Children who take part in the Ninos project will get two meals per day, six days per week as long as they attend primary school. Breakfast when they come in and a hot meal before they start school in the afternoon. The children’s restaurant is no soup kitchen. The children cozily sit at small tables, four at each table, and are allowed to eat as much as they want without being disturbed. Professional and enthusiastic cooks provide varied and healthy menus.
Assistance with home work
The schools which the children attend are often very disciplined and loveless. Children are often told point-blank that they are no good. For this reason Ninos keeps a team of dedicated people who give extra tuition, stimulating the children in a positive way. Also the children can make their homework in quiet surroundings. In their own primitive houses with many brothers and sisters they often lack this opportunity.
Sports and games
A lot of time is spent on sports by a professional gym instructor in a specially built gymnastic hall of large proportions. In Peru sports are very important and it is generally known that sports reduce stress and improve team spirit. Therefore it is considered of paramount importance. There are Ninos soccer teams who train fanatically and enter competitions.
During the day the children have plenty possibilities to play to their hearts’ content on the sites of the children’s restaurants.
GP and dentist
A local physician and dentist offer help on a regular basis. Alas, this is highly necessary because the children lack normal care. Malnutrition, completely ruined teeth, tuberculosis, lung and skin diseases are normal. Children with poor eyesight get spectacles.
The circumstances in which the children have to live are often a shame. They often literary live in the mud and have never been under a shower. Therefore attention is paid to their personal hygiene. After each meal they brush their teeth with their own toothbrush
And they shower regularly. All children love it.
Parties and dancing
A birthday, a jubilee, a special day and of course Christmas are celebrated enthusiastically. The children love dancing. The music starts, the corn lemonade is passed around and for a short while they forget their misery.
We all know that reading is important, especially for a child. By identifying himself with a story and using his fantasy a child gets the chance to be a child. For this reason Jolanda has built two libraries where children hanging back in big cushions can read as much and as long as they like. They love to do this. The supervisor also reads to them.
Recently a real cinema has been opened at the site. Small but beautiful, with 18 seats. There isn't a movie house in the whole town of Cusco so this project can easily be called unique. The children can earn a visit to the cinema through a scoring system.
Whenever they do something well or aren't naughty they earn a point. This system works very well. By saving efficiently they earn enough points to go the cinema approx. once a month, popcorn and lemonade included!
Next to one of the restaurants is a large kitchen garden where vegetables and herbs are grown. Anyone of the children that likes to help can do so and the gardener teaches them the names of the plants and how to do some gardening.
Every week all the children take part in a circle talk. About fifteen children sit in a large circle and each at his turn may tell anything that comes to mind, worries him, or is afraid of.
No one is judged and there are no comments from the others. They only listen.
This set ritual is very effective. The fact that the children can unburden their souls makes them calmer and more open and gives them more self esteem.