Children's, Youth &
Community Center

Social work with love and respect


Meet our social worker, Nelmar Marquina, 31. Every day she works in the community to support the rights of our children and adolescents.

“SALEM stands for the support of children through the love and respect that each individual deserves”

Why do you like working with children, adolescents and families?

I chose to pursue a career as a social worker, contributing to the well-being of families which create the well being and form the “social core“ of society as a whole. Children are the mirror image of their parents. Working with children not only affects their personal development, but also the lives of every other family member.

I used to want to be a teacher because I always loved being around children. However later on I found out that social work suits me even better, because I also have contact with the parents and I’m almost a part of the family.

What is it like to work at SALEM?

SALEM is very structured but its also very flexible. The direct, constant and individual contact with the people we work with is very important. Its never monotonous and static, but always varied.

Peaceful living , respect for the individual and the environment, and a balanced and conscious diet play a big role here. Those things are also important to me in my personal life. I would like to see more of the SALEM philosophy and this kind of work being introduced in more places around the world.

SALEM stands for the support of children through the love and respect that each individual deserves.

What is your professional contribution to the families, children and youth in Mindo?

My goal is for all of the families I work with to feel recognised and appreciated. Only then can my work with the children succeed. My work encompasses very different activities. For example, I take care of the physical well-being of family members through regular health checks. I also take an interest in the everyday life and activities of each family.

A major step forward has been the introduction of the ‘support scale’ , a method to help reduce the behavioural problems of children and adolescents through community service and special support. We have a clear, agreed code of conduct here at SALEM. The support scale consists of seven levels.and if a child contravenes our code of conduct they enter the first level. Continued bad behaviour means they go up one level.

We treat each child individually according to his needs, and depending on what level a child is on we assign them different tasks and chores around SALEM. We review each case formally every two weeks. We always share the results in direct dialogue with the parents in order to work together for the benefit of the child.

Parallel to the ‘support scale’ we’ve introduced the „SALEM Stars hall of fame“ where we recognise and praise children who show exemplary behaviour, a special commitment to the group or are particularly helpful.

What do you like most about SALEM?

I am a big fan of the Montessori schooling in SALEM where learning is playful and mutual respect plays a central role. I want to introduce this wonderful method in my own family so the children are clear that they have the same rights as the adults.

I also really like the daily review meeting at the end of the day. when the entire SALEM team comes together to reflect on the days events and look for ways to make the next day even better.


Donate now!

Nelmars valuable work with local children and families is in danger of being stopped due to a lack of funds. Can you support us to maintain our Family counselling services within the local community? Please consider making a small donation or Sponsoring our project!

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