Part of my work in Bali is to listen & help facilitate solutions to challenges & changes in administration, funding & training that the centers experience.
There is so much hope for the quick fix by the centers to help the child, the staff & the families, but with limited centralization of resources, insufficient funding, outside pressure of other countries providing support, the beliefs of Karma & the limited knowledge about disabilities, there is anything but a quick fix possible.
My frustration lies in the fact I am only here for a short time & what is needed is an extended period of time to observe, ask questions, listen, understand, explain, teach & clarify, support, celebrate & then repeat. To go SLOW.
Questions take time to process & culturally sound solutions designed:
- How do we ask donors for more support
- How do we teach teachers to educate children who lack focus & cannot learn in traditional ways
- How do we help volunteers understand our philosophy & our children
- How do we communicate with volunteers whose styles are so very different from ours
- How do we obtain funds to bring training & education into our programs or hire our own Occupational Therapists & Speech Therapists
- How do we write up specific job descriptions so expectations are clear
- How do we change the beliefs of our families so they don’t feel this child is their punishment
- How do we document best practices for a child
- How do we change the mindset of the non-questioning & increase the action of creative problem solving.
- How do we strategically plan for the next 2 or 3 years
- How do we help our children leave our centers, graduate
- How do we explain our leadership style & integrate or incorporate outside styles that might help
- How do we say No to outside help that isn’t our way without offending
So, I listen & try to provide some small steps towards finding the solutions to their experiences. I suggest going slow to all. I suggest checking for understanding before moving on. I suggest making everything visual as well as auditory to help understanding. I suggest not being judgmental, to not destroy hope & to be honest & transparent.
I suggest developing stories of success to share with donors
I suggest sharing job descriptions with all & check for understanding
I suggest feeling confident in themselves & realize that saying no with sufficient reasons is appreciated by all
I suggest beginning to educate teachers & families on the causes of disabilities.
I suggest asking teachers or the children what they think instead of always telling them what to do will increase problem solving
I try to put centers together to learn from each other
I try to connect additional outside resources to the centers so they can help
I provide a simple format for a daily report for them to consider
I have the director imagine where they would like to go with a center
I suggest that they think about adult skills needed to be learned by their aging community & to think about developing self-esteem in their adults
I suggest that the leadership in the centers professional say to their outside helpers to explain how their style is confusing & to ask for reasons behind the expectations I also suggest they not be afraid to say please slow down, lets prioritize what we should do & take our time in explaining, creating and implementing
Then I let go. I make myself available for questions & discussions & listening.