Last week I spent a lot of time helping out at Geração Tecla so I thought now was a good time to explain what they do there and how I and the other EVS have been getting involved. Geração Tecla is a project that works for the social inclusion of young people and young adults from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds. They look to provide equal opportunities and foster social cohesion. The project works with the young people from the Social District of Santa Tecla which includes a large Roma community with whom a lot of their work is primarily with.
The overall aims of the project are:
- To promote school inclusion of the children and youth of the Roma community
- Promoting community and citizenship of children and youth of the Social District of Santa Tecla
- To promote vocational training and employability of young people and young adults of the neighbourhood
During the summer a number of activities are run for the young people to enjoy and I was also able to help out with a number of them over the last couple of weeks, including one I organised myself!
I’m going to call the activity organised crazy games which explains itself in a way; I prepared a number of games for the children to just get stuck into and have some fun. These included an egg and spoon race, three-legged run and a leap-frog race. The best game was probably a water race where the teams had to fill up large jugs from a large bucket but the only way they could transport the water was with cups that I had cut a number of holes into. It is safe to say everyone got very wet.
We also spent a morning at Bom Jesus, a beautiful site, high up the valley side. There we all split up into teams for orienteering which gave everyone the chance to explore the area on a glorious morning. I went with one team and it is safe to say I probably did most of the map reading for the young people.
The day after the visit to Bom Jesus, I again went on an excursion with some of the children from Geração Tecla. This was very exciting as it was an opportunity for them to try American Football, a sport very few of them had experienced before. At a number of stations they were able to try kicking, passing, making runs and catching the ball and also flag football. Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.
It is really good to help with these activities as it provides opportunities to those who would not probably get them and being able to help in delivering that, even if it is in a small way, is very rewarding. I also like to think that I have already developed some good relationships with the young people at the project and with another nine months of my EVS to go, I hope I can continue to develop these. The work those at Geração Tecla do is vital in equipping the young people and young adults with the skills that can help them as independent people later in their lives, whether it is a hard skill such as helping with academic work or soft skills such as communicating effectively or team work.
Another really exciting thing that happened last week was the painting of the stairs leading up to the building. Carlotta, with the help of Alifya, worked really hard to add some extra colour to the building and the results are excellent. I could try and describe it but I think the best thing to do is add a picture.
I also continue to go and play football with the young people, though the amount of times I have now been nutmegged by a number of the kids is starting to get embarrassing; they just have a technical ability that I am not able to contend with. Though I suppose not having much in the way of technical ability is pretty typical for an English football player; please refer to Euro 2016 for evidence. However what really continues to amaze me when I go to play football is the respect shown by everyone to one another. The young people are all extremely competitive but they are very good at refereeing the game among themselves and very rarely is there any disagreements, something which you would not find in England from my experience.
It was also a very important week for Geração Tecla as they held their party to mark the end of the academic year. A large chunk of the community was in attendance as well as a number of special guests, including the President of the Red Cross in Braga. Following some speeches a number of awards were given out to the young people who had shown excellent commitment to school over the course of the year. An important part of the work of Geração Tecla, celebrating those who have demonstrated this commitment is a way of continuing to highlight the importance of this to everyone. After the awards had been given out, we were able to enjoy some traditional Roma dancing by some of the older young people before some food and cake was laid out. A mad rush by the children ensued for all the good food before the adults were left to eat the healthy bits remaining.