Message from the Regional Chair
Since the last Newsletter in December there have been a lot of activities going on in our Berlin office and in our chapters around Europe.
Most of the efforts have gone in organizing our European Conference which, as you all know by now, will be held in Varna, Bulgaria, May 30 – June 2. I am very much looking forward to this event because it is the time and the place where our members meet old and new friends. Besides participating in the different events, we also aim to contribute with new ideas to our common effort of increasing the number of chapters and members and making People to People International more and more successful!
For budget reasons, we will organize the Leadership Seminar in connection with the conference, so that more and more people will be able to attend to both events. Please, save the dates and remember that we would like to see all chapters represented!!!
For this year's European Youth Forum we need a considerable support from the EU which, we all hope, we will receive. Verena Denk, who you all know, has been very busy working on the 80 page application. Let's hope for the best! However the forum still needs more support. PTPE has given 1.500 euros. At this point we hope we will get the considerable amount of 25.000 euros from the EU!
I am very pleased also to see that there have been considerable activities going on in the different chapters: community, university, and student chapters! The student chapters above all seem to be very active and this gives us considerable strength to go on even if sometimes we feel it hard to keep on. The young are our inspiration and our future, so we always consider any of their requests or ideas with great pleasure and attention.I would also like to mention that our homestay program continues as before. We encourage each chapter to plan at least one trip each year. Participating chapters can be found online at www.ptpe.org/chapters.
Before closing, I would like to remind all chapters that the European Program Fund is always available to support new projects!
I think this is just about everything for the moment! Until we meet, I remain,
Lyubomir Dimitrov took part in an exchange program in Turkey, which motivated him to start a new innovative project in PTPI's Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter. Tsvetoslava Trayanova asked him about his experience and motivation.
What motivated you to participate in the "Focus on Ability" training course?
I have already been eager to help disabled children and adults. Apart from this I reckon that children devoid of parental care should be paid a lot more attention than they are now. The training course "Focus on Ability" gave me a great chance to develop my skills and potential to be in aid of such people. So, I immediately seized this opportunity.
Do you have any future plans for being in aid of others?
I understood that not only children devoid of parental care but adults with disabilities do need more care and attention. At this training I met many interesting people who gave me ideas for future projects that could be implemented in Bulgaria. The project that attracted me has been implemented for more than five years now in Catalonia, Spain. My idea is to carry out a similar project in Bulgaria in 2014.
What is the project and why did it attract your interest?
It is a Bulgarian round trip that includes visits of natural landmarks and various historical and cultural sights. The specific thing is that the tour is conducted with bicycles and some of the participants are people with disabilities, which are different from the physical ones. For this reason we need a preliminary and gradual preparation of more than six months. During the preparation the participants and the trainers get to know one another and communicate on a higher level. Those with special needs feel more comfortable and integrated.
Have you started working on the project?
At the moment I am looking for participants, sponsors, and support from Bulgarian institutions and NGOs. I am almost ready with the route itself.
What do you expect to happen with the project?
I will do my best to realize it. I hope that I will find many collaborators who are eager to support me. Of course, I know that I can always rely on my membership at PTPI.
Global Youth Service Day 2013
This year's Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) will take place April 26-28. All chapters are encouraged to participate in this weekend dedicated to humanitarian programs. For information and ideas about activities, please visit www.gysd.org.
European Conference – Varna May 30 – June 2
Together with PTP's Varna, Bulgaria (The Dolphins) Student Chapter, PTPI European Council invites you to this year's European Conference in Varna. Varna is located on the Bulgarian Black Sea Cost. The conference week has three components:
- Leadership Seminar: May 29-30 (optional)
- European Conference: May 30 - June 2
- Bulgarian Tour: June 3 - 6 (optional)
Humanitarian Programs - No Host Dinner - City walk in Varna - World Café in the Sky Bar overlooking Varna and the Black Sea - Opening Dinner in Horizont Restaurant only a few minutes from the beaches - Council Meeting - Chapter Fair - Bulgarian Night - Excursion to Kaliakra Peninsula, and Balchik Palace and Botanical Garden.
The Bulgarian Tour offers an excellent chance to visit the old cities of Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, and the Monetary of Rila (UNESCO World Heritage) in the Rila Mountains (1100 meter above sea level), and the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Along the way we will meet with PTPI chapter members.
Leadership Seminar: 10 EUR
Conference Fee: 115 EUR
Bulgarian Tour: 200 EUR
Deadline April 30. For more program details, early bird fees and scholarships, please visit www.ptpe.org/varna2013. For overseas visitors, we encourage you to combine the conference and Bulgarian tour with visits to other PTPI chapters in Europe.
Coming Chapter Events
For more details, please visit www.ptpe.org/events
|Monthly, first Friday||Berlin, Germany||Stammtisch|
|Weekly||Brussels, Belgium||Wednesday networking|
|March 5||Florence, Italy||Cine Corner|
|March 5||Skopje, Macedonia||English workshop at the SOS children's village|
|March 5-21||Denmark trip to Nepal|
|March 6||Berlin, Germany||Annual Meeting|
|Weekly||Brussels, Belgium||Thursday Coffee Morning|
|March 8||Skopje, Macedonia||International Women's Day|
|March 9||Chester, England||The Little Theatre|
|March 12||Florence, Italy||Cine Corner|
|Monthly, second Wednesday||Bern, Switzerland||English Conversation evenings|
|March 15||Interlaken, Switzerland||Annual Meeting|
|March 19||Florence, Italy||Cine Corner|
|March 21||Skopje, Macedonia||Ecology workshop with SOS children's village|
|March 21||Skopje, Macedonia||Spring Picnic|
|March 23||Kharkiv Student Chapter visits Katowice and Berlin|
|March 23||Sternberk, Czech Republic||Spring Welcome|
|March 25||Bern, Switzerland||Annual Meeting|
|March 25-April 1||Florence, Italy||Treasure hunt in Florence|
|March 29||Burgas, Bulgaria||Disco Party|
|April 4-10||Berlin travel to Denmark|
|April 5-7||Sternberk, Czech Republic||April Fools Weekend|
|April 15||Chester, England||Annual Meeting|
|April 16||Tallinn, Estonia||Training in Estonia|
|April 20||Denmark||Annual Meeting|
|April 20-21||Florence, Italy||Homestay|
|April 22||Florence, Italy||Earth Day events|
|April 24||Florence, Italy||Earth Day events|
|April 26-27||Worldwide||Global Youth Service Day|
|April 26-28||Florence, Italy||Creative Corner in Florence|
|May 1||Sternberk, Czech Republic||Waterfall|
|May 10-June 10||Lugoj, Romania||Language Ambassador|
|May 25||Sternberk, Czech Republic||Cylindr in White|
|May 27||Florence, Italy||Youth Conferene|
|May 30-June 2||Varna, Bulgaria||PTPI European Conference|
|June 19-22||Interlaken, Switzerland||American students' visit|
|June 27||Chester, England||Lakewood exchange and Lunchtime Concert|
|June 29||Chester, England||Lakewood Musician|
|July 1-4||Bern, Switzerland||Homestay|
|July 2||Chester, England||Evening Recital|
|August 16||Berlin, Germany||Excursion to Gotha|
|August 24||Brussels, Belgium||All Swiss PTPI meeting|
|August 24||Bern, Switzerland||Summer Party|
|August 28-September 1||New Orleans, United States||Board of Trustees Meeting|
|September 4-8||Denmark||"Women's cultural trip" to Tallinn, Estonia|
|October 26||Tørning Mølle, Denmark||Travel Café'|
The membership fees for PTPI community chapters are due March 1. All chapter presidents have received information about the fees and the annual report. Recently, the following two chapters have been closed: Tirana, Albania University Chapter and Thessaloniki, Greece Student Chapter. Two community chapters have been chartered: Lugoj, Romania (President Mihaela Hategan) and Gjirokastra, Albania (President Evana Simo).
PTPI offers through its www.ptpe.org website the opportunity for chapters to use web space for chapter websites. Please contact the European office for more information.
People to People International has lost one if its best friends and supporters; Regina Wälti, Interlaken Switzerland.
Regina got to know PTPI in 1984 as she met with Susan Eisenhower. She served on the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, as PTPE Treasurer and was the founder and president of PTPI's Interlaken, Switzerland Chapter.
She hosted the Worldwide Conference in Bern in 1992 and the European Conference in Interlaken 2007. During the years, the chapter has hosted approximately 600 homestay guests from different countries in Europe, USA and Asia to the Bernese Oberland.
For a group of local teenagers, she organized a USA tour with numerous homestays.
She participated in many world and European conferences. On the occasion of three large deliveries of aid goods to children's homes in Romania, Regina inspired people in the Ro-manian cities Bucharest and Roman to establish PTPI chapters. Both chapters exist until today, whereby the Bucharest chapter is a sister chapter of Interlaken.
Through her membership with PTPI, Regina got to know, and appreciate, many people and cultures of foreign countries and thus truly implemented the PTPI principles Peace through Understanding and Having friends all over the World.
Since the beginning of the year, we have been very busy.
During January and February, we held journalist workshops, which were organized by one of the founders of Organization of Creative Grouping (OOCG) and PTPI's Belgrade Chapter, Jelena Kolo. There were 10 young people attending the workshops in the Youth Office Palilula, Belgrade. The outcome of the workshops is a new look for the bulletin "Infocreation," which is taking into account the needs of modern young people. The bulletin became a blog on which young people are writing for young people, informing them about all activities that concern the youngsters in the region or in the world: culture, art, science, sport, and other creative ideas for spending free time.
In January, another blog was launched as a result of the workshops on creative writing. Its name is "Blogcreation." Workshops were guided by the blogger, writer, and volunteer of OOCG, Milan Jokic. The blog originated from the OOCG volunteers' wish to share their thoughts and ideas and to stimulate dialogue among Internet and social media users. The aim of this blog is to be a place of creative grouping, to promote healthy and constructive communication, and to debate. Authors of the texts are young people who are writing on all the issues that are inspiring them and want this blog to be a source of positive and creative ideas that could be shared freely with readers.
We ended this successful period by celebrating the seventh anniversary of OOCG in the Youth Office Palilula, Belgrade. More than 25 young volunteers organized a wonderful evening full of surprises, joy, games, tasty cakes, music, and mutual friendship. We have used this opportunity to promote People to People International and its values among the youngest volunteers of OOCG.
We are currently planning the following activities for young people:
- We shall organize two workshops on non-violent communication for the pupils of the Law and Public Administration High School and in the House of Secondary School in Belgrade. The workshops will be led by peers and volunteers of our Organization of Creative Grouping (OOCG).
- For the end of February, we are preparing two performances: the Musical "Chicago" on February 23 and the performance "Doctor Office" on February 24. Both will be performed on Stage V, in the Fifth Gymnasium in Belgrade.
- In March and April, we are preparing three visits to the youngsters in the Center for Child and Youth Protection, which is taking care of children of all ages without family. Through dance, music, and other surprises, the youngest volunteers of OOCG will allow the children from the center to enjoy a special time.
Jelena Kolo, Secretary
I would like to start with a review about our Christmas meeting last December. So many members and friends signed up for the event that we have to find another restaurant with a much bigger room! More than 25 people joined this event. I was very happy that three young members from our new student chapter in Berlin spent the evening with us. Lars Poignant honored, among others, Judith Schömbs for her good work finding places to show the PTPI murals in Berlin.
This year we only had two meeting in restaurant "Heidelbeere."
February 6, we invited members and, it is to be hoped, new members to the exhibition about the Berlin Wall. The Berlin artist Yadegar Asisi made a huge painting called "The Wall: panorama of the divided city of Berlin." Today, anyone who is older than 30, will remember it – the day in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. In 2012, Asisi reconstructed this bulwark of the Cold War in the form of a monumental panorama on display at Checkpoint Charlie, 15 meters high and 60 meters in circumference. After the visit we all went to a very traditional restaurant called "Henne." This restaurant is well known for serving excellent chicken. So we all ordered one and enjoyed the rest of the day eating, drinking, and talking. Many thanks to PTPI Trustee Hans-Dieter Robel, who had the idea for this meeting.
Our next event was February 16. We met in the afternoon for a performance in the theater "Märchenhütte" at Monbijoupark. Fairy tales belong to the wintertime like gingerbread and baked apples. The little stage is in an old wooden hut with a warm fire place, and hot chocolate or mulled claret invites you to listen to the actors and to lose yourself in the world of fairy tales. Dagmar Schönbeck was so kind and ordered tickets for the whole group. Fourteen members participated. After the performance we all went to a nice restaurant in the neighborhood.
That's all so far...
Hope the New Year will be a good year for all of you, and a successful year for PTPI all around the world.
Hannelore Büchler, President and Trustee
Berlin, Germany Student Chapter
Our chapter was chartered in October. We are a group of 14 people of different ages. Although the majority of the people never implemented a project before, the motivation and ambition is very high. We raised almost 200 Euros in only two months. Now, everything we want to do can be put into practice without the aid of any other organization or sponsors.
In December, we distributed flyers as a special PR effort to promote our own high school in Berlin and motivate people to bring their children there. Furthermore, we did a flash mob in the middle of Berlin, which consisted of singing a Christmas song and thus conveyed a certain Christmas feeling.
On Valentine's Day, we implemented our Valentine's campaign. One month before we had announced that our chapter would distribute roses for anyone with the wish to surprise someone he/she likes or loves. We collected envelopes in which the students had to put one euro and the name of their Valentine, of course, anonymously. Then we purchased the flowers and presented them to the people indicated. This campaign was more successful than we thought. Almost 100 students participated and took the chance to make someone happy by sending them a rose in secrecy.
For this year, we also plan a theatre play with some special performances to collect money for a good cause. Additionally, we plan to organize evening activities, which have something to do with the English language to improve the English skills of the younger students. Moreover, our biggest project should be an international flash mob at the end of the year in which we invite any chapter to come to Berlin to make it happen!
Cathy Sulaiman, President
Bern, Switzerland, Chapter
Our chapter is preparing for our annual meeting in Hinterkappelen. Board members will be elected (or re-elected), a new homestay coordinator chosen, and this year's activities planned, including our annual summer party in August. After the meeting, we plan to have dinner together at a nearby restaurant. Everyone is welcome!
The chapter was honored to host visitors from Nepal last summer. Excursions to the Grimsel Pass and electric power company, also to the Jungfrau, to Pilatus, and Lake Lucerne gave rise to serious discussions about the similarities and differences among Switzerland and Nepal. An important point to remember is that both countries are landlocked, and their greatest natural resources are their people.
Several members of the Bern chapter are making plans to attend the conference in Varna, Bulgaria, and will give a pep talk at the annual meeting to encourage as many people as possible to attend.
Linda Rickli, Board Member
Botevgrad, Bulgaria Chapter
Three times a week, we have video conferences with our president, Maya Arnaudova, who is currently in Madrid where she is planning new projects for our chapter.
During the meetings, we rehearse Bulgarian folk songs and old town songs for our participation in a town twinning project in August 2013. This project will allow us to exchange experiences about the PTPI chapter involvement in socializing events with adult and student clubs from Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Romania.
We also celebrate events dedicated to name days. This is a tradition even much more respected than celebrating birthdays. There isn't a day without dancing and singing.
We also make online chats with foreign friends and are open to new friendships. Another event that took place at school was the Christmas Bake Sale and like always it proved to be a great success.
Two students have been chosen to be animators during a workshop in V.Tirnovo in Varna and are preparing their handouts on SALTO – the support center for the Youth in Action Program of the EU.
Maya Arnaudova, President
In February, a one page article about being a foreign-national who has made Belgium his home and about the role of PTPI in Belgium was published. It was circulated to 188.000 homes in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is in Dutch/Flemish and talks a little about staying out of the box (so you do not need to apply out-of-the-box thinking).
I have already had a few comments from people, so we shall see if this gives PTPI a boost here.
Thanks Gery De Pierpont for helping me to review the Flemish. It is out there now and PTPI has a boost.
Chalks Corriette, President
Burgas, Bulgaria (The Vectors) Student Chapter
In the beginning of November, five of our members attended the All Bulgarian Conference in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. We learned a lot about the other Bulgarian chapters and had the opportunity to make useful connections with the Bulgarian members.
On November 25, we had a seminar on card and souvenir making held by two of our teachers. We learned about hand-made goods and used our knowledge to prepare for our next project – a Christmas Bazaar at the local mall.
This Christmas "The Vectors" organized a fundraising bazaar where we were selling hand-made Christmas cards and souvenirs. The stall was open December 6 until January 7 at the local mall. All of the members were scheduled to be on the stall for at least eight hours. The funds we raised will help the children suffering from cystic fibrosis in the region. Our project was covered by three local newspapers, which helped us educate people about the illness and the ways society can help the children suffering from it. During the whole process, we were very enthusiastic and passionate about the campaign. We are pleased with the result and the fact we could help people in need.
After more than a month of preparation and raising funds on February 13, we met with some of the children suffering from cystic fibrosis and their parents. We got to know each other in a friendly environment and it was a really valuable experience for all of us. We briefly told them about our work in the club and how we felt about helping them. With the funds we raised we supplied each of the children with their most needed medications. We also gave them small symbolic gifts – notebooks and pen kits for school. In return, the children had painted a drawing to thank us, a very thoughtful and sweet gesture, which will remind us of the good we did. This positive experience gave us the feeling we are making a difference in society as we raised awareness about the illness itself and made some new friends.
We are currently organizing our three projects.
The first one is a party held at a local disco, which will serve as an advertisement of our chapter among young people in the whole town, not just in our school. We will also raise some funds from tickets which we can use in our Global Youth Service Day project.
The second upcoming project is our eco project. We want to raise awareness about the ways one can preserve the environment and recycle. In order to do it, we are now researching interesting ideas on the topic and once we have enough information on the matter, we will create and distribute brochures. We also plan to hold a presentation or a workshop about ecology and environmental preservation.
The third project we will fulfill by the end of this school year. It is going to be our GYSD project and it is dedicated to the improvement of our school environment. We plan to repair and repaint the benches in the school yard.
Elena Marinova, President
Elista, Russia Student Chapter
In November we did all the things we planned. We organized an ecological day at our school: We prepared some flyers about the pollution of the environment and hung them on the walls of our classrooms. We also talked to the cooks of our school, so there were more fruits, salads, and juices offered on that day at school.
In addition, there were some contests like "The Greenest class," and the contest for the best menu for the school cafeteria.
We also held a bake sale. All in all, we raised around 75 euros and we're going to spend the money on the materials for crafts needed by the children who we recently visited at the orphanage.
We also continue with our Sunday school! It's going pretty well!
December 23, we organized a book and food drive to help the kids from the local orphanage in the center of Elista. Our goal was to provide each child with a present for the New Year. We shared our aspirations with the residents of our town and started spreading information via the media: Russian Facebook, local TV, and newspapers. We also told our schoolmates, teachers, friends, and family members.
We had a blast while collecting toys, candies, and New Year presents! We were singing Christmas songs and not only collecting presents but also giving back some holiday decorations that we had made with "Thank you" notes. We were glad to see so many people contributing to our drive and helping us!
All in all, we collected 47 items, big candy packages, DVDs, toys, office items, game sets, New Year decorations, clothes, shoes, books, and 343 Euros. With the raised money we bought two TVs.
We were blissful to see the smiles on the kids' faces when we went to the orphanage. It means that we made them happier and that was the most important part of the drive for us.
Olga Magneeva, President
The Florence chapter is going to organize a Cine Corner, during which a series of films, concerning disability problems will be shown. The chapter will start the film exhibition on March 5 with "We are all ...differently abled;" on March 12 we will show "Le Pays des sourdes" (in French), on March 19 the Italian film "Si Puo' fare", and coming up the film "Emmanuel's Gift", shown in English.
On April 20-21, the chapter will be also hosting six international PTPI guests for a funny week-end: they will be over 18, or a family with children aged 13 to 18. The guests will explore Florence and the surroundings, see the hidden treasures of the city and take part in a mouthwatering pasta dinner! They will also have fun participating in the treasure hunt the chapter has already planned. Applicants will be selected from three different countries and chosen among three PTPI chapters in these countries.
Our chapter has also an important schedule April 22 and 24, when we will celebrate the Earth Day by promoting events of "Edutainment". A couple of days later the chapter will also promote the Global Youth Service Day, during which we will assist Creative Corners and an amazing fable land storytelling in many languages.
The events will conclude on May 27 with the Youth Conference. There, an uppermost and ticklish theme will be discusses, namely the recent European Economic Crisis.
Kirste Milligan, President
At the board meeting held on October 22, the chapter activities of the past year were analyzed and a number of decisions were made regarding future events. Among other things, our chapter president, Daniel Rüegsegger, reported on his attendance of the Worldwide Conference in Tallinn, Estonia which he found exciting and informative.
November 16, we organized an information evening in the factory building of our chapter president. Chapter member Thomas Roth presented information about the association "Hope for Haiti's Kids," for which he is president. As additional financial resources are urgently needed for the school in Haiti, we collected donations.
The next general chapter meeting will be held in the restaurant "Landaus" in Unterseen on March 15. Prior to the event, Hans Fritschi will lead an excursion through the water protection area Weissenau.
Also on our agenda is an evening where the film "The Singing Revolution" will be shown. The date is not fixed yet.
June 19-22, like every year since 1996, we will welcome a group of Student Ambassadors from the United States and arrange homestays for them with families in the region.
August 24, our chapter will host the Annual Swiss Meeting, to which all PTPI members in Switzerland and international guests are cordially invited. Further details will be available soon.
The "English Scholarship" for students attending the commercial vocational school in Interlaken will also be granted in 2013. Students can apply to their English teacher if they are in need of financial support. Our chapter will take on the costs of the language stay in England for the selected student.
Ernest Wälti, Public Relations Officer and Charlotte Scheller, Vice President
Kharkiv, Ukraine Student Chapter
We hosted German guest Karl-Heinz Westenhoefer for three weeks in November. During the last week of his stay, we celebrated the Days of German Culture in our school. In our cafeteria there were German flags, as well as some information about the country. Our class made a newspaper about this country.
We ate traditional dishes, cooked by the German chef Karl-Heinz. He told us it wasn't his first time in Ukraine, but he enjoyed this trip the most. Although this week is over, it was fun and we learned a lot about Germany.
Currently, our chapter is in the process of planning a summer visit to chapters in Germany and possibly in Poland with the International Visitors Program.
Oleksandr Zagrebelniy and Daniel Pervukhin, Members
Klina, Kosovo Student Chapter
We chose to carry out the activity "Help people in need" to make poor people happy. We were 15 volunteers who raised money through companies located in our city. We were supported by the Youth center "Ardhmeria" and transportation for distribution of gifts was provided by our municipality.We finished this activity in January just as we had planned, successfully achieving our goals.
A lot of people have indeed benefited, especially the five poorest families in our municipality to whom the gifts were sent.
Erestina Krasniqi, President
Kurchatov, Russia Student Chapter
At the end of 2012, our Vice President Natasha Melinkovskaya took part in PTPI's Global Youth Forum in Chicago. Later in the fall, our chapter held a conference about "The Declaration of Human Rights."
We also organized a Skype conference call with our friends from Tampa, Florida. It was extremely beneficial and interesting for us and, I hope, for our interlocutors.
In 2013 we began a project in which we write about different topics, such as superstitions in different nations, symbols of countries, etc. The project will be evaluated by Kursk State University.
A few days ago, we hosted Toni Hull from the United States, who was in Kurchatov last April. She held a conference where we could ask her many questions about different matters. The next day she gave some interesting seminars for teachers.
Now we are full of enthusiasm and wish to do more original things, so we are always looking for something new.
Alina Vazhenina, President
Our chapter members meet in winter and in early spring at the House of Arts. We also regularly attend the programs of House of Arts.
Last summer we travelled to Lake Balaton, and spent time together in the summer house of Anikó Bedekovits-Garami. We lay in the sun, went swimming, and we also took a one day trip to the other shore, visited the castle of Sümeg and another small and beautiful town, Tapolca.
In September, ten of us (not only members) took a one day trip to Osijek in neighboring Croatia.
In October, we met with Daniel Schaubacher, PTPI member from Brussels, Belgium. It gave us a reason to arrange a party at Aniko's place.
Anikó Bedekovits-Garami, Vice President
Pravets, Bulgaria Student Chapter
With the support of our adult advisor Desislava Vasileva and Adam Meddoff, a member of the US Peace Corps, we organized a special educational project. On January 12, chapter members Vasilena Zhivkova and Yoana Marchovska, along with Desislava and Adam, visited the town of Teteven where they held an English course for the students of the Volleyball Club of the school "Teteven Volley." This school is situated in the picturesque area of Teteven and it is the first volleyball school in the country.
The course started with an ice-breaking game, and then we were teaching volleyball terms in English and reading a comprehension text. All of the participants had a lot of fun. In the end, all of them received certificates.
Lubomir Dimitrov and Desislava Vasileva represented PTPI's Botevgrad Community Chapter and Pravets Student Chapter in the training course "Focus on Ability" in Ankara, Turkey, which was supported by the Turkish Government and the European Union. They met 25 people from different countries who are working for people with disabilities. They shared experiences and gained knowledge about new techniques and good practices. The participants were also working with people with disabilities and kids in a special rehabilitation center. They now have a lot of new methods to share: beading, magic focuses, making figures with balloons, sand photos, and more.
The main organizer of the training, Mrs. Irem Ebru Kuru is the adult advisor of PTPI's Ankara, Turkey Student Chapter. The chapter members also supported the event, which was great.
Desislava Vasileva, Adult Advisor
Rome, Italy Student Chapter
Saturday, February 9, was the "XIII National Day of Gathering Medicines" in Italy, organized by the Foundation "Fondazione Banco Farmaceutico onlus," which is a non-profit organization, founded in 2000 in Italy with the aim to meet the needs of poor people.
Our chapter has participated with great enthusiasm in this initiative alongside the adult volunteers. At the end of the day, the result was surprising. People have contributed willingly and gave according to their ability to pay. In total, we raised 800 Euros. We also purchased and donated the medicine to the family home "il Cigno di Cesena."In January, our chapter had a very interesting discussion about how to teach the youth of today to respect rules. Each participant had the opportunity to contribute and speak his mind.
Here are some examples of what we talked about:
"In a society that gradually loses its identity under the influence of other cultures and life styles, which are more aggressive and intrusive, we can find many young people who chase after success, wealth, and power with television providing models that are within everybody's reach. It would be too easy to blame the schools for this situation. It seems that the ability to understand the younger generation has been lost. It has always been so, but nowadays everything has been blown out of all proportion. Technology is often the excuse, which young people master quicker and better than their parents. Put this together with their readiness to understand the market and we have a new power.
What suffers are rules and consequently discipline. Unfortunately, there is no more conscription, also known as the school of life. It helped to make a mature and sensible person. The rules that make us what we are will continue to exist in a society, which is always changing. However, who does not take into account the past cannot have a future.
What kind of relationship is there between socialization and standards within the context of the school and the family? How do adolescents behave within the system of rules that are forced on and asked of them? The difficulties that young people face in getting on in a world of rules and prohibitions, which often conflict, are mirrored in what their parents face in providing a direction."
Alex Andrei, President
Skopje, Macedonia Student Chapter
The past three months have been really exciting for our chapter. November 13, we celebrated the day our capital was set free during World War II, by organizing an event called "I love Skopje because...".
The purpose of the event was to find out why the people of Skopje love their city. Approximately 30 chapter members gathered at the city square and asked people that passed by to complete the sentence: "I love Skopje because..." giving one reason why Skopje makes them happy. Later, the chapter members made a poster with all the answers.
Afterwards, for International Volunteerism Day, the chapter organized a language workshop with children from the kindergarten "Detska Radost." The participants transferred their knowledge of Turkish, Italian, French, and Portuguese to the eager children. Later, the chapter members played games like "Twister" or "Day-night" with the kids. The children were really happy to learn something new and spend some time with someone older than them.
For most of December, the chapter planned its biggest event of the year, the Frozen Flash-Mob. The chapter had to find approximately 200 participants in order to achieve greater effect and be noticed by the people and media. After a full month of preparation, on December 30, 200 teenagers froze for five minutes at the Macedonia square and Skopje City Mall spreading the message: "Don't be frozen, act." The people of Skopje were confused because they had never seen anything like this before. The event gathered huge attention from the media as it was reported by several viral websites in Macedonia. The public was thrilled by the initiative taken by youth to promote a message of volunteerism.
To finish 2012 on a great note, the chapter received a gold award for furthering PTPI's mission of Peace through Understanding. This was the first gold award won by PTPI's Skopje Chapter.
We started 2013 by welcoming the members of our sister chapter in Varna "The Dolphins" for a 5-day long homestay. During their stay, we did a lot of activities including bowling, hiking, and cultural visits, such as going to the Old Bazaar and the Skopje Fortress. We took our guests to try traditional Macedonian food and experience the Skopje nightlife. But, the most important thing we did was create memories that will last forever.
On the last day of the homestay, we agreed to do another project together. On February 28, at the same time, both chapters will organize a book day in a local hospital. Both chapters will donate books and spend some time with the children there.
Filip Bujaroski and Ilina Dimovska, Public Relations Officers
Sofia, Bulgaria (The Doves) Student Chapter
November 29, we held a competition, named "Do you know Bulgaria?" As the name suggests, it was connected with our national history, culture and traditions. During the last week of November we collected clothes and toys for the children in an orphanage near Sofia. A few members of the chapter visited it on December 1.
We also had three Christmas projects. On December 17, our school organized its annual "Christmas Charity Concert" and we contributed to the initiative by preparing a bake sale. On December 18, there was another Charity Bazaar, organized together with another charity club, called Interact. Our third Christmas project was called "Wall of Christmas Wishes" and took place on December 19.
During the beginning of January, we created and shared a short video with our Sister Chapter in Syracuse, New York, United States. Despite the thousands of miles that separate us, they could visit our city and meet us, just watching the video. We showed them the most beautiful and famous sights in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. They could enjoy the views, while listening to the traditional Bulgarian music "Danube Horo." Check out our video at:
January 27 is the International Remembrance Day of the Holocaust. Sixty years passed since the Holocaust. To survivors, the Holocaust remains real and ever-present, but for some others, 60 years makes the Holocaust seem part of ancient history. We strongly believe that everyone should be aware of the horrors of this brutal genocide during the Second World War in order to prevent it from happening again.
This year the members of PTPI's Sofia "The Doves" Student Chapter created and handed out flyers, containing a lot of information about the Holocaust – what happened, how it happened, why it happened. Our classmates could inform themselves about these horrifying events and thus honor the innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Our projects in February were inspired and dedicated to the amazing power of love. We truly believe that "Love is the Answer," whatever the question. To spread love, our members created an awesome Valentine Card Box, which we placed at our school. For those who do not celebrate St. Valentine's Day another box was made for "zarezanki." In Bulgaria, on February 14, the Day of Saint Trifon Zarezan is celebrated, also known as the Day of Wine-Makers. Thus everyone could write and send a note – some to their lovers, others to their friends.
Another project was creating wonderful hearts with free compliments for everyone- They were handed out on February 14 at school. It was named "Spread the Love, Love Yourself" and was aimed at reminding people they are amazing just the way they are. We also encouraged them to show their friends and people around them how important and extraordinary they are. We were surprised and very pleased by the fact that a few boys who are not PTPI members took part in preparing the hearts.
Iliyana Dadarova, Secretary
Šternberk, Czech Republic Chapter
December 8- St Nicolas Train Ride: Our chapter members who fear supernatural creatures the most dressed up as devils and angels, so they wouldn't have to worry about being taken to hell on St Nicolas Day.
Three devils, angels, and St. Nicolae formed three teams in Olomouc and hopped on a train dragged by a steam locomotive, which took them from Haná via Nízký Jeseník to Šumperk. We had time to listen to all of the kids promising they will never be naughty again and we had the pleasure of hearing a lot of old and new poems from them. Of course we rewarded them with some candy.
December 15-Candle Party: We built a "tea-pee" in the garden of Metelka family just for this last and festive event of the year 2012. It's not a typo, our "tea-pee" was filled with the smell of real loose leaf tea and Christmas gingerbread. It all felt very Christmasy with a fire burning, tea bubbling, and candles all around us. We were reminiscing about the past year and enjoyed the tea ceremony. What a great way to enjoy Christmas time with our friends!
January 19-Table Tennis Tournament and Annual Meeting: In the sport center Sokolovna in Šternberk, we met again for some physical activity after the Christmas feasts. This year we had two table tennis tournaments, one male and one female, even though a young man, Šimon Bílek, won the female one because he was too little to play with the big guys. The winner of the male tournament who beat his 12 opponents was Radovan Svoboda, same name as last year, but a different player, what a coincidence! We had a blast the whole afternoon and then in the evening, we met for our annual meeting.
For photos and more updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/PTPIsternberk
Eliška Vránová, President
Tallinn, Estonia Chapter
Our chapter as a partner is involved in the 18-months-long project "DAPHNE I.O.R – Impact of Relationship."
it is a coordinated campaign targeting young people and involving 27 organizations from all 27 EU member states. The aims of this project are to convey prevention procedures, to increase dissemination of correct behavior, and to establish good European practices related to the correct use of social networks by youth aged 10-17.
Two Eesti People to People representatives participated in the kick-off project meeting on Malta at the end of January, where they presented the activities of People to People International to the other project partners and discussed common activities with them for the I.O.R. project.
April 16-23, Eesti People to People will organize an eight-days training course with the title "Young people as important actors in social media" for youth and youth workers from 16 organizations of EU member states and neighboring partner countries in Nelijärve, Estonia. Participants will deepen their understanding of the structure of social media, analyze social media, and train their writing skills for social media with a special focus on entrepreneurship, active citizenship and involvement of youth in social media. Partners will also discuss ideas for new common projects about social media.
Our chapter is also active as a sending organization in the Youth in Action Program: youth groups participated in different projects in Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Macedonia and will go to Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Ruta Pels, President and Trustee
Ulyanovsk, Russia Student Chapter
In February, ten members took part in the "Ski track of Russia 2013" promoting a healthy lifestyle. They distributed handmade cards among the most active participants of the race. More than 2.500 people take part in this sports competition.
February 1, 12 members of our chapter organized workshops for their schoolmates to teach them to make handmade cards. More than 30 students participated. All cards which were made during these workshops were sold at our charity fairs.
Fifteen members held a St. Valentine's Charity fair. On February 13, we sold handmade cards and biscuits in the Secondary School 21 and we sold them in the State Pedagogical University of Ulyanovsk. All of 250 handmade cards were sold. We earned 150 euros, which are going to be sent to one of the charity organizations "Dobroe delo" to benefit children in need. During the fair, everyone who had bought the valentine could take part in free master classes on making cards. Thanks to everyone who took part in this great event!
Lyubov Savelyeva, Adult Advisor
Varna (The Dolphins), Bulgaria Student Chapter
During November and December, "The Dolphins" were entirely devoted to the preparation of our fifth annual Christmas charity campaign. We were gathering materials and making cards in every possible moment.
Meanwhile, we did a video conference with our sister chapter in Skopje, Macedonia.
The week before Christmas we were tirelessly selling the cards at local supermarkets. We managed to raise more than 6.000 euros, which we will be investing in the school for the blind and the daycare center for children with mental deficiencies in Varna. In the first week of January, we threw a party to celebrate the success of our fifth annual Christmas campaign and the winning of the Gold award in PTPI's Team Peace Challenge for the fifth year in a row. Antoaneta Pophlebarova, our adult advisor, along with Tsvetiana Zaharieva, our president, decided to acknowledge the exceptional work of some of the Dolphins by giving out diplomas.
Later that month, two of our members visited our sister chapter in Skopje, Macedonia and had a 5-day homestay experience. We spent some very interesting days in Skopje and both Dolphins came back bursting with energy and ideas for projects. The official opening of the play room in the school for the blind happened shortly after. We invested nearly 2.500 euros in new computers, a TV, sofas, washing machine, and toys. In the last week of January, we had the unique chance to introduce our chapter and PTPI as a whole to the governor of our region. We talked about our recent Christmas campaign and also about the upcoming European Conference in Varna.
In the beginning of February we organized a video conference with our sister chapter in Oroslavje, Croatia, to discuss ideas about a future joint project. We also greeted our new additions to the chapter – two lovely EVS volunteers, who will be helping us in the next six months.
To this date, we haven't stopped visiting a local orphanage three times per week to help the children with their homework and also the pediatric ward in a local hospital, where we entertain the youngest patients.
February 14, we carried out a Valentine's Day charity campaign along with a freeze flash mob at a local mall. We folded more than 1000 origami hearts in less than five days, which we'll be selling to raise money to help an orphan, who was splashed with acid and lost the sight in one eye. We will be selling them for charity to raise the 2500 euro necessary for the operation that will replace her damaged eye with a moving artificial one.
The freeze flash mob was a very spontaneous idea, but we thought it would be fun to show the importance of the love between the people in a creative way. We will invade a mall and we'll stop moving for four minutes. For February, we're also planning another video conference with our friends from Macedonia and we'll discuss the final touches on our joint project, "Book Day," whichwill happen in the last days of the month.
Tsvetiana Zaharieva, President
Vaslui, Romania (Mihail Kogalniceanu) Student Chapter
December 5, we organized a humanitarian project. Since we had a 20 euros donation, we went to a center for disabled kids near Vaslui.
Two members bought sweets and juice for the 16 kids. On November 28, eleven members went to the center with 16 bags of presents. The children were happy to get them one week before St. Nicholas. Our members visited the center, where they learned about the kids' disabilities and saw their exhibitions of drawings, amulets, and bracelets. The visit had a positive effect on everybody.December 6, St. Nicholas' day, as it is already our tradition, we went to a kindergarten here in Vaslui to celebrate the day.
Together we drew colorful cards with the text "I wish Santa Claus would bring me..." for the kids. Then we had a 22 euros donation, with which we could buy 23 bags of fruit, sweets, and juice for every child. Eleven members, some dressed in elf costumes, went to the kindergarten, played with the kids and gave the cards to their parents, who were also present. The kids sang, danced, and recited winter poems.
December 8, we had a bake sale at a mall, after having tried it with success for the first time last year. Ten members baked several types of cakes, apple pies, and doughnuts. We were lucky since there were many people in the mall who bought everything in almost 3 hours. We got 200 euros and gave half to a socially disadvantaged teenager from Vaslui. She is a very smart and hardworking student whose father had died. She thanked us for helping her and said she'll use the money for going to university.
Liliana Harhas-Ciobanu, Adult Advisor
Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Student Chapter
Our chapter started its activities in September. After several meetings, the members decided to combine the presentation of their newly chartered chapter with the organization of a disco to raise funds. The proceeds were used for the benefit of disabled children. On December 11, eleven chapter members and two teachers visited the day center of disabled youth in Pilviskiai.
Afterwards they wrote an article for the school website and an article for the local newspaper of Vilkaviskis. In the spring, chapter members are planning to organize a cleaning activity to benefit the environment.
Here are some impressions of our students members of the December project:
"Before going to the day center of disabled youth in Pilviskiai, none of us could have imagined what emotions we would experience there. Our aim was to communicate with the people who were there and bring something new to their everyday life. As soon as we got out of the school bus we saw a new friend looking at us from the window and smiling. After introducing ourselves, we painted our hands on the paper, as well as the word "friendship." We also were taking photos together and played several games. Our new friends gave us their hand-made Christmas cards and we gave them our traditional Lithuanian cake Sakotis.
The smiles of the people there touched the depth of our hearts. Their emotions and joy made us smile together, but after having left we had different thoughts. It seems their life must be so difficult, but they keep on smiling. Other people must learn something from them and not complain too much, because they are healthy. From the beginning, we became friends and decided that this is not the last time when we visited them."
Roberta Bekeryte, Member
"We knew where we were going, so I was a bit anxious. It was really difficult for me not to burst out crying there seeing youth who cannot even keep a pencil in their hands. We should learn from these youth to have strength and never give up. Everyone should visit a similar organization, at least before festivities."
Agnė Žolynaitė, Member
I completely agree with the students. I am so proud of my students who were so deeply touched and almost crying, but they did the activities together with the youth and helped them with everything. They are very organized.
In addition, more teachers and students are willing to help us in our activities. One person cannot do as much as the whole team and our team is great.
We want to encourage everyone to do good jobs, not necessarily something huge. Sometimes it is enough to say just encouraging words to someone who needs it for him/her to feel better, as well as for the person who can be proud of doing something kind.
Daiva Sitkauskaite, Adult Advisor
Zalishchyky, Ukraine Student Chapter
September 27, the students of our school prepared a summer market with the teachers as our customers. The proceeds were given to the children of the boarding school. The following day, the students held a concert in the boarding school. The spectators had a great time.
October 14, is a national holiday in Ukraine, the "Day of Ukrainian Cossacks." To celebrate this holiday, the students took part in the "Cossack pastime," playing games and taking part in different competitions. They wore Ukrainian national clothes, including embroidered shirts.
October 18, our students, together with volunteers of the Peace Corps, cleaned parks and squares as a special voluntary effort. Mr. Ryan, a Peace Corps volunteer, gathered all students of our school for special singing lessons. All the pupils were really excited and they had an incredible opportunity to improve their English.
November 5 -7, three students of our school and their English teacher Maria Savchynska took part in an International Educational Conference on Malta. By means of the program "Connecting Classrooms," our students had the opportunity to cooperate with the students of the same age from different countries on a global scope.
November 7, we held a conference about ecological problems. Students prepared a presentation about the most widespread ecological problems and discussed them with the invited guests.
December 3, the most talented students organized a competition of the best posters and photos. The winners were awarded.
The members of PTPI's Zalishchyky Student Chapter send their greetings to all PTPI members for an excellent New Year. Please, accept our best wishes. They flow from the bottom of our hearts.