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Volunteer stories : Madeline C., Social Worker in Jamaica

Madeline C.

Madeline C.

Age: 27

BA (hons) Early Childhood Studies

12 years’ experience of working with children

Madeline worked in Jamaica for three weeks using her knowledge and training to help local staff and patients in residential care homes. This is what she had to say about the project:

“There are opportunities to contribute skills and ideas and also opportunities to develop and extend skills. It is a very valuable and worthwhile project.”

The Project Partner

Madeline worked alongside a group called the Rural Family Support Organisation (RuFamSO). They run a ‘Roving Caregivers Programme’ where Jamaicans are trained to work with local parents and children. She spent much of her time working with autistic children and their carers. Her aim was to work on a new method of treatment called Picture Exchange Communication System.

Madeline’s work was very successful and she developed a strong relationship with local staff. She was able to train volunteers and staff to identify and attend to the needs of autistic children. This was achieved through demonstrations and discussion. The staff were incredibly grateful for her help and very enthusiastic about the work she performed.

Role of the Volunteer

Madeline's role on this Social Work project included the following:

  • Working with children suffering from Autism.
  • Helping staff to undertake child assessments.
  • Holding workshops with local staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrating the Picture Exchange Communication System.

Benefits to the community

Madeline was able to introduce a new way of helping Autistic children that will carry on long after she has left. The Picture Exchange Technique helps children who are unable to speak to learn to communicate. The local staff were especially pleased that she decided to extend her trip by an extra week. This enabled them to work together to achieve the aims and objectives that she set at the start of the project.

Cultural Exchange

"I feel that everything about my trip has been very memorable. In particular I will never forget the children and people at my placement and in the local community. It has been a humbling experience and I will treasure it always. I have great respect for Jamaican people and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about their culture and history. Jamaica is a wonderful place and I can’t wait to come back"

Madeline C.

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