Socializing Cultural Program

Supported by the center “Open Education” and the charity fundKabaivanska”

and

Positive Social Adaptation of Children at Risk

supported by the “Development of Civil Society” Foundation

 

A theater director and a very good friend of mine invited me to join the project “The Soul of the Subject”, conceived as a joint theater activities for children, deprived from parental care from the social home “Ran Basilek” and children from the nearby regular schools.

Unfortunately, just before the beginning of the project, she had to leave to USA so I executed it by myself.

I felt so strong emotions in the relationship with these kids that I stayed to work with them nine months instead of three. As I felt this was my mission, I wanted to give them all my love, to make them feel they have a friend, to teach them how to love. I found the violence in which they lived horrible!

I wrote my first national project: “Socializing Cultural Program” with which I was ready to eradicate the evil of the entire country at once! For some reason my good intention was not accepted.

I understood I had to split up the project into small pieces. Then I wrote two similar “Socializing Cultural Programs” for two regions and applied for two different foundations.

By that time another project, called “Positive Social Adaptation for At-Risk Children” won the support of the foundation “The Development of the Civil Society”. The head of this project were two of my closest friends-directors who shared my social opinion and ideas.

Its main theme was education for everyone who would like to follow the idea and have the field where to practice it. So the project took place in five social shelters for homeless children deprived from parent care, located in Lovech and Sofia.

Our team of “Theater Tsvete” joined it as well.

During the 300 – hour training with Dr. David Jeroham “Psychodrama And Art Techniques To Work With Children-Victims Of Violence,” we received news that both my “Socializing Cultural Programs” won the support by charity fond “Raina Kabaivanska”  (six homes in  Montana region)  and the center “Open Education”(five homes in Kyustendil )

 

WHEN?

In October 1997

 

WHERE?

Every day, in a new house for different children with the same diagnosis: SUFFERING FROM LACK OF LOVE – sixteen houses for children, with a deprived childhood in Kyustendil, Lovech and Sofia

 

WHAT?

Since most of these social homes were built in areas away from civilization, we tried to make our visits a cultural event for the entire local community. In the pre-sent information on upcoming visit we proposed to the home directors to perform our awarded show “Grandmother Stories” in the community cultural center to a wide range of audiences.

Such an organization was made only in two of sixteen places. In most cases, teachers in the shelters became people who could not find another job and they pretty much did not care about the current one.
Theatrical performance was our visiting card, which we introduced to the children.
By winning their sympathy and their interest in our art, they willingly involved in the initiatives offered to them.
And what we offered was to do theater together.

In the theater, everything depended on everyone – from the one on stage to one that illuminates him/her, from one who dances to one that plays the music, from the man who made the puppets to the one that pulls the curtains….
It was important for everyone whether the show would be successful or not. And it happened when all understood that everyone was not less important than the other
The theater was a powerful tool for building skills in team work.

To alleviate “doing theater” – a brand new task for these children, we used the familiar fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood.” It gave basis for the discussions that we wanted to hold the children – violence, trust, gratitude, etc.

The children in a shelter were from 50 to 120. Due to the capacity of our Lada vehicle, there were only five of us.
We divided the children into groups of interest: actors, designers, singers and dancers.
They chose individually in which one they would like to get involved.
Under our guidance the”designers” made puppets – the same like ours, which “actors” used to rehearse. These were puppets of colored cardboard and light shingles, which remained for them, wishing them new performances.
There was a fifth group – those who did not want to get involved in anything. The smallest, and actually was not the easiest.
General rehearsal, performance, applauses, discussions followed which surprised teachers and aunties.
And then, after their dinner, came the last part of our program. I cannot find the words to name it. We always proclaimed it “disco”, but it turned out to be an evening for sharing feelings, experiences and artistic experiments…
A very small part of these kids were real orphans; the majority was “social orphans” – children a burden to their families, unwanted and discarded.
Children who knew their parents and waited for them to come, but they never did.
So – every day from 13.00 to 23.00 – our team was in the heavy air of unclean buildings orphanages. Among the countless stories that sounded like a thriller, but were the reality of the children that embraced us, made us wish to take them away and to become their potential parents.
But the next day we were about to leave. We were only a meteor in their darkness.
I hope they kept the glow and remembered our meeting! To find some light in their memories at least. Desiring to give warmth to many, many children in the country, my projects provided one-day visits in as many homes as possible. This was not the right strategy for sure.
From 23.00 to 13.00 was the rest of our working hours – these when we told the stories each other, shared sympathy, analyzed, remodeled. If we fell asleep, we woke up from nightmares. Indeed
martial Baptism …

We felt a huge difference in the results of our work with children who met in three consecutive months in the implementation of “Positive Social Adaptation for At-Risk Children” Project. The time we devoted to the children was never enough.

But I believe we should try to plan it to be the most useful for them in the future
Due to the fact that they were waiting for our next meeting, motivated them to be active in the tasks that they have to do independently. There was time for reflection and further conversations started. There was time for the emergence of friendship. There was time for running the process.
Each of our visit began with a puppet show, which began to bring among our home-kids at least a dozen other from the village! (After “Grandmother Stories” followed “Who conquered the Sun?” – Puppet show about the violence including spectator’s participation and “Snow Adventures” – an interactive Christmas show about the  friendship.)
In the frame of this project we involved in “
School of Tolerance” for over 350 children.
Participants were divided into 2 groups:
    -6 – 12 years old: Construction of a theater show, based on given problematic situations which decision had to be found by the children altogether.
So the kids in five social homes worked under the same starting conditions, but we ended up with five different shows.
    -12 – 18 years old: Discussions about current social problems; building up a musical satire Christmas puppet show. 

 

DIARY:

MAYA – THE GOOD FAIRY, WAVING THE MAGICAL STICK WITH INSPIRATION TURNS OUT TO BE A GIRL OF SADISTIC INCLINATIONS. ANNIE – HUDDLED UP FOR PROTECTION – IS ONE OF HER PERMANENT VICTIMS. NEW ROLES – NEW ATTITUDES!

 

TWO CROP SHORT KIDS WALLOW ON THE FLOOR. ONE OF THEM SCREAMS.                                                                                                         DON’T BEAT HIM! – I CRY TO THE OTHER.                                                                                                                                                                                    THE BOYS DON’T BEAT THE GIRLS! – EXPLAIN ME THE SCREAMING ONE, – WE PLAY IN RAPING.


 
Memories of Tsvete Yaneva