OneMinutesJr workshop in Călăraşi, Moldova (3)
by Chris Schuepp
Călăraşi, Moldova, 19 September 2012 – The third day of a OneMinutesJr workshop is always special. The stories are written, the props have been organized, the actresses and actors are lined up and everybody is ready to go.
Today we are planning to film at least seven or eight of the fifteen films we want to shoot with the participants here in Călăraşi. In the morning we meet as always in the garden of the NGO "Nadezhda" ("Hope"), a center for children and teenagers with disabilities. Founded ten years ago by the parents of a child with cerebral palsy, the family-run organization has developed into the major day care center for children with disabilities in the whole region. Almost 50 young people come here on a daily basis, from small babies up to high school students who cannot attend a regular school.
The first filming trip outside of Călăraşi leads us to the Nişcani High School. Two years ago the school administration opened the doors for children with disabilities to enable them to benefit from a new inclusive education scheme. Out of 125 students, there are now five with disabilities who are fully integrated in the daily school routine. Elena (15) and Andrei (14) are two of them and we follow their way to school and into the classroom with the camera today. There are always volunteers around them, classmates who help them up and down the stairs but also during the classes, actively supporting their reading and writing skills. Olga (14) is one of these volunteers. She is just about to produce a OneMinutesJr film about her experience with inclusive education. Needless to say, it is going to be a very positive film.
We continue our field trip down a winding gravel road through vineyards towards Păuleşti, a small village east of Călăraşi. Andrei lives here and he wants to show us where he gets picked up and dropped off by the school bus. About 200 meters short of Andrei's home, the bus trip ends. The 14-year-old boy has to walk the rest of the road because there a huge rocks, deep ditches and sometimes both in one place in between here and the front door of his house. Andrei can only walk with a special walking frame and it is very difficult for him to navigate through this almost lunar-like landscape. Showing this and complaining about it through his video is his best bet for an improvement of this situation, he thinks.
Meanwhile in the NGO premises several other films are in he making. Films about friendship and mutual support, films about education and its importance, films about self-esteem and the dreams and wishes of children with disabilities - all this is part of our workshop. The third day of the seminar then end in the afternoon with a visit to a local park in Călăraşi, where Elena (18) is performing an old Moldovan song in a black dress, showing everybody that she is very proud of herself and truly enjoying her life.