The “Children’s Land” project brought together over 100 children from 7 different schools from the Municipality of Dragash, Prizren and Shtërpce – location which have the largest number of students from the Serbian, Turkish, RAE minority communities. During the implementation of the project, we had participants that included children from the Albanian, Serb, Turkish and RAE community and it was essential that the children felt safe and close to each other.
Culture is one of the essential components of a child’s identity development as it fills them with joy and a sense of belonging. Teaching children how to respect cultural diversity by showing them how to recognize the universal characteristics we all share, helps them to build a strong character.
Based on that, we have put together some of our favorite activities for children from all communities, thus positively impacting their diversity and inclusion. Our activities are done in nature, through the form of entertainment.
Outdoor activities play a major role in physical, intellectual and emotional development. Engaging in outdoor activities strengthens physical health, provides exposure to vitamin D, supports cognitive and emotional/social development, improves motor and sensory skills, increases the attention span, and contributes to a better mood and sense of well-being in children. At the end of the project, the children were a lot happier and more relaxed after being exposed to nature. We always start from the principle that children’s education providers should always inspire children to engage with nature and build mutual respect between communities.
The project was led by a professional team that included guided hikes, yoga session, fun games, learning about flora and fauna, inclusiveness and other topics. Another important aspect was to have children be open to different communities and through fun and games, to make them come together, learn together and communicate. This instilled important life skills, self-confidence and improved behavior.
The children’s festival “Children’s Land” was conducted over two weekends, in Brezna lake. During this time, the children gained more knowledge about these activities:
- Identifying the local flora and fauna of the mountains of Sharr,
- The ability to develop different games to get to know and socialize with each other,
- Cleaning the Badovc lake from garbage (always focusing the message on the importance of keeping the environment as clean as possible),
- Prepare for hiking trips,
- Ways how to conduct a group walk,
- The camp and camping equipment.
And in the end, there was a Yoga session with a professional instructor – this helped the children to relax their minds and body.
The visual presentation and the messaging of the festival were the first activities that we carried out with great dedication. We have tried to present the festival as visually as possible and create an acceptable image of the it for the target age groups – with the goal being to include children from as many communities as possible. Since this festival aims to be an annual event, we worked with specialist in crafting the visual language and the messaging. We think that the “Children’s Land” festival has been very well presented and stood out in the media and social networks.
The children had a wonderful time, from the feedback we received. We remain hopeful that similar activities will be a standard practice, where children from different communities come together and enjoy nature in its glory.
The project was supported by UNMIK – United Nations Mission in Kosovo UNMIK and implemented by the Utalaya Foundation.