July 2010 Newsletter
Welcome to the July ’10 newsletter of Centru Tbexbix.
This year the summer club is spanning over four mornings a week. Fifty children are divided in 4 groups according to age, and this year the groups were given the names of four Maltese trees, Pine, Laurel, Carob and Oak. Our 7 EVS volunteers together with Sophie plan different activities, which are mainly fun but educational at the same time.
Once a week is dedicated to an outing. Children enjoy coming to Centru Tbexbix but sometimes we have the feeling that it is not big enough for the children and we are limited in our activities. So the weekly outing gives the extra unlimited space which makes a difference and gives some freedom to the children. During July we visited Ta’ Qali, Mdina, St Thomas Bay, Bugibba and Pretty Bay.
Visit to the Mdina Glass and Ta’ Qali National Park
Our first outing of this summer club was on Wed 7th July. We visited Mdina Glass at Ta’ Qali where the children watched the glass blowers at their work. Afterwards we spent some time at the National Park, playing some games which Bettina had planned.
Mdina and Natural History Museum
When considering which museum would be best to take our children to, the Natural History Museum came up as first choice, knowing that kids are usually fascinated by different birds, insects, plants, etc. Courtesy of Heritage Malta, the children and volunteers enjoyed a guided tour of the museum, and learned about the flora and fauna of the Maltese Islands, as well as some mammals, many of them still living in these islands and some of them long extinct. A quick walk around Mdina and we ended in the playing field where of course all children had a share of the swings slides and other gadgets.
Not all kids are the same!
- by Anna
Lina and Lorena from Koperativa Kummerc Gust (an organization promoting fair trade) came to Centru Tbexbix and organised activities to help the children understand how certain daily products, eg. tea, coffee and cotton, are produced, how big companies in western Europe and North America make a big profit while labourers in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe work under inhuman conditions for meagre wages.
“ In many countries children like you have to work. They cannot go to school or play with their friends because they work the whole day,” Lina and Lorena explained to the children who opened their eyes wide on hearing this.
The activities included a drama wherein each child was responsible for a different section in the production of a pair of jeans, cutting the material, sewing the pockets and so on. They had to "work" as fast as they could and the bosses - Lina and Lorena - were pushing them harder and harder.
Afterwards, during the discussion, the children said that they felt very bad when they could not finish their work, even though they did their best and they said that they would never like to work like this in reality.
Thanks to EVS volunteers Lina and Lorena, for accepting to come and share this experience with our children. The more education there is about human suffering in different parts of the world, the bigger are the chances to find solutions, to bring change in this world.
Rights of the Child
Another related awareness-raising activity this month was about children’s rights. Anna presented the United Nations’ Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the children were motivated to learn some of the articles by doing drama in small groups.
As a follow-up to this activity it is planned to make a big poster and expose the rights of the child to everyone who comes to Centru Tbexbix. It is important for all children to know their rights, that, among other things, they should not be beaten or sexually abused and that they have the right to express their opinion in issues affecting themselves.
Once again, time for another EVS volunteer to leave us. Anna was with us for the past six months. With her cheerful and bubbly personality, she quickly became a very popular team member. From the beginning she showed a lot of talent and creativity, and soon took over the English club sessions for the second phase of the scholastic year, moving on to planning drama and arts @ crafts activities during the first month of the summer club. We wish to thank Anna for her dedication, kindness and love for the children, and may she continue to develop in all ways especially with respect to the medical career she has chosen. She writes:
After six months volunteering at Centru Tbexbix my time is now over. The fact that I have to leave came almost as a surprise for me because I was accepted to take up medicine studies at a university in Norway, and I didn’t really expect to get a place. So now I will leave small, warm, sunny Malta for a place with 240 rainy days a year...
But it’s not mainly the sun that has kept me warm here in Malta (even though it helped J No, it is the loving and friendly atmosphere at Centru Tbexbix and all the amazing people who work there that I will keep in my heart now when I leave. And of course all the crazy and lovely Tbexbix children !! They can really give someone a hard time and take all our energy sometimes, but when one sees their joy and laughter it becomes clear why i’s so wonderful to work with children.
Last I would like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to Katherine for being a good boss, friend and “mother”, to Didi for her guidance and for teaching me meditation, to Lucia, Bettina, Arianna and Ogun for all the wonderful memories of everything we have done – at work and in our spare time – to Aleksei and Oguz for being good workmates and to everyone else who have made my Malta time the best adventure of my life so far!!
Thinking less of ourselves
... and more about other people, other creatures, is the underlying theme of our summer club this year. From the beginning the children have been instructed to think all the time of how whatever we do can affect other people, and do our best to make others happy.
As always, baking is a popular activity with all age-groups, and in Arianna’s class children made muffins, biscuits, and even pizza. Before they went into the kitchen, the children were asked whether they would like to share their creations with some people in our neighbourhood. They really liked the idea, and were so excited that they just wanted to knock on every door... not realising there is a limit to how many people their muffins can feed
Circle time, Monday 19th July. All the children were sitting in the big room, each group in each of the four corners, marked Pine, Laurel, Carob and Oak. Some children were telling us how they spent the weekend and I was starting to mention the beach outing of this week, when suddenly Christian, from the laurel group, rushed in, chin down, face serious as if his pet had just died. I caught him by his arm and pulled him towards me: What’s wrong Chris?
“I am angry.”
“Why? What happened”
“Because of my father”, he blurted out in front of the whole room. ”He never came to see me during the weekend. He spends all his money on alcohol, and ...
I pulled him towards me and told him: “It’s ok, we’ll talk about it. Wait a bit.”
All the children followed their tutors into the respective rooms, including Christian. A short while later, though, Christian came into the kitchen with some excuse, and we started talking again. He told me that his father drinks 30 bottles of beer in one day, and he’s drunk every day.
I told him that I understand very well what he’s feeling, because a very close relative of mine was also an alcoholic.
I asked him why he think his father drinks, and he replied: “ He says to celebrate. But he can also celebrate without drinking beer. Why does he have to drink so much beer to celebrate?”
I told him that I’m sure his father loves him very much, and he said: “Yes, I know he loves me. When he’s drunk he’s always saying: Where’s Christian, where’s Christian,“ and while saying this he was swaying to and fro imitating a drunken person.” I don’t like to see him when he’s like this”.
I asked him: “Do you tell him how you feel about his drinking?” He said: “Yes, I tell him many times, but he still does it. He has been doing it since I was three years old, and now I’m seven.”
While we were talking his anger had faded somehow, but the pain was still apparent. He spoke about how he spends his time with his mother at his grandparents, and sometimes at his mother’s boyfriend playing on his computer. Christian is a very bright boy, very mature for his age.
The talk we had explains some of his negative behaviour, like when sometimes he refuses to listen or participate. He looks like a strong little boy, and hopefully he will always have people around him who will support him and help him survive.
(The boy’s name has been changed for obvious reasons)
There are many different ways how to contribute to the success of Centru Tbexbix. Through volunteering (in classes, administration, odd jobs, maintenance), donations in kind or financially, etc. The opportunities are endless.
One way to support the efforts of Centru Tbexbix is through the "Friends of Centru Tbexbix" scheme with a small monthly contribution by standing order. Centru Tbexbix holds the following accounts: HSBC 013-085675-001 and BoV 400-1705136-1.
For more information on how you can help, call us on
21/27 805130 or send an email to email@example.com.
This newsletter will be coming to you every end of the month, with the intention of keeping regular contact with the growing circle of friends of Centru Tbexbix, keeping everyone informed of what is happening as well as sharing the inspiration of this blossoming community project. The intention is to keep it brief and factual. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.