In Gjirokastra, 23 pupils from Koto Hoxhi elementary school visited the local hamam, where CHwB staff did a short presentation of the history and purpose of the hamam. Elena Mamani, project coordinator for CHwB, walked the young visitors through the historic monument, helping them discover its historical value and answering questions from the curious ones. Returning to class, the children received workbooks, where they drew and colored elements of the hamam, like its fountainhead and other outdoor structural elements. Spirits ran high, as the young students recalled their visit to the historical venue and strived to be as accurate as possible with their drawings. For the students, the visit to the hamam was very exciting, as it was a new, entertaining, way to learn something new about their city and its historical monuments. The activity was also of high interest for the teachers too, who valued the methodology used to get the students more involved in these educational activities.
Meanwhile, for the activity in Elbasan CHwB joined forces with “3 Mariat” Foundation and the association “Në Dobi të Gruas Shqiptare”. The focus of the activity was the xhubleta, a traditional Albanian clothing worn by the women in the Northern Highlands, and the students of Elbasan’s Center for Social and Professional Integration, Një ëndërr më shumë. Luljeta Dano, from the anthropological center “Xhubleta”, did a brief history and purpose of the xhubleta, illustrated by a sample from her collection. Part of Dano’s lesson were also the booklets on this characteristic cloth, which helped the students get to know better the xhubleta and other traditions of Albania’s northern highlands. Students also got a chance to unleash their creativity, when asked to dress up the cut-out of a woman with region’s typical clothing. Getting hands-on, apart from entertaining, is also a great opportunity for the children to develop their imagination and feel more involved.
The activities organized for International Children’s Book Day are part of the Heritage Ateliers, aimed at children and which combine site excursions with hands-on classroom sessions. In 2014 CHwB held 6 Heritage Ateliers in different cities of Albania, for more than 170 children and 30 teachers and parents. The booklets used in Gjirokastra and Elbasan are part of the “E Ka Kush e Ka” children’s series, which seeks to include children and adults in a series of books and games through which they discover and rediscover cultural heritage as a bridge, linking us to the complexities of the world around us.