Team spirit – our teenagers
There are 12 teenagers, aged 12 to 21, in the most grown-up group in SALEM. Some of them have already been coming to SALEM on a daily basis for many years, others just for a couple months, but one thing is clear: They have real team spirit – in no small part due to their shared love of music.
The adolescents start each tutorial with a chat about everyone’s issues and worries. When someone has a problem, the others try to support them by sharing their own experiences, giving advice or simply listening.
Then it is time for school homework – which they unfortunately have a lot of. Working with Montessori materials often helps them since these are more illustrative and hands-on than their classes at school. Furthermore Montessori materials promote learning out of curiosity rather than pure rote memorization and also help to prepare the kids for the admission exams for university. In fact, many of them would like to study at university. Some children can realize this dream thanks to Salem’s scholarship program Vivir mi vida.
Many adolescents undertake different jobs in the project, for example gardening, cooking or caring for the younger children. In general, there is set a focus on taking responsibility for others and themselves many of the adolescents are very close to adulthood themselves. In one of their projects they defined their rights and duties in SALEM. Additionally, they plan their weekly program and excursions on their own. Taking responsibility we hope they will learn to become independent, self-determined and responsible adults.
In addition there are numerous leisure opportunities: environmental projects, carpentry, handicrafts and music classes. What began with the small youth band Pachamalta, has evolved to become a great passion for many of the adolescents with regular performances all around Mindo. The joy of music and the camaraderie in the group Pachamalta has been a great reason for the strong friendships they have built over the years.