Community Helping Inclusive Learning and Development
CHILD – Community Helping Inclusive Learning and Development - is a project funded by the Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) in cooperation with The Austrian NGO Interkulturelles Zentrum (IZ). The two year project started in mid 2013. Its mission is to promote access to and mainstream inclusive services and settings for children and families from different ethnic backgrounds suffering from post-conflict trauma, poverty, disability, and/or difficult family situations.
The activities of this cross-border project are being implemented by two organizations in Armenia – members of the Caucasus Network for Children (CNC) Bridge of Hope and Orran, as well as Union Beryllus, Liberta and Civic Development Institute in Georgia. The later are affiliated members of the CNC and are acting also as partners of the Social Inclusion Support Program of the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science.
What have the stakeholders accomplished in the last few months of their work? The results have surpassed any expectation. As always when children are involved they seem to multiply the effects of any undertaking by the sheer fact of their energy, enthusiasm and creativity.
In Georgia, 300 children with special needs are working hand in hand with 400 children from regular schools in clubs of reading, crafting, drama and sport. A favorite program here is the Theater Festival where children integrate to put on a fantastic performance.
To disseminate Roma history, a banner has been published to include short information about Roma history and biographies of celebrities with Roma background. With the permission of the Ministry of Education and Science the banners were put in the entrance of each school where Roma children study or live in the local community. To better promote the needs of the Roma community research that aims at examining living conditions, problems, attitudes and traditions of Roma communities settled in different districts in Tbilisi is underway. Under the lead of Liberta the research is thematically related to international studies conducted in the field about Roma communities.
In Armenia in the last three months, through its campaigns “Kindness starts from us”, “Beauty will save the World” and public actions devoted to the Lovers' Day and Army Day, Bridge of Hope brought together children and youth with or without disabilities, parents, community leaders, authorities local officials, NGO and civil sociality organizations, Medical centres and Mass Media. The organization also included 488 children between the ages of 6-18 in lessons of art therapy, paintings, ceramics and other hand crafts which were presented during an exhibition on Mothers' Day. The theatre group here is getting ready for the Theatre festival in Georgia, envisaged for autumn this year as it goes around performing in Armenia.
Seminars and workshops
Seminars for parents and youth on themes “Environment cleanliness”, “Volunteering”, “How to protect the rights of the minorities”, “Computer games and their harmful influence”, “How to create and run blogs”, “Small and medium enterprise in Armenia”, exhibitions on the artwork of Bridge of Hope beneficiaries were organized in all the regional centres. Blogging is a favourite tool to communicate and discuss matters of concern. Six Media Club’s members have created their own blog and use them as an advocacy tool.
Orran, an NGO that works with vulnerable children in the cities of Yerevan and Vanadzor has embraced eighty three children in the city of Vanadzor. The children here work together in workshops making art crafts highly praised by the clients of the city. Their Christmas festival attracted hundreds of customers who bought them out and put in orders for future products. The sewing class here for the children and their parents had such quality products that an international organization World Vision put an order with them. Orran’s newly built center is so beautiful that children of other schools are in line to come and hold activities in union with the Orran children. Susanna Tadevosyan of Bridge of Hope summed it best:
“Leave it to the children; they will overcome any barrier whether it is physical or cultural”.
You can find more actual information about the project CHILD in Armenia by following its blog here