Третій день – знайомство з JugendSozialwerk Nordhausen e.V.7 June 2017
Четвертий день – швидкий та інформативний день знайомства з різними організаціями8 June 2017
Another emotional day filled with lots of information, knowledge, and ideas about new projects.
Our morning started with cold weather and +10 outside, though it was sunny but windy.
And plan work for the day included: visiting des HPZ Wülfingerode (school and projects for youth with special educational needs), Pferdehof Herreden ( accommodated living groups for young people with difficult social backgrounds) and meeting at concentration camp memorial center „Lager Dora.“
We got out of Nordhausen using autobahn and reached a village, where there is a school for kids with special educational needs. The school is located in the center of the village and is filled with teachers who love what they are doing and at the same time are constantly searching for the ways to motivate kids to go further and reach real goals in their life.
For me, Wülfingerode school felt like a special place. It is not a regular school because kids that study there are children that require special attention and approach and they truly get it. There is grammar school with grades from 1 to 6 (so it makes the youngest ones that stay there around six years old) and the middle school till the 9 grade.
The smallest kiddos are staying with one teacher in one classroom all the time (and this concept is very close to the whole direction of Ukrainian primary school system), and they have rooms where they live and learn how to take care of themselves.
Another part of the school consists of the premises where older kids study, work, play and find out how to be independent. The primary approach that the teachers use that is somehow innovative and somehow based on Maria Montessori method. Kids study the subjects while creating special projects concerning everything. For example, if they learn Napoleon wars- they are not just studying history, but mathematics and geography at the same time.
And pedagogy team have developed a particular way of reaching out to the young people. They have a notebook, where they fill in how the kids were behaving during the day. If kids were good, they receive 5 points – and can use the Internet and self-phone for an hour. The notebook is filled with red and green dots, and first, we (children of the Post-Soviet era) thought that red is for bad behavior and green for good. But we were so wrong… There is no wrong approach from these teachers to their students. The green and red mean good things, just in different quantity. If you behave not so good, you might get to use the internet but only for 15 minutes. So, next time – you will think: “Hey, maybe, I should do something better?”
And another part of the building is a workstation, where kids can come and create something beautiful with their hands. This gives them the opportunity to blow out the steam and not to be concentrated on intellectual work all the time. And I cannot describe how beautiful their work is! It is amazing and so professional, and selling it gives the young people the independence and opportunity to feel that they can influence something in their lives.
I could go on with a description of the school, but the day was productive of other experiences and thoughts as well.
Our next stop was Pferdehof Herreden – which is a house for eleven boys, who have some difficult social background and have problems of adapting to the community. It is a unique place, even for Germany, and children come here from different regions. What makes it so unique? It has the approach of creating a connection between the animal and kid (since sometimes, it is hard for such young boys to be open with a social worker). There are horses, rabbits, and chickens there (and one absolutely adorable dog) and children take care of all of them and learn how to be responsible. At the same time, it helps to solve some of their problems. Of course, it is understandable that behind the ideal picture of school and living house there are tons of hard work of motivated people, for whom this job is not a mere obligation, but a way of lifestyle and they are passionate about what they do.
We have spoken to so many people tonight, but their eyes burn with desire to help kids and with a bit of tiredness, as this work is not easy….
I have such a long blog entry today, but I have many different thoughts about this and ideas how to implement it in Ukraine. For me, during this day, my heart was aching for Ukrainian kids, who are sent to the orphanages by their parents with weak support from the government or local authorities. We are just starting our way on creating such family homes, and it is a very long one…..
The third part of the day was a visit to concentration camp memorial center „Lager Dora“ that was a unit of the already existing camp Buchenwald. The main purpose of the camp was to organize an underground production of weapons at the Mittelwerk plant, including ballistic missiles V-2, which were produced by workers from the Nordhausen camp. Now this place looks very calm, but the atmosphere there is hard and depressing. It feels like the air still contains the suffering and pain of thousands of people. It is not very easy to even write about it… But we had a meeting with a team there to think about possible partnership and ideas for the project. Our connection is adamant due to the history of our countries, and we can create something good. It is important today because people started to forget about the atrocities and horrors of war.
This day was indeed long, and I have a lot to think about. I feel that I need a couple more days to digest everything and understand it. But I hope that you read till the end (yes, it was long) and will continue reading tomorrow 🙂