prepare the children to attend regular schools. This goal was reached in December 2010 ending our activities in this location.
Aprendo Contigo was at the Hogar Clinica San Juan de Dios from January 2006 until January 2013 providing education and entertainment to children with neurological and orthopedic problems. Our withdrawal came about after the clinic managers decided not to renew our contract for administrative reasons.
In February 2009 Aprendo Contigo starts activities in INSN- The Children Hospital attending the Pneumology wing. Thanks to an agreement with the ladies volunteers of the Hospital, we were assigned an area to set up our classroom. We actually attend 250 hospitalized children in more than 10 different wings. but our goal is to grow within this hospital until we attend the 600 beds it has.
Aprendo Contigo has been adapted to our current reality based on many factors such as: background of the population being served, variety of dialects spoken throughout the country and last, but not least, the different levels of education.
Having discovered that patients had abilities at various stages of development we adapted our teaching methods into an all inclusive system. Needless to say, this has been one of the most challenging aspects of the program, but we have been able to implement a solution by acquiring specialized teaching materials and providing additional training to the EA’s in their use. We also discovered that upon evaluation of the child, during the admission phase, the educational grade assigned to them not always corresponded to the assigned level by the parent school. So, in order to adapt to this dilemma, we created a multi-grade classroom system by grouping children from different grade levels and guiding them to work on developing a common subject while at the same time developing the skills appropriate to their grade level.
Today, Aprendo Contigo counts with the support of over 200 volunteers from different professions, nationalities and age groups, who have made a solemn commitment to the children: Smile at Life and…….
"Together we will make time wait… a time of hope"