2 Eylül 2014 Salı
The Utopia of Peace Village
It was born very little but it grew up very fast. Its roots have gone deeper inside the earth and the branches stretched happily to the sky in a short time. It has turned out to be a huge tree where hundreds of people can sit underneath. This is Live with Us Share with Us Children Programme (LUSUP).
LUSUP took place with 22 volunteers coming from Spain (Catalonia), Romania (Transylvania), Guatemala, France, Iran and Turkey and 70 local children in Ekinci (Aydi-Former name-Arabic), a village of Antakya in Turkey this summer again. It was clear that the programme left distinctive influence behind it. The Servas (www.servas.org) volunteers hosted by local families studied environmental issues, peace, art, music, creative drama, different languages, chess, played children games and did reading activities with children. They displayed short movies, did radio interviews, country presentations, multi-lingual choir, taught how to make Origami enthusiastically. “The program area turned out to be a Servas Campus” as Catalan Volunteer Quim described. The house yard, the streets and the big garden named Amazon were the places for sharing, learning, having fun, thinking and discovery.
One of the participant children named Çınar said; “I love Servas because we learn different things here.” The programme aims to reach exactly this goal. It succeeds it by bringing people from all around the world into the village through the volunteers, introducing new ideas, activities, programmes, games, languages and different cultures of world to the local children. It is a mutual transfer of the knowledge, experience and background. The children receive new ideas whereas volunteers learn vast cultural diversity of Antakya (Antioch) through children, local volunteers and people. We let new fresh waters to join the lake and open new canals to water different lands. There are lots of options in life and children need to know them in their earlier ages to
Different languages different lives…
Children started the day saying “Good Morning” in Arabic, Turkish, Catalan, Hungarian, Spanish, Greek and other languages. They learnt how to say peace, colours in these languages and also sing. The songs of multi-lingual choir left a great effect on children and families. The goal was to raise awareness towards languages. We were relieved when we heard colorful words coming from the mouths of children at the Servas Campus every day. The goal was met. The views of Catalan (volunteer) therapist on the children’s language ability were not surprising. Quim said; “Kids can pronounce words in
Local people experiencing discoveries…
“Our parents started to feel proud of us once we started to communicate in English with the volunteers. Because they liked the volunteers and appreciated their effort they did for the local kids. The idea of going abroad did not sound strange to them now” said Selen, one of the local translators studying English language at University. Muhterem, who hosted a volunteer, tells; “People coming from every corner of the world try to learn our culture. They like and respect it. They learn Arabic and Turkish words. Also, they try to learn the different cultural aspects of Antakya. Honestly, I am also becoming more aware of my culture each time they ask me questions.” Another host, Semire, explains; “Marina from Catalonia, asks many questions about our life, traditions and meals. When my daughter Esra (local translator) fails to answer some of the questions she asks me or her father. Esra is becoming more curious about life here and in the world.” Local children get to know new people and they learn how to trust
The young woman, Ela, who hosted the Iranian volunteer Nasim deals with communication problems via
LUSUP and Servas seeds like these lands and they have blossomed very quickly. The village has become part of the world information and culture network in six years of time. A new generation who are familiar with global thinking has grown up now.
Volunteers are teaching and learning…
Volunteers, arriving with different predictions, knowledge, cultural background and expectations in Antakya
The sightseeing tours organised for volunteers allows them discover the multicultural life background of Antakya. Once they learn that different religions have been living together and touching each other for ages they realise that they are in an unusual spot of the world. At that moment I try to explain, Szerénke, coming from Transylvania; “Turkey has many faces. Antakya is just one of those many faces.”
The children, instead of going home at night, worked like ants to learn from their photography teachers
Chess trainer, Erdem, didn’t expect such big interest for chess. He got lost with kids holding their chess tables in the deep spots of the fruit garden every day. We sometimes forgot them and they also forgot the
Experienced volunteer Zuleyha brought the Little Prince into the village. Children loved him. They read a piece of his adventures every morning, discussed his philosophy, did role plays and wrote him letters. At the end, volunteer artist, Leonie, painted Little Prince in the wall picture (Wonderland) she created with the kids. Little Prince visited the kids in the village and introduced his little planets to make discoveries about life.
The atmosphere that the programme created in the village was amazing just like every year. Quim says; “there is a lovely feeling in the streets and people. I see positive things everywhere. Lots of suprises. Lots of different things”. Nasim ; we are always
It was me who took any advantage to reflect peace thoughts to the souls, eyes and brains of the kids throughout the programme. One day, I wanted them to design their own peace organisation and a logo for it. The results were wonderful. One group of children imaged to form a music band and give concerts in the regions of war or conflicts. Another group wanted to organise big meetings of people from neighbouring countries at the borders. They displayed these ideas on posters at Servas Campus for their friends.
Actors and radio workers coming from Transylvania combined sports, drama and games together and had lovely time with kids in the olive tree gardens and streets. They also did a professional radio interview with all the programme participants to be broadcasted by the radio station in their country
Local translators explores new windows…
LUSUP tries to use the local potential as much as possible. More people participate in the programme every year. Young people, going to university soon, found more opportunities to volunteer as translators, guides and assistants during the programme. Hosting volunteers helped them set up friendships and overcome language barriers. They were not only translating for the children but also for their parents and neighbours. So the transfer of experience among people was succeeded. Young people developed their own self confidence and started to imagine new lives out of borders. One of the translators, Esra, explains with excitement; “it was a far dream to travel even to another city of Turkey before LUSUP but now, I am making plans to visit Marina and Nico in Barcelona. Aliye joins the conversation; “my parents do not think that it is weird to go abroad and volunteer. I think they changed her mind after meeting the Servas volunteers.
Growing up with LUSUP and hosting volunteers for 6 years, Mevsim received a lot of praises during the programme as she showed high language competency and was very helpful. Let’s listen to her, "Servas programme was my first motivation to learn English. Marilyn who was one of the volunteers from Canada helped me learn the first words in 2009. I learnt many things about the world with this language.” Language student, Gizem says; “I have never had such fruitful time in the summer until this year. I wish the volunteers could stay longer.”
From the local to the international….
LUSUP proves again that any person with genuine experience, background, perspective and values can travel to different places on earth and share this potential with the local children and people. It is time to promote this programme in different parts of the world since it carries the potential of activating the local resources, provoking the inner worlds and curiosity of children, introducing the idea of world citizenship, increasing awareness towards environment and providing a fruitful summer holiday for volunteers. Besides, it costs a
Making LUSUP one of the main programmes of Servas international and then promoting this programme in
For the 6-year of programme archive: