<img class="imgr" alt="Master-class in straw plaiting" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-373.jpg">[b]The participants of UNESCO Clubs from Belarus, Armenia, Romania and Latvia took part in the children’s international project Preservation of Non-material Cultural Heritage which was organised by the Belarusian Association according to the program of the European commission — Youth in Operation [/b]<br />The youth camp at Zubrenok, and then the children’s rehabilitation-health-improving centre in Zhdanovichi which is located near Minsk, suddenly became multi-national. Participants of the forum studied and lived here. Five participants from each country aged from 15 to 17 came here. Guys were mixed, and then divided into teams, they thought up their mottos and names, and every day, participants were learning the culture of an unfamiliar country.
The youth camp at Zubrenok, and then the children’s rehabilitation-health-improving centre in Zhdanovichi which is located near Minsk, suddenly became multi-national. Participants of the forum studied and lived here. Five participants from each country aged from 15 to 17 came here. Guys were mixed, and then divided into teams, they thought up their mottos and names, and every day, participants were learning the culture of an unfamiliar country.
“It is great that the project was started in the Belarusian style,” said the co-ordinator of the project, Dmitry Vaskovich, joyfully. Traditional Belarusian music rang through the corridors, while doors and walls were covered with various slogans in the Belarusian language with transcriptions and translations into English.
Friends from Latvia, Armenia and Romania were met with bread and salt before breakfast. After that visitors drew pictures. They were asked to put to paper their associations with Belarus. So they did it, depicting storks, aurochs, potatoes… There were also huge stoves, and draniki. In the evening, the holiday continued. The girls and boys tried on Belarusian national costumes and told fortunes.
Emotional guys from Armenia stirred up the participants with active, outdoor and cheerful games. And they also organised a ‘sweet’ photo-presentation of their country. In the photos we saw, not only fruits growing in Armenia, but also traditional sweets. All participants regaled themselves with some of these sweets at breakfast. While during mini-lessons they willingly practised the pronunciation of Armenian words.
Team from Romania prepared a game called Quest! Participants searched for treasures. Maps were hidden on the Zubrenok territory and these maps led each team to ‘treasures’.
On Latvia’s they sang national songs, danced, tried traditional Latvian dishes and played different Latvian games.
“At the end of each day we summed up,” Dmitry tells. “We worked in such a way that each participant could change the program. If there was an idea to hold an additional master-class, to teach something to their colleagues, we always welcomed it and changed the plan of actions.”
The meeting of representatives of the UNESCO Clubs ended with the youth international scientifically-practical conference Live Heritage which was held in Minsk’s National Centre of Creative Art. “Not only delegations from countries of the projects took part in it, but also pupils of upper schools from Belarus,” says the administrator of conference, Alexander Alexeev. “There were two forms of participation: internal and correspondence. In total we received about thirty reports. All of them will be published in the conference collection.”
Representatives of the countries of the project came to welcome the participants of the forum and this communication was in English. Customs, ceremonies and holidays, knowledge and customs concerning nature and the Universe, skills connected with traditional crafts were all discussed in sections of the conference. Special colour was added by national costumes worn by the youth. Belarusian pupils told about holidays, wedding ceremonies and symbols of Belarus life, while guests shared the peculiarities of their own cultures.
Master-classes were held after the ‘oral’ part. Belarusians taught guests straw plaiting. Romania taught to how to paint Easter eggs and to make dolls from spoons and pieces of cloth. And all the participants danced national dances.
At the end of the conference each participants received a certificate.
The following next day a quest-excursion across Minsk was held for the delegations. It consisted of ten tasks. Each group had to find certain objects and to make creative photos.
Nobody wished to leave. Everyone enjoyed this project, thanks to which guys travelled across several fields of the non-material culture of Belarus, Armenia, Romania and Latvia.
By Yulia [b]Bukel[/b]