Interview with the BeginIT Project teacher, Sonia Camacho from Colombia.
Sonia teaches and oversees programming courses at the Fundación Ecosueños in Bogota.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Sonia Camacho, I’m 60 years old, I’m an Industrial Designer, I’ve been doing social work since the year 2000. I’m divorced and have no kids.
What is the most important in teaching? What is your mission and message as a teacher?
I’ve always believed that the first step is to have passion for what we teach, that way, it comes as authentic and credible, that way, the students feel encouraged and are open to receive our knowledge.
What kind of personal qualities should the person who works in an orphanage have?
First, the person should be very sensible to help others. Second is that the service that we want to do is for kids. The third thing is to have a patient heart and be open to privilege against the adversities that you will find during the road.
Why did you choose this profession?
I didn’t study to have this job. I think it was because my mother always tried to help kids. Since I was 5 years old, she had been taking us every Sunday to an orphan house to bring them hot chocolate and bread. When I grew up, I decided to study Industrial Design, but I've never worked on that area. And when I got the opportunity to work with kids in need, I discovered that this is what make me happy.
Describe your typical day.
Sometimes, I arrive at 5 AM, because I like to be there, when the kids wake up. But most of the time, I arrive at 8 AM. I never have a day that is the same as the previous.I do not only manage all the administrative things, I also need to find money that is needed to keep the organization afloat.
I must visit new people to present them the organization, and I also pick up all the donations that they make to us.I attend the visitors that want to to meet the kids. I also take the kids to the doctor, when needed, I also take them to wherever they need to go. I also take them to school on Saturdays, I take them to the boy scouts’ program. On Sundays we usually go to church. Almost every day when it finishes, it’s usually already 7:30 PM.
Have you ever had a difficult situation with children?
A lot, they are kids, it is normal that they make mistakes. The hardest situations are when the kids reach their teenage years, because they have very drastic emotional changes. In this kind of situation, we can lose the process with them and some of them even decide to leave. It's really hard for me, to know that the kids are leaving and I don’t know how to convince them to stay until they are ready for the world.
What is the most important in taking care of children?
The first is to have a team that has the disposal and the heart to serve this kids. Also for the team is necessary to use the knowledge that we have given them, so that all of us, that work with the children, can be on the same page and help guide the kids on the same course. The second, we need to set the example by the way we act.
Have you ever taken a hard decision regarding the life of one of the children?
I think that everyday we are taking through decisions for them. However, once I had to remove on kid from the orphanage, it was really hard for me to do.
Are you in contact with kids that no longer live in the orphanage?
A lot of them visit us and we can we still help them reach their goals.
How are the lives of the kids that have left the orphan house?
There are a lot of cases, the kids that go on with their lives, always come back and visit us, but there are others, that go in search of their families and they end up consuming drugs with their parents or doing something illegal, which has them end up in jail. But most of them like to continue with the things that we taught them.
Why do you think that learning about computer science is important for the new generations?
Technology is the new form of living for all humanity, which makes it important to know everything related to it.
What do you think about the BeginIT project?
I think, they are very important for the world that we live in and also for the children. It is the great importance, that they start to know the world of coding, it will definitely help them in the near future that we already live in.
Has it been useful for the students? What are the results?
I believe it has been useful for them, they say it all the time. I’ve also heard that with the help of the courses they have been able to advance faster in their school’s computer classes.
What advice would you give to future teachers and students, regarding the project?
For the teachers, that every kid has his/her own personality and they all advance at their own rhythm, and you must understand that some like the classes more than others. Since I work directly in the orphanage, I give them schedules that they can attend, when they want as long as they cover the classes schedule for the week, this way, they feel like it’s a game, not chore.
For the kids, I tell them that this is a great opportunity for them to learn while they play and that we wouldn’t be able to afford a course like this. Also, to pay attention to details and to stay alert, so they can learn as much as they can, because, maybe, this could be the beginning of the path to a future profession.
I am very grateful with inDriver for this opportunity for our children and I hope that this project continues to grow.
The BeginIT educational project has been implemented in Russia for seven years, but this year it is entering the international level for the first time and will cover 12 countries of Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, including Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Kazakhstan.
To apply for participation in the project, fill out a special application.