Presentation of the projects “Magic Village” and “Variety of Banat Colours”
Within the joint UN programme “Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development“, and the thematic area ‘Educational tourism based on the concept of active learning’, which is supported by UNICEF, two out of six projects for the development of the models of the child and youth educational tourism, have been presented during the month of April 2012, with the support of the “Friends of Children in Serbia”.
The “Magic Village“ project, which is realized in partnership of the Association of Citizens “Kreativa” from Banja Vrujci and Primary School “Milan Rakić“, has been presented on 17 April 2012 in the framework of the manifestation “Children Easter Gathering”, which saw its eighth edition this April and which supports artistic, literary and drama creativity among children.
Presentation of this unique destination, where children, in the miniature village made of small houses of different colours, through the games with fairies and sorcerers, learn about the life in the village, care about nature and make traditional dishes and handicrafts, has been attended by over 50 teachers from the schools and kinder gardens from Serbia, Macedonia and Republic of Srpska (BiH) and 30 pupils of the lower grades of primary schools “Prva osnovna skola” from Valjevo, “Sava Kerkovic” from Ljig and “Milan Rakic” from Mionica, and the Red Cross of Vrsac.
Educational programme, where the children actively learn about different subjects in the ambient classrooms, like forests, meadows, fields, orchards, gardens, watermills or rivers, is linked with educational process and curricula, and it can be implemented as an out-of-the-school activity. The “Magic Village” can accommodate a seven-days school programme of the recreational classes for around hundred pupils, but it can also be a half day excursion for the family.
‘We are aware that, if we want to nourish creativity in the “Magic Village”, we have to work on the development of critical way of thinking and behavior of pupils, by giving them a chance to play with their ideas, to modify them, but also to relieve them from fear that is unnecessarily imposed upon them in the school system’, said Zeljana Radojicic Lukic, project co-ordinator.
After the presentation of the “Magic Village”, followed the two days touristic and educational programme within the project “Variety of Banat Colours”. The participants could feel part of the activities created in the partnership of the Vrsac Red Cross and primary school “Mosa Pijade” from Gudurica, and learn about different colours of nature, culture and people living in Banat.
Together with children from Gudurica, the adults have participated in different workshops, from the team work to learning about communications between themselves, to communication with animals and care for them. They could learn about the language of horses, make houses for birds, but also to discover Vrsac following the routes of its noblemen – Paja Jovanovic and Jovan Sterija Popovic.
For Banat to be of a variety of colours, great contribution is given by the City Museum, National Theatre, Literary Municipality of Vrsac, City House, Old Pharmacy on the Stairs and other institutions, where the activities are being carried out in the ambient where children’s imagination, functional thinking, creativity and establishment of contacts are being instigated.
The importance, originality and functionality are given to the “Variety of Banat Colours” by the partner institution – primary school “Mosa Pijade” from Gudurica. “In this school, multiculturalism is developed and nourished, old traditional dances and games are played, old customs are preserved and co-operation is fostered”, said Mr. Bosko Mitrasinovic, “Variety of Banat Colours” project co-ordinator.
Just like the “Magic Village”, the project “Variety of Banat Colours” offers school and out of the school programme and is available for organisation of seven-days recreational classes for lower grades of primary schools, as well as excursions for primary and secondary schools, for up to one hundred pupils, but also for one day and weekend visits independently from schools.
The development of the educational tourism in rural areas can significantly contribute to the community development. At the round table held in Gudurica on this occasion, it was emphasized that the child and youth tourism requires partnership and co-operation, healthy diet and high quality tourism contents, therefore many actors are needed for its successful development.
Besides the contribution to the rural community, one of the goals of the programme, and UNICEF as its component, is to improve the quality of education through the active learning programmes. “It is very important to show that, through these models and with carefully designed educational programmes, children acquire functional knowledge necessary for their intellectual development”, said Vera Jovanovic, programme officer for children in rural areas.
About the Joint UN Programme ‘Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development’
UN Joint Programme Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development works towards the diversification of the rural economy through sustainable tourism to improve the quality of life, reduce poverty, and address environmental degradation in rural Serbia. One of the key activities of the Programme is the development of the National Rural Tourism Master Plan. Activities of the Programme are implemented in South Banat on the Danube, East Serbia, Central Serbia and Lower Danube.
Five UN agencies, including UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) in cooperation with a number of national partners in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, namely the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and the National Tourism Organization of Serbia, are implementing the Joint Programme.
The Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) is providing 4 million USD for the implementation of the Joint Programme.