Youth camp “Time Machine”

In May we had a very interesting and unusual event – the youth camp “Time machine”. I, as an initiator of the event was very, very happy and really excited. That is the reason why I still want to share with you about it, even though the activity passed several months ago 🙂

Outdoor Camp "Time Machine"

Outdoor Camp “Time Machine”

First, let me tell you something about the idea for the camp. I have always been excited to participate in various youth projects, trainings, exchanges, camps and any other kind of activities, which involve many young participants. On the other hand, as an “active young person” I started to become curious and eager to see what is to be “from the other side” – what it is like to be organizer of such kind of events and that was actually my reason to chose my EVS project to be in a youth centre. In connection with this I have to admit, that I was happy to become part of a quite flexible project, providing an opportunity to each one of the volunteers to suggest, plan, organize and implement own activities, according to his/her own interest. Of course, considering this, one of the ideas for my activities was to organize a youth camp. I was also quite lucky that this crazy idea (to organize camp for 10-15 international youngsters, sleeping in tents for several days) was approved and supported by my hosting organization (and I am very thankful about it!).

Okay, we got the decision that we will organize a camp, but what will be the topic? Also, it was not hard to find – I had a list of suggestions, which we have carefully discussed with my coordinator and finally we chose one of them (actually my favourite one) – to invite every participant to present old traditional outdoor games for children from his/ her country and in the end we were going to make a game collection from all the suggestions.

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Group of participants – almost complete !

So, after we knew what we are going to do, we needed to invite participants. I had the strong wish to invite all my friends, the other EVS volunteers and also some youngsters from Slovakia. I was so happy surprised by my friends who immediately liked the idea and decided to join. About the Slovak youngsters – it was a challenge to get to them (maybe we didn’t find the most efficient way to communicated and to invite them), so we didn’t get any… But still we got quite a rich and interesting group 🙂

We had some weeks of preparation (planning, preparing information, creating documents, registration form, logo…) which was so much pleasure for me, so I didn’t feel how the time passed…  So, in the end finally came the first day of the camp. I was very enthusiastic and excited, but also extremely nervous. Of course there was some things, which happened not the way I have planned – we had rain, a bit delay in the program, problems with the fire, some strange  unknown people, who came to disturb the activity. I was really about to freak out! Also I was worried not only about some fails of the organization, but also about the weather – it was not very promising and I was really afraid if the participants would like the camp and would stay till the end. But all the stress and worries passed when we have made the evaluation in the first evening. I was so good surprised by all the nice things, which the other volunteers said, so I even started to feel happy and to become more optimistic about the next days. 🙂

Food was really made on fire

The second day of the camp started much better. Well, we had again a challenge to set the fire on (it had rained all night long, so on the morning all the wood was completely wet), but our brave and dedicated fire-(starter)-man Miguel made a real miracle, so in the end we had a quite nice breakfast with hot tea and coffee :)) After the breakfast we started playing the first games, which Nara presented to us. From the very beginning when we started to play I saw how everybody started smiling and forgot about all the complication previous day, the terribly cold night and the wet morning. From that moment till the last day of the activity I think there was some kind of a magic – everybody was feeling happy and light-hearted and really enjoying to be part of the activity and to go back to the childhood playing his/her favourite children-games (or at least to me looked so). I was also very happy, because one of my big dreams came true, I was thankful to all the people, who supported me and joined, but the most I was happy, because I was seeing the happy faces of my friends and we had a really great time together. I will never forget how enthusiastic all the participants were while presenting the games and how active were the rest of the volunteers (and we all were surprised how many similarities we found in the games played in quite different and distant countries). I will never forget our delicious meals, which we cooked on our own on the fire, how organized were the people on duty to clean the dishes and how exciting was to share the big old military tent, which became our home for four days. I will never forget the happy days, full of laughs and positiveness, our evening talks around the fire and the way how I discovered each one in a new and wonderful way, showing me how lucky I am to have such great persons as friends!

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Getting to know each other in real nature

I want to say again a big, big, biiig THANK YOU to all the people who joined the activity and helped me:

Our great participants: Nara, Miguel, Manu, Simon, Lenka, Barbara, Andrea, Zanda, Hansol, Lilyanna, Aneta.

My coordinator – Andy (who really made a lot of work, for the camp to become true)

The great colleagues from CVČ – Junior for the great support (and special thanks to Jarka, who helped us to find a big pot for cooking the meals and Eva, who borrowed us the big spoon for cooking 🙂

And Mr. Kubica (the owner of the camp place) for being such a great host for us during these four days 🙂

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Collecting games, going back to our childhood

And last, but not least – let me share the result of the whole camp activity – the game collection (it took time to finish it, but it is finally ready, so I am very happy to introduce it:)). It consists of all the games, presented by the participants during the camp. It can be used as a tool with ideas for in- and outdoor activities with kids, but also some of the ideas are suitable for ice-brakers, energizers and team-building games. Hope you would like it and use it.

D O W N L O A D : Games Collection Youth Camp Time Machine

P. S. In case you find any misspelling, wrong word or some expression, which is not clear, you can always contact me – vesselina.valcheva.d@gmail.com. I would be glad to correct or explain everything needed.

Vesselina

Dovidenia Slovensko :)

So, here we are… 10 months have already gone and it’s already time to pack and leave. In my case it won’t be really be a “Good bye”, but rather a “See you soon”, as my town in Italy is not that far away and I really fell in love with Slovakia, so I’m sure that I’ll come back every once in a while. Getting ready to go back home, I realised how heavier my “luggage” will be in comparison to how it was when I arrived here in October.

Source: it.paperblog.com

Source: it.paperblog.com

Most of the “weight” that I gained is due to the amazing people that I had the chance to meet in this special country, so that I even dare to call friends some of them.

Another big part of my “luggage” has been taken by the fantastic experiences that I made here, both in my working time and in my free time. As for the working time, I learnt a lot and I had a great time working with the staff of CVČ Junior, especially my coordinator; I was very happy to work with the actors from Divadlo z Pasáže, the children from the Special School in Sásová and the teachers and students from the schools where I had conversation classes or presentations; I’m really grateful to all those who made it possible to organise 2 LGBT movie nights, as I learnt a lot from this initiative.

As for my free time, I really enjoyed all the activities offered by this fantastic town and by Slovakia, as here I could do many things I love, as going hiking, going to the theatre and to concerts, watching good quality movies, travelling, meeting foreigners, getting to know new cultures and languages and I even went skiing for the first time in my life 🙂

My luggage will be heavier also because I’ll have to carry my violin, as in Slovakia I started learning playing it 🙂

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to gain such a lot through EVS. I wish all the best to the next volunteers who will come in October, but I’m sure that they will also have a great time.

Manu

What international volunteers bring us // Čo nám dávajú zahraniční dobrovoľníci

Some people who know me and also know how difficult working with international volunteers sometimes is, might want to ask why we host volunteers. What do they really bring us?

Many things 🙂  Similarly to any other persons, EVS volunteers can bring us various experience. Being for the fifth year in the position of EVS coordinator, I will focus here on the specific enrichment of our work or of our community but also on the personal enrichment that working with young foreigners brings to myself.

Intercultural enrichment

It is really true that other nations and cultures have different perception of many things. Usually the further you come from the stranger you will be 🙂  This, in my opinion, is very stimulating for our comunity and society, which is not really multicultural. At the same time it helps us to fight (or at least realize) our prejudices: we see that however different these people (and cultures) are, they are still same humans as we are. At least for those who want to see.

Fresh ideas and new perspectives

It is indeed many times these young people who come here to learn something who is teaching us. I don´t mean those who think they know everything and can do anything (we already have enough of such people here). I mean those who bring their original approaches, ideas, experience and genuine creativity, but also modesty and willing to listen and learn, which is usually bound with their culture, or just with their unique personalities. We grow with them.

Expanding capacity

By the involvement of international volunteers we are increasing our capacity to do something good in our local comunity. Similarly to most of other communities, also ours many times prefers to complain than to take active steps toward change. Regardless the results, EVS volunteer himself / herself brings a change. (Of course we are here to help making it positive, or at least to try…)

Increasing educational impact on target groups

Coming to a distant place just to do something beneficial, gain experience and learn a marginal language sounds pretty illogical to many of us who have lived in a country where volunteering used to be compulsory. We tend to neglect real benefits of voluntary work for the volunteer but also for the people with this twisted logic.

Improving language skills

“Learning other languages is useless. When you come to Slovakia, nobody will understand you anyway“ – this used to be my favourite joke for foreigners. I believe that by hosting EVS volunteers we are increasing not only their but also our language and thus comunication capabilities.

Improving self-esteem and integration

In little nations that have always been ruled by somone else, national pride or self esteem can be pretty low. This is only multipled by the post-comunistic past. In my opinion, it is one of the main reasons why almost everyone here asks EVS volunteers: “Why did you come to Slovakia?“ Of course this country and its people have many beauties and unique qualities, but it seems we will need more time than we expected to heal from the heritage of autocracy. And I believe that we mutually help each other with international volunteers to realize and develop our qualities.

Andy

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Niektorí ľudia, ktorí ma poznajú a tiež vedia aká náročná môže niekedy byť práca so zahraničnými dobrovoľníkmi, by sa možno chceli opýtať prečo vlastne hosťujeme dobrovoľníkov. Čo nám vlastne prinášajú?

Mnoho vecí 🙂 Podobne ako pri iných osobách, dobrovoľníci EDS nám môžu priniesť rôzne skúsenosti. Som teraz piaty rok na pozícii koordinátora EDS a v tomto článku sa zameriavam na ich špecifické prínosy pre našu prácu alebo pre našu komunitu, ale aj na osobný prínos práce s mladými cudzincami pre mňa.

Interkultúrny prínos

Je skutočne pravdou, že iné národy a kultúry majú odlišné vnímanie mnohých vecí. Obvykle je to tak, že z čím ďalej ste, tým ste čudnejší 🙂 Toto je, podľa môjho názoru, veľmi stimulujúce pre našu komunitu a spoločnosť, ktorá nie je skutočne multikultúrna. Zároveň nám to pomáha bojovať s našimi predsudkami (alebo si ich aspoň uvedomiť): vidíme, že akokoľvek odlišní títo ľudia (a ich kultúry) sú, stále sú to ľudia ako my. Prinajmenšom pre tých, ktorí to vidieť chcú.

Svieže nápady a nové pohľady

Títo mladí ľudia, ktorí sa sem prišli niečo naučiť, sa mnohokrát stávajú našimi učiteľmi. Nemyslím pritom tých, ktorí si o sebe myslia, že vedia všetko a dokážu čokoľvek (takých tu už máme dosť). Mám na mysli dobrovoľníkov, ktorí prinášajú svoje originálne prístupy, nápady, skúsenosti a nefalšovanú kreativitu, ale aj skromnosť a ochotu načúvať a učiť sa. Toto všetko môže súvisieť s ich kultúrou, alebo len s ich jedinečnou osobnosťou. Rastieme spolu s nimi.

Rozšírenie kapacít

Prijímaním medzinárodných dobrovoľníkov zvyšujeme svoju kapacitu robiť niečo pozitívne pre našu komunitu. Podobne ako v iných komunitách, aj v tej našej sa často uprednostňuje sťažovanie sa pred prijatím aktívnych krokov ku zmene. Bez ohľadu na výsledky, dobrovoľníci EDS zmenu sami prinášajú. (Samozrejme, my sme tu na to, aby sme ju pomohli urobiť pozitívnou, alebo sa o to aspoň pokúsiť…)

Zvýšenie účinnosti vzdelávania cieľových skupín

Prísť na cudzie miesto len kvôli urobeniu niečoho užitočného, získaniu skúseností a naučeniu sa marginálneho jazyka, znie nelogicky pre mnohých z nás, ktorí sme žili v krajine, kde dobrovoľníctvo bývalo povinné. Máme tendenciu prehliadať skutočné prínosy dobrovoľníckej práce pre dobrovoľníka, ale aj pre ľudí s takto pokriveným uvažovaním.

Zlepšenie jazykového vybavenia

„Učiť sa cudzie jazyky je zbytočné. Keď prídete na Slovensko, aj tak vám nikto nebude rozumieť“ – toto zvykol byť môj obľúbený vtip pre cudzincov. Verím, že hostením dobrovoľníkov EDS zvyšujeme nielen ich, ale aj našu jazykovú vybavenosť a teda aj komunikačné schopnosti.

Zvyšovanie sebaúcty a integrácia

Malé národy, ktorým vždy vládol niekto iný, môžu mať naozaj nízku národnú hrdosť alebo sebaúctu. Toto je ešte znásobené postkomunistickou minulosťou. Podľa môjho názoru je to jedným z hlavných dôvodov, prečo sa tu takmer každý pýta dobrovoľníkov EDS: „Prečo ste prišli na Slovensko?“ Táto krajina a jej ľudia samozrejme majú mnoho krás a jedinečných kvalít, ale zdá sa, že budeme potrebovať viac času než sme očakávali na vyliečenie sa z dedičstva autokracie. A verím, že si s medzinárodnými dobrovoľníkmi vzájomne pomáhame uvedomovať si a rozvíjať svoje kvality.

Andy

Farewell party with Manu and Vessy

Farewell party with Manu and Vessy

Parents reborn – movie night and discussion

On Friday, 14th of June, in cooperation with CNK Záhrada, we organized a second movie night with a discussion on the topic LGBTI –a group of people with, a minority sexual orientation. For this occasion, Emanuela, the initiator of the project, proposed the wonderful Italian documentary Parents reborn (Due Volte Genitori) which was created with the support of European grant program Daphne. The film presents especially the personal experiences of parents about the process, which they had to go trough, after they got to know that their children are homosexual. Emanuela organized an official projection of the film on our event and also arranged the creation of the Slovak subtitles for the film. Mainly thanks to her long-term effort, it turned out again that also in Slovakia is possible to organize successful events also on this topic. Although….

The event was promoted (mostly in Slovak and English) through social networks, e-mails and also official posters. We were curious to see who would come in the end. Just before six p. m., when the event was planned to begin, in center Zahrada mainly young people started coming. But paradoxically the most of them were foreigners: other volunteers and friends of the volunteers we host, but also foreign students and interns and so on.

In the audience there were also several representatives of the older generations, but again mainly foreigners. The projection took place with the help of Stanka, local interpreting student, thanks to whom it was possible also for people who don’t speak enough Slovak to understand the Slovak subtitles. That allowed everybody to listen to the extremely personal experiences of parents and relatives who made a huge effort to fight against their own prejudices, but also against the prejudices of others, so with their painful “rebirth” they became more integrated and “richer” people. The protagonists of this Italian documentary are real characters, who already don’t perceive the “difference” of their children as a burden, but as an enrichment for their family and for the whole society, too. It was really touching to follow the fate of these people as it was “at first hand”. Even more, so as thanks to this film they let us so deep into their own privacy. I think that they did this not only for their children to let other people identify with them and educate the society, but just for all these young people for whom the non-acceptance of their parents and the society is often a reason of very sad acts and destinies.

The film was seen by about 25 participants and most of them stayed also for the discussion, which took place after the film. During the discussion we, as organizers, were surprised by several things. Firstly – the fact that people wanted to discuss at all: the film was so deep and touching, that we had the feeling that the majority of people would prefer to digest quietly the impressions from it and obviously retreat after the projection. We were wrong: the majority of the participants stayed and the discussion was long and good. Secondly: the discussion was in English. But this was a logical consequence of the composition of the audience of the discussion. Among the people participating in the discussion there were just five Slovaks, four of them were organizers of the event. Therefore the common language of the majority was English, so our interpreter didn’t have to translate. Most of the participants described situations, connected with tolerance, or intolerance towards the people with minority sexual orientation in their countries. Therefore we got to know also some facts and news from Russia, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, France for instance. Thanks to our experienced moderator Rado Sloboda from Amnesty International we made clear some details, the respective terminology and real facts about this field. We even tackled the reason why to such discussions come many more women than men.

Also thanks to the personal qualities of all the participants, I got the feeling of a very good event, which also convinced me that discussions about this and other similar topics related to tolerance towards difference and freedom as such are very needed in Slovakia. In my opinion it is worrying that the Slovak community pays so small attention to a topic, whose importance is evident and confirmed also in European grant schemes, including programs for non-formal education of young people. Ignoring this important topic, which directly involves approximately every sixth Slovak family, is actually discouraging and certainly says a lot about what kind of people we are. And also –on this we have a lot of work to do.

Even more luckily that here we have these young foreigners!

Andy

(Coordinator of the volunteers)

Translated into English by Vessy with the big help of Manu (for correction some inaccuracies with the translation :))

Druhý raz rodičom – filmový večer s diskusiou

piatok 14. júna sme v spolupráci s partnermi zorganizovali v CNK Záhrada druhý filmový večer s diskusiou k téme LGBTI, teda ľudí s menšinovou sexuálnou orientáciou. Emanuela, autorka tohto projektu, pre túto príležitosť navrhla vynikajúci taliansky dokumentárny film Druhý raz rodičom (Due volte genitori), ktorý bol vytvorený vďaka jednej z európskych grantových schém (Daphne). Film prezentuje najmä osobné svedectvá rodičov, týkajúce sa procesov, ktorými prechádzali po tom, ako ich vlastné deti informovali o svojej homosexualite. Emanuela dohodla oficiálnu projekciu filmu na našom podujatí, aj sprostredkovala vytvorenie slovenských titulkov. Najmä vďaka jej dlhodobému úsiliu sa opäť ukázalo, že aj na Slovensku sa aj na takúto tému dá zorganizovať úspešné podujatie. Hoci …

Podujatie bolo propagované (najmä v slovenčine a angličtine) cez sociálne siete, e-maily, aj oficiálne plagáty. Boli sme zvedaví, kto nakoniec príde. Pred šiestou večer, kedy mala akcia plánovaný začiatok, sa v centre Záhrada začali schádzať najmä mladí ľudia. Paradoxne však nimi boli predovšetkým cudzinci. Ďalší dobrovoľníci a priatelia nami hosťovaných dobrovoľníčok, ale aj zahraniční študenti, stážisti a podobne. V obecenstve bolo aj niekoľko zástupcov starších generácií, opäť však v drvivej väčšine cudzincov. Projekcia prebehla za asistencie Stanky, miestnej študentky tlmočníctva, vďaka ktorej mohli slovenským titulkom porozumieť aj ľudia, ktorí slovenčinu dostatočne neovládajú. Umožnila im tak byť svedkami mimoriadne osobných svedectiev rodičov a rodín, ktoré urobili obrovský kus práce v boji s vlastnými, ale aj cudzími predsudkami, aby sa svojím bolestným „prerodom“ stali integrovanejšími a „bohatšími“ ľuďmi. Protagonistami tohto talianskeho dokumentu, sú totiž reálne postavy, ktoré už nevnímajú inakosť svojich detí ako ťažké bremeno, ale naopak ako obohatenie vlastnej rodiny, ale aj celej spoločnosti. Bolo veľmi dojímavé sledovať osudy týchto ľudí takpovediac z prvej ruky. Tým viac, že nás vďaka tomuto filmu pustili hlboko do svojho súkromia. Myslím, že to urobili nielen kvôli vlastným deťom, „nastaveniu zrkadla“ a vzdelávaniu spoločnosti, ale práve aj kvôli tým mladým ľuďom, pre ktorých je neprijatie rodičmi a spoločnosťou nezriedka dôvodom tých najsmutnejších činov a osudov …

Celkovo film vzhliadlo asi 25 divákov, z ktorých väčšina zostala aj na diskusiu, ktorá po filme nasledovala. V rámci diskusie nás ako organizátorov prekvapilo pár vecí. Po prvé, že ľudia vôbec chceli diskutovať: film bol natoľko hlboký a dojímavý, že sme mali pocit, že väčšina divákov bude skôr chcieť potichu vstrebávať dojmy z neho a zrejme sa po projekcii uberú do ústrania. Mýlili sme sa: väčšina divákov zostala a diskusia bola dlhá a kvalitná. Po druhé: diskutovalo sa v angličtine. Toto však bolo logickým výsledkom zloženia účastníkov diskusie. Medzi diskutujúcimi boli len piati Slováci alebo Slovenky, z toho štyria z radov organizátorov podujatia. Spoločným jazykom drvivej väčšiny diskutujúcich bola teda angličtina a naša tlmočníčka nemusela tlmočiť. Viacerí diskutujúci opisovali situáciu okolo tolerancie, resp. intoleranice voči ľuďom s menšinovou sexuálnou orientáciou v ich krajinách. Dozvedeli sme sa teda aj niektoré fakty a novinky napr. z Ruska, Nemecka, Talianska, Bulharska, Francúzska. Vďaka prítomnosti a vzdelaniu moderátora diskusie Rada Slobodu z Amnesty International, sme si urobili jasno aj v niektorých detailoch, súvisiacich s terminológiou a reálnymi faktami z tejto oblasti. Dotkli sme sa aj témy, prečo na takéto diskusie prichádza omhoho viac žien než mužov…

Aj vďaka osobným kvalitám diskutujúcich vo mne zostal pocit veľmi dobrého podujatia, ktoré ma zároveň utvrdilo v tom, že diskusia na túto a podobné témy súvisiace s toleranciou inakosti a slobodou ako takou, je na Slovensku veľmi potrebná. Z môjho pohľadu je alarmujúce, že slovenská verejnosť má zatiaľ len veľmi malý záujem o tému, ktorej dôležitosť je zjavná a potvrdená aj európskymi grantovými schémami, vrátane programu neformálneho vzdelávania mladých ľudí. Ignorovanie tejto dôležitej témy, ktorá sa však bytostne týka približne každej šiestej slovenskej rodiny, je skutočne zarážajúca a určite hovorí veľa o tom, akí sme. Ale aj o tom, na čom treba pracovať.

Ešte šťastie, že tu máme tých mladých cudzincov !

Andy

(Koodrinátor dobrovoľníkov)

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14. júna bude náš druhý filmový večer o LGBT

Po veľkom úspechu prvého filmového večera 17. mája, ktorým sme si pripomenuli Medzinárodný deň proti homofóbii, teraz pripravujeme druhý filmový večer o právach LGBT, ktorý sa bude konať v Záhrade – Centre nezávislej kultúry (Námestie SNP 16, Banská Bystrica) v piatok 14. júna o 18:00.

Tentoraz sa budeme touto kontraverzou témou zaoberať z úplne inej perspektívy: budeme premietať taliansky dokumentárny film Due volte genitori (Druhý raz rodičom), režiséra Claudia Cipellettiho, v produkcii Ageda Onlusa, s podporou od Európskej komisie, z projektu Daphne II „Záležitosti rodiny“. Film nazerá priamo do srdca rodiny a na to, ako sa rodina  prispôsobuje informácii, že ich syn alebo dcéra sú homosexuáli. Matky a otcovia sa vyrovnávajú so svojimi zničenými očakávaniami a začínajú akceptovať svoj vlastný „prerod“ ako rodiča, mimo samotného faktu homosexuality.

flyer 2 volte genitori_2

Film uvedieme v taliančine so slovenskými titulkami a potom bude nasledovať diskusia v slovenčine a angličtine, moderovaná Radom Slobodom z Univerzitnej skupiny Amnesty International v Banskej Bystrici. Vďaka Tlmočníckej a prekladateľskej spoločnosti FHV UMB bude s nami aj Stanka, ktorá nám pomôže s prekladom.

Vstupné na podujatie bude dobrovoľné a sami budete môcť rozhodnúť či a akou sumou podporíte náklady centra Záhrada.

Tu je podujatie na Facebooku, aby ste nám mohli pomôcť s propagáciou akcie! Pri tejto príležitosti chcem vopred poďakovať našim partnerom pri organizácii tohto podujatia: Centru Záhrada, Amnesty International, Tlmočníckej a prekladateľskej spoločnosti FHV UMB, a prekladateľom titulkov (Roman Ries a Paulína Majerčáková).

Teším sa na stretnutie s vami v Záhrade!

On June 14 our second movie night about LGBT

After the big succes of the first movie night on May 17 to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, we are now preparing a second movie night on LGBT rights, which will take place in Záhrada Centre of Independent Culture (Námestie SNP 16, Banská Bystrica) on Friday June 14 at 6 pm.

This time we will tackle this controversial issue from a completely different point of view: we will watch the Italian documentary Due volte genitori (Parents reborn), a film by Claudio Cipelletti produced by Agedo Onlus with the support of the European Commission, Project Daphne II “Family matters”. The film looks straight into the heart of the family as it adjusts to the news that their son or daughter is homosexual. Mothers and fathers cope with their crushed expectations and begin to accept their own rebirth as parents, aside from the issue of homosexuality itself.

flyer 2 volte genitori_2

We will watch the film in Italian with Slovak subtitles and afterwards there will be a discussion in Slovak and English moderated by Rado Sloboda from the University Group Amnesty International Banská Bystrica. Thanks to the Interpreters and Translators University Agency (Tlmočnícka a prekladateľská spoločnosť FHV UMB) Stanka will be there to help us with the translation.

To take part in the movie night, you will not be asked to pay an admission fee, but you can make a voluntary offer which will go to Záhrada to cover electricity costs.

Here’s the event on Facebook, so spread the word! I also seize the opportunity to thank in advance our partners in the organisation of the event: ZáhradaUniversity Group Amnesty International Banská Bystrica, the Interpreters and Translators University Agency and and the subtitlers (Roman Ries and Paulína Majerčáková).

I hope I’ll meet you all in Záhrada!

Homophobia seen by a 17 year old young man

Last week in Italy the discussion about homophobia hit the headlines after a 17 year old young man wrote a touching letter to La Repubblica, the most important newspaper of the country. I think that the letter is really worth reading, so I would like to share it with you. Here’s a translation into English:

Dear editor,

this letter is perhaps my only alternative to suicide. The reason why I decided to write this letter is what happened in the cathedral in Paris. A man, from the right-wing political area, spectacularly committed suicide on the steps of the famous church to protest against the law passed by the French National Assembly allowing gay marriages .

In spite of the Christian morals, I believe that suicide is an act deserving respect: a person who decides to give up the most precious thing he has for his ideals deserves our respect and admiration. Nevertheless, in spite of this consideration, I can not help thinking that what happened in Paris is a vain act committed by a foolish person. The others keep on living even after we die. We are doomed to disappear, even though we rewrote the history books. If you die because you want to stop the society which is trying to evolve and become more civilized, it means that you are dumb and you are overestimating by far your power.

In reaction to the French historical law, the Italian Parliament has immediately declared that it supports the idea of equal rights for all. A promise which is much vainer than the act of a foolish. We all know that Italy is one of the most conservative countries and that it does not want to look as the most progressive. Imitating or, even worse, pretending to be as such is just enough. The Italian society shudders just at the thought that two persons of the same sex can love each other: because it is against nature, it is against religious morals or simply because it is a form of stupid hatred – stupid enough to be common in our country. We often forget that allowing homosexual marriages does not necessarily imply giving children to “abnormal” couples: it means letting two people love each other. This is what marriage is all about, especially in the Catholic mentality. So why such a fierce battle?

I am gay, I am 17 years old and this letter is my last alternative left to suicide in a barbarian society, in a world that does not accept me even though this is the way I was born. The brave ones are not those who commit suicide when they are almost 80 years old, but those who survive to adolescence with such a heavy burden, well aware of having done nothing wrong but listening to their feelings. It is not about vices or perversion. Not all of us were  lucky enough to be born eterosexual. If only there was less discrimination and more sympathy or Christian piety, everybody would stop hating people just because they, for some unknown and unfair divine will, were the lucky ones. I am not asking the Parliament to pass a law allowing homosexual marriages – I am not that foolish – I just want to be heard.

A so-called civilized country can not abandon some of its members along the road. It can not afford to do without a law against homophobia, a scourge leading many young people to commit suicide in order to find their freedom, the freedom that they lost when they started breathing. There is no wrong in being what you are. The real mistake is living pretending to be different. We are not demons, and we were not touched by the devil when we were born. We are simply unlucky and part of a changing destiny. But we are proud of it. The only thing that we ask is to live.

Photo exhibition: an EVS story

Today I would like to share with you some pictures collected by Nicole and Jose, two EVS volunteers in Poland. Their idea was to ask current or former EVS volunteers to send them a picture from their EVS experience and a short description of what the picture is about. Their aim is spreading knowledge about the European Voluntary Service.

Here’s the link to the Facebook group to have more information

Here’s the link to see the pictures

Enjoy the pictures 🙂

Emanuela