Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups

 Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups

The project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" is implemented by the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center in the period March 2015 - April 2016. It aims to contribute to the development of three rural communities from Cluj County (Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul), addressing issues related to multiethnic communities and their development through volunteering, by mobilizing all the local actors to generate positive changes.
The proposed activities in the communities Tureni, Floresti and Sinpaul involve several lines of action: development of a multicultural club in each beneficiary school intend to encourage positive relationships between children of different ethnicities; training and empowerment of local municipalities in the effective management of inter-ethnic relations (through a training course for the City Hall's representatives, through a jobshadowing activity in Norway, but also through permanent involvement in all actions taken in the community); creating the context for interaction and involvement in all the communities through the proposed community actions, promoting events etc.
The project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" is financed through EEA Grants 2009-2014, within the NGO Fund in Romania.

Project's novelties:


04/27/2016 - The project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" has mobilized three communes of Cluj County

Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center (CVCN) finalises at the end of April the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" aimed to develop three rural communities from Cluj County (Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul) by addressing the issues of multiethnic communities and to develop them through volunteering and by mobilizing local actors in order to generate a positive change at the local level.
During the 12 months of the project, there were implemented activities focused on the one hand on the primary classes children from the three communities, involved in weekly non-formal educational activities, organized as multicultural clubs, and on the other hand on parents and teachers involved in organizing and implementing the community actions and photovoice exhibitions, and also on representatives of the town halls who participated at training courses and study visits in order to improve the management of multiethnic communities.
133 pupils aged between 8 and 11 years-old were involved for a year in an alternative educational program designed to foster positive inter-ethnic relations. In the three communities involved in the project, the pupils attended 81 multicultural club meetings, during which was developed a collection of methods to approach the interethnic relationships among children.
In addition to the pupils involved weekly in the multicultural clubs' activities, other more than 520 students, 29 teachers and 32 parents participated at the puppet theater, photovoice exhibitions and community actions meant to foster the interethnic networking within each community.
To implement the multicultural clubs and all the activities with a focus on the pupils from the three communities, CVCN mobilized 30 volunteers (18 local and 12 international), who accumulated during the 12 months of the project 2,466 volunteering hours.
To involve representatives of public institutions in its efforts to increase community cohesion and the development of positive relations between the members of various minorities of the community, seven representatives of town halls and five professors and teachers from Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul had participated to a training course on the management of multiethnic communities and three of them participated to a study visit in Norway to observe directly some functional models implemented by various Norwegian organizations.
The approach of the issues derived from interethnic relations by addressing representatives of public institutions and also by developing an educational program was presented to 20 representatives of town halls and schools from other 14 rural multiethnic communities from Cluj County, in a dissemination course realized when the project was finalized .

04/25/2016 - Rural communities seen through the eyes of children

Over 80 primary pupils from Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul tested their abilities of photo journalists in an endeavor initiated by the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Centre, designed to stimulate the children to critically analyze their communities, and to transmit to adults the aspects that they perceive as positive and to be improved in each of their communities.
In the period 15 th of March – 15 th of April, more than 80 children (Romanian, Hungarian and Roma) from the three multiethnic communities were involved in an alternative educational process, based on the method PHOTOVOICE meant to empower the children and make their voice heard in the community. Accompanied by volunteers and facilitators of the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Centre, children captured in pictures realities of their communities, special places, relics, beautiful customs preserved in time, valuable buildings, aspects of ethnic traditions, but also, garbage, abandoned houses and unfinished works. All these elements captured by children have resulted in four Photovoice exhibitions, in which each image is presented with a message from the author of the photo. The exhibitions were opened during the period 11 to 22 April, in the City Halls of Cluj-Napoca, Floresti and Tureni and Secondary School "Ioan Alexandru" from Sinpaul.
Hundreds of citizens who visited these institutions in the past two weeks had the opportunity to see and read about how children perceive their community.
"Children have captured very well the realities of our village, took pictures both with beautiful things, but also with those of which we cannot be so proud and the messages sent were very sincere." Rodica M. (Director of the Secondary School "Ioan Alexandru" Sinpaul).
"The children were very proud to see their photos exhibited both in school and in town halls, as for many of them, their own exhibition was the first exhibition that they visited." Ioana B. (Community Facilitator of the project "Volunteering as a bridge between ethnic groups").

Photovoice is a way to send a strong message by presenting the "Alive Photo" realized by disadvantaged, marginalized individuals who do not have neither the ability/power to determine the introduction of their problems on the public agenda, nor the capacity to mobilize themselves in the pursuit of a common interest. This method is very flexible and can be adapted to various situations (community needs assessment, mapping of issues, evaluation of public programs etc.), to various disadvantaged groups and to different areas (environment, health, education etc.).

04/08/2016 - Rural communities mobilized by children

550 kilograms of selectively collected waste from 5 villages in the commune Tureni, 48 bags of rubbish collected from the streets of the village Sinpaul and a 100 square meters of fence transformed into a work of art in Floresti are the tangible results of the three community actions initiated by the team of Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center and conducted between 31 March to 6 April 2016, in the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups."
Over 230 pupils of all ages, teachers, parents and representatives of the three town halls invested their time in order to make a change in their communities on their own strenght.
In Floresti, the Secondary School "Gheorghe Sincai", coordinated by art teacher Dan Vlasiu for two days, over 65 students and volunteers worked at the school’s fence transformation. From a gray concrete fence, the hardworking hands of all those involved have achieved the most important work of art from Floresti - 100 square meters with beautiful nature landscapes. Now the fence is not only a boundary of the space but a beautiful image in the school with a positive effect on students who study there.
In the 5 villages of the commune Tureni, younger and elder people were mobilized and they selectively collected over 500 hundred kilograms of waste. Children from kindergarten to people over 50 years old, who were informed and mobilized representatives of city hall, and the village priest, in the case of the village Ceanu Mic, responded affirmatively to the initiative .
The action in Sinpaul involved all students, regardless of ethnicity or social status, in the activity of gathering the waste from the village. Split into teams with teachers and volunteers, in a few hours, the children gathered over 45 bags of rubbish, some of them surpassing in size of the youngest children involved. Bags were brought to the main street, where they were taken by the competent authorities.
All those involved were happy to participate in the volunteering actions and had understood that the contribution of everyone is required in order to make visible improvements in the community.
"It's like we have a forest in the school yard. I did not expect that our hands could create such a beautiful thing" told us Ana S. (pupil from Floresti) at the end of the fence rehabilitation activity.
In Tureni, the school director assured us that the action is just the beginning of a process of community mobilization: "We will definitely continue this initiative and we hope that in time we will be able to involve more people" Mrs. Carmen P. (Tureni’s Secondary School Director)
"Students had a lot to learn from this activity and enjoyed to be volunteers. Their efforts have been rewarded by the results and the confidence that they can make changes, too "declared Mr. M. Augustin (teacher in Sinpaul School).


03/31/2016 - Hundreds of students engaged in extensive volunteering actions

Hundreds of students and many of teachers from Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul villages are invited to be involved in the ample local volunteering actions of Cluj-Napoca Volunteering Center.
If Sinpaul public spaces will be cleaned by the students of the Secondary School "Ioan Alexandru", the fence of the Secondary School "Gheorghe Sincai" from Floresti will be redecorated. Last, but not least, from five villages of the commune Tureni, waste will be collected (paper, plastic, glass and aluminum).
250 students and 20 teachers responded positively to the CVCN’s call and town halls from Sinpaul and Tureni undertakes to provide for the staff and volunteers, the required tools and personnel.
The deployment of forces aims at promoting volunteering as a way to involve citizens in solving community problems and raise their awareness on the importance of active participation in community life.
Besides volunteers, students, teachers and representatives from the mayors, at the actions are expected community members too.
Community action agenda include:
1. Refurbishment and decoration of the Secondary School "Gheorghe Sincai" Floresti’s fence. The action will take place on 31 March and 1 April starting at 13:00.
2. The selectively collected waste by community members in Comsesti, Martinesti, Ceanu Mic, Tureni and Micesti villages, will take place on Saturday April 2nd starting at 10:00.
3. The sanitation of Sinpaul village in April 6, starting at 11:00. The share of the necessary resources and distribution in teams will be organized in the courtyard of the Secondary School "Ioan Alexandru".
Voluntary actions were prepared in the weekly multicultural clubs organized in each of the three communities involved in the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups." In their preparation volunteers, students, teachers and parents were involved.

01/29/2016 - Training Opportunity for representatives of schools and town halls from Cluj County

Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center selects social workers and teachers from the rural communes in Cluj County in order to participate at the "Multiculturalism as a bridge between ethnic groups" course. This course is a learning opportunity for adapting working tools to the realities of multiethnic communities.
The course will take place between February 29 and March 1, 2016 and will take place at a hostel near Cluj-Napoca.
During the two-day course, participants will learn through interactive methods, models of good practice developed and successfully implemented under this project, in order to stimulate positive interethnic relation.
The project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" implemented by the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center started in 1st of March, 2015 and ends in 30 April, 2016. A series of activities which have ensured successful alternative education services have already been organized in the 3 schools Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul. There have been created multicultural clubs with weekly activities that brought joy for the children in the area, regardless their ethnicity. The activities undertaken actively involved over 250 children and members of the three communities.
Also, representatives of the town halls of the three communities (Tureni, Sinpaul and Floresti) participated in a study tour in Norway in June 2015 to observe and take over effective methods and tools in the management of interethnic communities.


02/11/2015 - More than 500 children watched the play The Colored Pinguin

The story of the penguin painted by a monkey and excluded by his group has been the subject of a puppet play watched by more than 520 children in Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul order to teach children what ethnic discrimination means.
The puppet play "The Colored Penguin" was offered by Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center together with Magic Puppet team. The play has addressed the theme of interethnic relations in an innovative way, specially designed for children, and had the purpose to stimulate acceptance and tolerance among students.
The Cultural Houses in the three villages were full thanks to over 500 children who came to watch the story of the penguin Lia, who was excluded from the group of penguins in the zoo because she was painted in pink by the monkey Dali.
The play presents how the penguin was trying to rejoin the group of penguins and how finally manages to do this with other animals and monkey Dali's help. Dali, put in a similar situation, understands the injustice she did for Lia and Dali painted her back in black and white.
The play ended with a discussion between actors and children. They had identified the inappropriate behavior of penguins that have excluded Lia just because of skin color and they have appreciated the effort of the other animals to help Lia.
"I liked the elephant very much because it helped the penguin not to be sad", said Florina V., a second grade student from Sinpaul.
"Children really enjoyed the show, they understood the message and were sensitized to the current situation" says Valentina C., CVCN volunteer.
The play is part of the "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups", project implemented by Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center, which aims to improve the ethnic relations in three rural communities of Cluj (Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul) through education and by addressing the issue of multi-ethnic communities and their development.
The City Halls and the Schools from the three communities were actively involved in the event, providing the spaces, ensuring the transport and children's surveillance throughout the performances.

12/10/2015 - More than 100 children from three communes from Cluj discovered multiculturalism through games

More than one hundred Romanian, Romani and Hungarian childrern from the villages Sinpaul, Floresti and Tureni enjoyed an entertaining day offered by Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center (CVCN) within the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups". Accompanied by parents and teachers, the little ones were captivated by the face painting workshops, they proved to be skilled treasure hunters, they learned to do juggling and they watched an outdoor movie after attending the screen's installation. So, CVCN's objective - to stimulate the interaction between local residents, regardless their ethnicity- was reached.
Things went well, children were involved and have enjoyed very much the prepared activities, so I felt, especially in Floresti and Tureni, where we adapted a bit the program and the approach as a result of the reactions we had observed at the children from Sinpaul. The children were grouped into teams based on age criterion, so the activities could be adapted to their age.
In Sinpaul, the event was attended by 62 children accompanied by parents, three teachers and even the Director of the school, Ms. Rodica Marchis and the City Hall was represented by the Mayor's Counselor Bogdan Rusu. "The children have enormously enjoyed the dynamic activities, the teambuilding games, especially the face painting and origami workshops", said Ioana Bere, Program Coordinator at CVCN. To the success of the activities, the City Hall from Sinpaul contributed a lot by providing not only the sports ground and the Cultural House, but also a power generator which was required due to a power failure in the village. "It was very nice, we prepared interesting activities for children and they really enjoyed them," said Denisa D., a local volunteer.
The action from Floresti was attended by 28 children accompanied by parents, the school Deputy Director, Ms. Daniela Briciu and the Chief Secretary, Ms. Liana Morar.
"It was so beautiful, we played with many children and many volunteers all sorts of new games," said Ana P., an eight years-old participant.
At Tureni were 38 children, a teacher, the mayor, Ms. Elena Manaila and another representative of the City Hall. "We are proud to support such initiatives in our community, because everyone benefits from this" said Bogdan T., representative of the City Hall.
CVCN organized these events by involving the children from the multicultural clubs they founded in May in the three communes. The Romanian, Romani and Hungarians pupils involved in these clubs had met weekly, in order to learn through non-formal education methods the lesson of tolerance. Coordinated by Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center, they have invited all the children from the community and their parents, regardless their ethnicity, to enjoy the prepared activities.

05/10/2015 - Ludic activities and film projection with multicultural character in three villages from Cluj

Face painting workshops, a treasure hunt, juggling and watching a movie outdoors - are just some of the surprises prepared for the inhabitants from Sinpaul, Floresti and Tureni by the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center, within the project "Volunteering a bridge between ethnic groups". The activities will be realized with support of the City Halls and the schools from the three communities and will attempt to reinforce the interaction between local residents, regardless of their ethnicity.
CVCN organizes such events by involving the children from the multicultural clubs they founded in May in the three communes. The Romanian, Romani and Hungarians pupils involved in these clubs had met weekly, in order to learn through non-formal education methods the lesson of tolerance. Coordinated by CVCN, they have invited all the children from the community and their parents, regardless their ethnicity, to enjoy the prepared activities with joy.
The agenda of the community actions include:
1. Games and creative workshops with multicultural specificity for children (treasure hunt, face painting workshops, origami and juggling);
2. Preparation of the screen and of the area where the projection will be performed;
3. Promoting the movie in the local community, with the help of children and volunteers;
4. Screening of the movie Bekas and conclusions.
The games, the creative workshops and the treasure hunt will be prepared for the children from every community. They will have the opportunity to discover the multicultural character of their communities through playful activities prepared by the team of volunteers of Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center.
The activities from the community will be followed by a screening of the film Bekas (2012), directed by Karzan Kader. The film shows the challenges faced by two orphan Iraqi children, in their attempt to find their purpose in life and to fulfill their ideals, in this case, that of finding Superman. The project will be realized in an unique way, with the support of Cinemobilul. The children from the community will be involved in the screen's installation, but also in preparing the room for the projection and in promoting the event among other community members, children and adults.
The activities will take place on the 7th of October, 2015 in Sinpaul at the Sports Base and at the Cultural House starting at 13:30, on the 9th of October, 2015 in Floresti at Gheorghe Sincai School, at 15:00 and on the 10th of October, 2015 in Tureni at the School with classes I-VIII, starting at 16:30


18/09/2015 - CVCN is looking for volunteers for community actions

Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center announces the selection of 10 volunteers to develop 3 community activities that will take place in Sinpaul, Floresti and Tureni during 7-10 October 2015.
In each of the three communities, the activities' agenda includes:
• games and creative workshops with multicultural specific for children, starting at 15:00
• preparing the area where the film will be projected and its promotion in the community, starting at 17:30
• watching a film for children and adults outdoors, which begins at 19:00.
The community activities are part of the project "Volunteering as a bridge between ethnic groups" that has as the main purpose to develop the three above mentioned communities through educational programs and community actions which address inter-ethnic relations.
Volunteers' responsibilities:
• participation at training sessions to prepare games and creative workshops (contribution with ideas, preparation of the necessary materials etc.);
• active participation in at least one community activity.
• willingness to participate at the training sessions organized by CVCN, to prepare games and creative workshops, in the period 28.09.2015-05.10.2015 (it will last 6 hours, the exact day will be decided together with the selected team of volunteers);
• availability to participate at least at one community activity and to be actively involvement between 12:00 and 22:00, in one of the communities Sinpaul, Floresti and Tureni;
• organizational skills, initiative and flexibility;
• desire to work with children from rural areas, in the inter-ethnic context;
• humor, patience, attention, playful spirit, openness;
• enthusiasm and assuming the tasks;
• Ability to work in a team.
Offered benefits:
• the chance to develop your personality (communication skills, teamwork, time management skills, resource management skills, organizational skills etc.);
• positive working atmosphere, dynamic and multicultural environment
• reimbursement of all costs associated with activities - transportation in communities, materials etc.
Selection process:
Interested persons are asked to fill in the application form by accessing the link http://goo.gl/forms/opbiHjGyXF until the 23rd of September at 22:00.
All applicants will receive an e-mail about the result of the selection, and those selected will be contacted individually to establish the exact date of the training session for the preparation of games and creative workshops.
For any questions or further details please contact us at the address international@centruldevoluntariat.ro, of phone: 0743-057879 (contact person Mariann Arkosi).

03/08/2015 - Training for 12 representatives from City Halls and rural schools

Between 27th and 30th July 2015 Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center organized the training course "Interculturality, a bridge between ethnic groups. "The course aimed to increase the understanding of the concepts and phenomena related to interethnic relationships and to develop the necessary skills to effectively manage interethnic relationships among the 12 participants, the representatives of schools and municipalities form three rural communities (Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul) involved in the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups".
The course was built on participative and interactive methods, topics such as collaboration interethnic, intercultural competence, current context and history of Roma people in Romania, the mechanism of discrimination, deconstructing stereotypes and prejudices as well as methods of intervention against acts of discrimination were approached. In this sense, the course participants tested the method of Forum Theater, a way of experiencing the community involvement in combating discrimination directly.
Through this course, CVCN aimed to encourage local authorities to accept that community development should become a planned process that involves a conscious intervention in the community, which can be done just by the municipality, schools or other local public institutions representatives.

22/06/2015 - Results of the activity Jobshadowing Norway-IOM

During 14-18 June 2015, two persons from the CVCN team and three representatives from Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul City Halls, participated within the project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" at a jobshadowing activity in Norway, at the International Organization for Migration.
During the 3 days visit, the Romanian delegation had the opportunity to understand the complexity of approaching integration issues in Norway, to visit and to know the five institutions and organizations involved in the process of supporting refugees and immigrants including Roma people.
The three days included visits to organizations, workshops, film screenings, meetings and discussions with persons directly involved in the implementation of all measures intended to facilitate the integration of immigrants.
The visit aimed at understanding the mechanisms related to interethnic relationships, but also taking over some models of good practice which can then be transferred to the multi ethnic communities involved in the project (Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul).The conclusions of the meeting are to understand the integration process as a long term process, where the measures must be structured and cohesive, but should be addressed to the people, behind any statistics.

27/03/2015 - "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups", project's start at Cluj

Multicultural clubs composed of Romanian, Hungarian and Roma pupils will be established in the communities Floresti, Tureni and Sinpaul from Cluj, within the European project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups", implemented by the Cluj-Napoca Volunteer Center (CVCN) starting from March 2015.The three communities have a significant percentage of Roma and Hungarian people, which is why the project aims to train municipalities to manage more effectively the inter-ethnic relationships.
During next year, CVCN intends to mobilize all local players in order to generate positive changes in the inter-ethnic relationships in Tureni, Floresti and Sinpaul.To achieve this goal, several lines of action were built.
CVCN will establish multicultural clubs in the School "Gheorghe Sincai" from Floresti, in the School with Classes I-VIII from Tureni and in the school "Ioan Alexandru" form Sinpaul. 75 students will be invited to take part in weekly club activities that will have the role to stimulate positive relationships between pupils of different ethnicities, but also to raise awareness of children on the fight against hate speech.
A second method of project is the preparation and empowerment of local City Halls in the effective management of inter-ethnic relations. To achieve this goals, CVCN will organize a training course where the representatives of the City Halls will participate. The participants will have the opportunity to travel to Norway in order to become familiar with the working methods applied by organizations which work with ethnic groups.
To foster inter-ethnic interaction, CVCN promises some unexpected community actions, to which all community members will be invited.
The project "Volunteering, a bridge between ethnic groups" takes place from March 2015 until April 2016 and is funded by the EEA Grants 2009-2014 within the NGO Fund in Romania (www.fondong.fdsc.ro) with the amount of 74 249 euro.