The Saranda Children’s Home is a center for Albanian orphans part of the government care system. Here I’ve been working continutiously with the dedicated staff to improve the extracurricular programs that are available. One program we’re very proud of is our art program.
Art is known to open up the imagination and inspire ideas for creative problem solving, connecting long term to many aspects of life.
Taking an existing room and exhibit space at the home, we have transformed them to be more accessible and in regular operation. It’s more than art; it’s a work room, a space for active hands-on development and for looking at intriguing books on craft skills, science, gardening, fashion, and other topics. Regularly when I arrive at the Home, the children run to me to ask if we’re doing art projects that day. They take pride in their work and actively seek to do more.
Within the work of artwork we bring up many topics, some are everyday things like listening and following directions, respecting teachers and helping others wth projects without doing it for them. They’re being sensibilized to the idea of art formation as a calm time to express creativity, active problem solving in small groups, a manner of expression for bigger topics, and with more skills development they make their own creations.
Together with teachers at the home we have also addressed some other issues. Our most successful activity on April 4th, 2014 was “A Day for Stray Animals”. This was an initiative of the home’s psychologist, which was combined with art to learn about creating posters, stencil making and usage.
Discussions were continuous about the cause and related topics like how to care for animals, the community’s responsibility for them and activism in the name of things that are important to us. It culminated with the children on a cute protest and march through the streets, feeding the animals, chanting in front of the municipality and speaking to community members about the cause.