Our Lighthouse programs help children from very disadvantaged backgrounds to have a break from poverty. By supporting children’s educational development, we equip them and give them the tools to escape poverty.
While Lighthouse places a focus on education, learning is done in fun and creative ways that engage children’s interests and helps them to become hungry little learners.
We currently run two Lighthouse programs, the first opened in 2020 and the second one in 2021. Like all Open Hands programs, Lighthouse projects are set in socio-economically deprived areas. Our Lighthouses are run by a small but committed team that has the experience, determination and vision to transform the lives of children and families living in extreme poverty.
The program begins straight after school at 12pm and typically starts with a warm meal for the children. Most children will arrive hungry as they have not eaten in the morning. Food really is a vital part of Lighthouse as the healthy meals we give out are often the only food the children will receive that day.12pm
Children are then supported with their home work and the day’s school work is reviewed. The learning environment is warm and friendly. Every child receives support that is tailored to their abilities and aimed at them achieving core academic skills such as literacy and numeracy. The children have their own desks with a tray and folder where their work is kept.1pm
The children have a 20 min. break and usually play in or outside enjoying the toys, sunshine and fresh air. Indoors, our playroom offers children relaxation. The children can choose from a range of games and toys or explore the reading corner. Outdoor activities at the Lighthouse playing field, such as sports and games are also thoroughly enjoyed.2pm
“Atelier de creatie” – it’s time to get creative! Every week the children are working on new pieces of art. Being creative is a whole new experience for these children as most have never done this before. The kids love all that is on offer, including: science experiments, cooking, music workshops, garden work and of course creating all kinds of artistic pieces and pictures.
At Lighthouse we want children to discover their potential and teach them life-skills which will increase their chances of having employment in the community once they leave school.
It’s time to wind down from a busy day and relax by listening to a story. The children tell us that story time is one of their favourite parts about Lighthouse. We suppose that it is not the books that are a favourite but the hot chocolate and biscuits that are shared during story time!3:30pm
A typical day comes to an end. The children make their way home and our wonderful housekeeper Ms Maria begins to clean the rooms for the following day.4pm
“We want to show the children that a more promising future away from poverty is possible when they stay in education.”
Iulia Pastrav –
Birthdays, Parents, Inclusiveness
Every child needs to know their worth. Many children we work with do not even know when their birthday is, let alone having ever experienced the enjoyment and fun of celebrating one before. We want them to know how precious they are – this is why we celebrate each birthday with them. Every child’s birthday is celebrated with singing and sweets and a card on the day.
Then, once a month a birthday party takes place for all children who had their birthday that month. The children celebrate with balloons, cakes, pinatas and most importantly their friends from the program.
Forming a close alliance with parents, greatly encourages a child’s well-being and school attendance. Our staff understand that most parents are vulnerable adults, who did not receive the help they needed, and often have not gone to school themselves. Many therefore have a limited understanding of the importance of education.
Lighthouse offers parental workshops and support meetings. Staff visit children and give parents advice in their homes and have an in-depth knowledge of the everyday challenges and needs of the families.
At Open Hands we promote an attitude of tolerance and inclusiveness. We provide equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised. Open Hands works with children and parents of all backgrounds and abilities – we want all children no matter how disadvantaged to feel loved, accepted and valued at our programs.