The Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre

Click here to watch our video which presents the story, objectives and the dreams of the Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre.

The Up Close Bolivia team were founders of the Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre and this project was where our volunteering programme was born. It therefore continues to be at the heart of our work. The centre is now completely managed by local families, whilst our role is to provide ongoing support through fundraising and also the creativity and commitment of our volunteers.

The Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre was born in 2004 from a dream held by the local Mother’s Club of Mallasa and our local community. We dreamt of a community nursery, where families could access services that would respect their cultural background and where our children could have the right to learn and play in an atmosphere of creativity and security. It is a community run centre for local children, many from poor backgrounds, who are aged six months to four years in Mallasa. It is a very happy nursery run by local families and which employs 9 local women called Aunties or “Tias”, many of whom belong to the Aymara ethnic group.

However, funds are always stretched and we are understaffed. We only have funding for one teacher for every 16 children, so the local women who work as educators certainly have their hands full, especially with the 3-4 year olds who have so much energy! Our aim is to provide quality, integrated childcare for children from different backgrounds, enabling their parents – especially women – to take up employment opportunities outside of the home. Thanks to the commitment and hard work of the local women and Up Close volunteers, around 60 children currently benefit from our services at the centre. We hope to continue improving what we can offer the children, as well as the professional development of the 10 locally trained women who run the centre.

  • How can you participate as a volunteer? Volunteers are an extra pair of hands, working alongside the educators, in the daily running of the nursery and taking care of the children. Volunteers help preparing and serving meals and clearing up afterwards. They also bring creativity and new ideas which inspire the local educators and their families. Volunteers also participate in cultural activities and festivities – which happen with amazing frequency – often being pulled into traditional dance shows or to prepare the children to sing or perform in front of their parents and the wider community.

Volunteers can work full time of part time. The Valley of the Moon Nursery runs from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Lunch and snacks are provided.