1 Aug 2012

A letter.

Letter to all present and future members of Mediterranea ONG

My name is Maria Dolores, I’m the “children’s nurse” at the medical centre in Sa Pobla.
Every day I see between fifteen and twenty children who come for their vaccinations, to weigh themselves, to treat their injuries.....

One day I asked one of the mothers if she gave her 8 month old son chicken; her reply was that she gave him potatoes and carrots and chicken when she could, which wasn’t very often as her husband had been out of work for three years. She received government benefits of 425 euros which would be coming to an end in two months time but she had 5 children and hadn’t paid the rent for a whole year. She was scared of being thrown out of the house.

The other day we prescribed some antibiotics to a little girl of two who had an ear infection but the mother didn’t have enough money to buy them.

I heard one story after another from the families who came for their appointments and I tried not to limit myself to giving them nutritional advice and I asked the parents about the possibilities they had for giving their children a so-called “healthy diet”.
I soon realised the situation was more serious than I had thought; there were families in Sa Pobla really struggling to feed their children.
I identified 10 specific families with 29 children.
With a group of friends I started thinking how to improve this situation and we decided to organise some food donations for these families which we wanted to take round to their homes, along with helpful information and advice.

We were then extremely lucky to make contact with Mediterranea ONG who trusted and supported us right from the start; they brought experience, advice and funds to the project.

Thanks to them we are now helping to feed 95 families with a total of 305 children.

Every day I hear the words "thanks Dolores", thanks María, thanks very much". It gives me such pleasure to see the smiling faces of Farid, Samir, Pedro.... these are just some of the little ones I help in Sa Pobla.

I know that none of this would be possible without the help of everyone at Mediterranea.
Their efforts and generosity enable me to enjoy these smiling faces.
I would like to share some of the things I hear with you:

Thank you on behalf of Farid, four years old, diagnosed with dwarfism and a face of an older boy which is so touching.
Thanks from Souhaila, 6 years old, who, when she heard me say to her mother to let me know if she neended anything, gave me a piece of paper the next day with the following words written on it .."I would like a television".
Thanks from Pedro, Juan Luis and little Paula
Thanks from Walid, who has anaemia.
Thank you on behalf of Samir, four, as light as a feather, who clings onto me like a little monkey with a huge smile.
Thanks from Bilal, 3 years old, who speaks Mallorquin with a Sa Pobla accent and wants to be a football player.
Thanks from 8 month old Mariatu, a sweet little chocolate baby!
A big thank you on behalf of the 305 children of Sa Pobla who are on the list – but they are not just a statistic, they are real little human beings.
Thank you from the 95 families that ask me every day if I know about any jobs for them.

I would like to say thank you for making it possible for me to receive so many words of thanks!

Please keep up the good work, we need you.We need more pairs of hands to help share the smiley faces with me.
Please contact Dr Stoma (mediterranea.ong@gmail.com)
or email me (

Every time I read this letter I get a lump in my throat. Time does not make me tough.


One of our targets, as you know, was to take some creativity to the Abugida school. As in many schools in many other places, they are afraid to make changes to the daily routine and teachers’ fears of making mistakes were some of the difficulties we foresaw.

But as Goethe said: “I love those who dream of the impossible”, so we set to work and started by converting the largest classroom – which was being underused – into a large games room divided into areas: for the rainy season and for the rest of the year.

To begin with they didn’t really understand why we wanted to create the games room because the teaching there is based on repetition and there is very little creativity. Playing is seen as rather a waste of time at the school.

But when they asked us to help them improve their work we decided to send two teachers, Laura 2 and Nikki, to give them some training but always showing respect to the local teachers and their country’s culture.

We were also fortunate to have the help of Laura 1 and Cristina, who took part in creating the games room so we were very lucky to have four creative women there at the same time!

Nikki painted a fish onto a blackboard against the backdrop of sea that was painted by Sami.

Together with Phil and an Ethiopan volunteer, the girls laid a new floor (softer and more hygienic) and they finished decorating the walls.

The games materials were distributed around the room to make different playing areas, space to stimulate the sensorimotor system, more symbolic and cognitive, another area more cognitive, manipulative and with artistic and creative expression.

Nikki and Laura have been working in the different classes – 3, 4 and 5 year olds – alongside the teachers using the resources available and their imagination which has no limits.
They explained to the teachers that it was important for the children to move around the classroom instead of sitting down the whole time. They should be able to move and choose their learning games and learn through playing, with the teachers also seated on the floor.

Along with the help of the teachers, Sami and Kedija, the girls reorganised the class for the 3 year olds – KG 1 – and the children were delighted with the change when they arrived in the morning.

Today they are working in KG 2 – 4 year olds.

All the children above the age of 3 will spend time in the games room each day.
We hope to show you some photos of the children playing in the games room but the photos haven’t arrived yet! For the time being you can see how nice it looks! The children are able to enjoy the activities and the appropriate infrastructure which is lacking in their homes and neighbourhoods. During the rainy season they have to stay inside their houses which consist of just one room with very little space for movement.

There is an area with fancy dress outfits and wigs, dolls (all black except a “farenji” - white foreigner – and a Chinese one), puppets, lego for building, an area with handicrafts and beads for threading etc., puzzles, a “goal” area with numbers in circles for throwing balls and scoring points, a large round trampoline, limbo, giant dominoes, giant Twister, hopscotch, pretend fruits and vegetables to play shopping games, cars, balls, toy tea sets, musical instruments... just imagine what else we could add!!

30 Jul 2012

More form the Sebeta


From Laura I:
"I am sending you some photos of the psychomotricity sessions with the boys and girls at Sebeta. I have found it very emotional seeing how they have developed which is reflected especially in their play, posture, movement and expression.
It is worth highlighting their improved use of space and in particular, height, which shows there is confidence, security and support between the children and teachers. Their games are symbolic, being a sign of evolution, freedom of expression, recognition and identity. Their paintings are getting more colourful, as are their lives … AND OURS TOO..."

The teachers we have at Sebeta in the afternoons, Saturday mornings and throughout summer are amazing and it’s a pity they are not allowed to join in with the morning activities, but they are too creative and it is more convenient to have the children punching holes for several hours... Thank goodness their afternoons, Saturdays and summers are more fun and creative!

News from the Sebeta Blind Children's school


"Here are the photos of the training at Sebeta.
We are continuing with the teacher training and seeing how they are developing. As it’s the school holidays and there are no lessons we have been doing mornings and afternoons making the most of the time and their eagerness to learn. Using a fairly practical and experienced methodology we have transmitted new knowledge, on the one hand about psychomotricity: methodology based on providing support and listening to the needs of the boys and girls, types of games and evaluation by psychomotor parameters which will help them to assess, register and programme an individual plan of work for each boy and girl. On the other hand: global stimulation   (cognitive, fine and gross motricity, autonomy and social skills) to incorporate new resources into the work of scholastic reinforcement in the Messi room. The four teachers are developing in their work and this is reflected in the progress and well-being of the boys and girls. They are fantastic!! They look at them, they welcome them, they listen to them and they give them loads of affection...They had their doubts about the period of time since the previous training in December which is a sign that they have been working extremely hard. The stay at Sebeta has been really emotional, I feel that they can, they want to and should become more independent. I BELIEVE WE CAN "SEE" OURSELVES MORE!!
The three of us have been welcomed and looked after which has made it much easier for us to contribute in our own ways according to our practice and experience, ignorance and spontaneity.
We are really happy with the project at SEBETA!!!"