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Preparing for Independence

A program at NPH El Salvador is teaching life skills to a group of special needs students with the goal that they can live independently in the future.

Learning to make pastaReported by Carmina Salazar
Communication Officer, NPH El Salvador

November 15, 2018

The former ABC program has a new name now: “Habilidades para la vida” (Abilities for Life). As its name suggests, our kids not only learn basic subjects – Math, Literature, Social Studies, Science, etc. – they also learn everyday activities which will help them in their lives.

Teacher Veronica is in charge of the class. She started working at NPH when the school began in 2000. She graduated as a Special Education teacher and she proudly talks about her class: “There are currently seven students in the class. We try to develop the students’ abilities by working in two workshops: cooking and recycling paper. It is good to see the students get involved in the activities in both workshops. They really like to spend time in this place because they feel independent.”

The students in the class each have their own struggles in the learning process, which is why it is important to create confidence among themselves and why participating in the workshops really makes a difference in their lives. One workshop focuses on day-to-day important life skills – cooking, while the other – paper recycling – focuses more on setting the young adults up with skills to propel them to successful work in the future.

“In the cooking workshop, we learn different recipes every week, based on what they want to learn to prepare. At the end of each class, we share the dish that was prepared and we take turns cleaning the room,” says Veronica. Once they have learned different dishes, each student chooses a recipe he or she liked and prepares it by themselves for their classmates. It’s like an evaluation for them.”

Visiting a cooking class was very exciting for the students. They were engaged in preparing a delicious dish to share afterwards. During this class, they prepared pasta. Each student had a specific role, according to their abilities. After some time of preparation, the dish was ready, and we all got to share.

“In the recycling paper workshop, we learn how to create different crafts like cards, picture frames, bookmarks, etc. and we carry out the whole process of creating the decorative paper which we use for doing the crafts,” Veronica explains. “It is good for them to learn the whole recycling process.”

The aim of this class is to teach the students to develop themselves in the world outside, so they carry out a trip to the city every two months. In these trips, the students go out with their teacher and each of them has an amount of money. They go to the market in order to learn how to buy items by themselves. They take the bus, walk on the streets and decide what they want to buy. “It is important for them to learn how to manage life outside NPH.”

Education is one of the most important wishes that NPH Founder Fr. William B. Wasson had for his kids, as he believed that education would lift his children and change their lives, thus breaking the cycle of poverty. And as Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

We are sure that our kids will succeed in life with the help of their generous supporters as well as their own efforts.

Related Information:
NPH El Salvador
How Your Help Makes an Impact at NPH
Educational Programs

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Photo above: Preparing pasta in class; Photos below: One of the students turning the stove on in order to start cooking; Teacher Veronica explaining a recipe to the students; A group of visitors working in the recycling paper workshop.