A successful collaboration with teachers, educators and parents
During 2016 CHwB Albania undertook 13 ateliers in various cities and villages of Albania, such as in Gjirokastra, Berat and Tirana and also in Kosovo, Prishtina. The children participating the ateliers were 273. The ateliers were organized in a close collaboration with 70 responsible people, belonging to the schools staff, specialists of the fields and different volunteers that helped with the organization of the ateliers. We are pleased to underline that often the professionals themselves leaded the activities and provided a detailed feedback regarding the articles of the collection and how they could be improved or enriched further.
From various comments we’ve got from teachers, parents and well-wishers, we know that there are many request for organizing similar ateliers and this makes us work with more dedication to include as many children as possible in similar activities, to continue spreading the message that the heritage belongs to all of us, wherever and whenever we are, and to hope about the stability of this initiative and about the systematic organization of related activities.
A special attention to the children with less access to education about heritage
This year the work with the ateliers was focused in the rural areas, such as in Përsqop and Shkozë (Tiranë), or Shën Todër and Zinxhira neighbourhood (in Gjirokastër); in areas where because of the difficult economic conditions, the inclusion of the children in similar activities is sometimes almost impossible. At the same time, we focused in specific groups, such as the Roma and Egyptian community, the children with specific needs and the abandoned children. This task was both challenging, but also gave us immense feelings of solidarity and delight.
In collaboration with the Centre of Autistic Children in the city of Gjirokastra, several ateliers were organized for the children with special needs and the autistic children. There were ateliers held with the Roma community in the kindergarten of Zinxhira (Gjirokastra) and in Tirana. The Egyptian community became part of an atelier organized with the kindergarten of the “Lagje Punëtore” Neigbourhood in Gjirokastra. These ateliers have aimed to spread the message that everyone has the right to cherish and to have access to the cultural heritage, as it in fact belongs to everyone. Through the ateliers we have aimed to make the active participation possible and to help the young ones get to know the heritage, by helping them understand, and evaluate the conditions for saving and promoting the heritage.
This years’ new article: Fustanella
To various topics of “E Ka Kush e Ka” children series a new item has been added for this year: “Fustanella”. The item, which was welcomed by children, has increased further the range of topics of Albanian cultural heritage for children of different age groups. The new article was first used in an atelier in the 9-year-old “Petro Goga” in the village of Shën Todër, Lunxhëri. Taking impetus from “fustanella”, this booklet tries to provide knowledge on this clothing tradition by addressing important topics like lifestyles change over time, as well as the risks of their uniformity. Also, the booklet invites children in a careful and critical debate focusing on gender issues. There is no better example than the beauty and elegance of Fustanella to soften the gender prejudices are advocating the fact that feelings, dreams, human rights and even dresses belong to all humans alike.
Positive impact on further professional and personal growth
CHwB Albania has worked closely with pedagogic staff fulfilling somehow their needs and demand for alternative activities. Sustainable approach in such activities is a need that unites different structures we collaborate with, such as kindergartens, schools, cultural centers for children, and specialized structures.
The attitude of the teaching staff, educators, teachers or specialists, is different as a result of difficulties they have in their annual work plan. In order to be more effective, we will need to look at the work plan together with the teaching staff and establish a joint calendar of ateliers to increase compliance with curricula and maximize the impact of ateliers (knowledge about cultural heritage from practical activities, visits and discussions).
Another difficulty has been the lack of the necessary logistics in schools that has prevented rural children from knowing their heritage aspects which are very close to them. Thus while working in Shën Todër, children responded negatively to the question whether they had visited Gjirokastra’s monument houses, meanwhile we learned from teachers that the excursions to Gjirokastra are almost impossible.
Ateliers distribution has increased our efficiency in developing activities which represented us the need of knowledge about cultural heritage that these children have. The combination of activity, where intertwined theory and the game makes the access to the monuments, cultural heritage larger, due to the fact that children learn more through personal experiences and methods. More interaction with the surrounding community, facilities, cultural heritage, etc, has been made possible through increasing sense of curiosity to these children.
In each workshop we have seen different emotional reactions from children, somewhere embracing us, somewhere asking us to come back and demanding more booklets for their brothers and sisters. This makes us happy, but entails us with more responsibilities to increase the impact of action of ateliers by including as many children, parents and teachers. These are the first front for the education and training of the best citizens of tomorrow (more than one parent has asked us, “How and where can our children enroll in such activities?”). This makes us reflect on how we can help further, given that this is a problem that is often cited by the teaching staff in schools and kindergartens who we have cooperated so far.