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Past, present and future - we are united through involvement! - Secondary School Sihlea, Vrancea

The group of pupils objectively analysed the reality of our community and concluded that there is an immediate need of a group of people to revive the local traditions. There is a need to maintain traditions in a society where these are being lost, as these are the essence of our people. Traditions are the ones that charm foreign tourists and are also a symbol of interculturality, keeping us connected to other cultures.

In this way they identified the causes that lead for the traditions to disappear but they also looked for solutions for the identified problem. The main objective of the plan was to organise a group who activates for the traditions to be reborn.

A story of change facilitated by Mrs. Bărbosu-Ene Cristina Daniela

List the problems identified by the pupils:

  • Lack of appropriate toilets in the school yard

  • Recycling in the school

  • Lack of a space for creative activities for children

  • Lack of street lighting on some streets

  • Lack of a larger bridge to connect a newly built residential area

  • Covering certain holes on the bridge that currently unites the two parts of the village, holes which are very dangerous for children

  • Lack of a space where various activities for children can be organised

Explain what problem was chosen to be solved and why.

After carefully analysing all the problems, pupils decided to channel their efforts towards reviving and sustaining local traditions. They view this problem as essential because it represents an element of national identity.

What people are most affected by this problem? What is bothering them?

The entire community is affected by the disappearance of traditions. The elderly are nostalgic after the times when every celebration was marked by specific traditional events, parents wish to keep in touch with the childhood charm and, also, would like to see their children, who spend too much time on their phones and tablets, to fell what they felt during their childhood. Everyone is bothered by the fact that no one gets involved in such activities.

List all the solutions you thought of.

  • Discussions with parents, grandparents to identify the most important traditions

  • Choosing a repertoire of traditional songs

  • Creating a leaflet where traditions of Vrancei area are presented

  • Creating a photo album with children wearing traditional costumes; organising a sewing workshop where they can sew their own costumes

  • purchasing/creating traditional costumes; organising meetings with the elderly of the village

  • Promoting the activity on the website “we are people of Sihleni”

  • Singing carols around the village

Which of these solutions was chosen to implement and why?

  • Pupils chose to implement the following ideas:

  • Discussions with parents, grandparents to identify the most important traditions

  • Organising a sewing workshop where pupils can sew their own costumes

  • Creating a photo album with children wearing traditional costumes

  • Promoting the activity on the website “we are people of Sihleni”

  • Singing carols around the village

  • After talking to the adults, pupils chose to prepare a repertoire of traditional carols and then, to create traditional costumes to revive specific Christmas traditions in order to go singing carols around the village.

Briefly describe the process of implementing your solution/solutions

To reach the last step of the project, the singing of carols, we bought 10 traditional vests that we decorated in the sewing workshops in order to have an authentic traditional costume.

The second step was to find a sponsor who would help us buy the fabric we need to sew and stitch the attire. The owners of S.C. Riki&Geo S.R.L supported us and bought the fabric we needed.

We then spoke to the mother of a pupil (her mother knew how to use a sewing machine) and she agreed to sew the attire. Once the whole traditional costume was ready we rehearsed singing the carols.

On the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th of december the activity took place and we went throughout the village to sing carols. At the end, we bought a tree that we decorated during a carol singing concert organised in the centre of the village. We offered the Christmas tree and the gifts to a family with many children whose parents were abroad.

What are the results or the impact of your project?

Retrospectively looking we can say, without false modesty, that the project was a success, as it also lead to promoting the school image in the community. In addition, our story grew in the eyes of the teachers and in the eyes of other pupils who expressed their interest in taking part in a similar experience.

A unique experience, with a direct link with the results of the project, was the fact that Mr Dima Vali, manager in Vrancea county, who visited Sihlea school, asked the permission to accompany us to a house where we sang carols. He then shared the experience on the web page he manages. This was a clear sign that our project is important. From a 6th grade point of view, we observed a huge wish to work together, to find solutions and to be more organised and responsible.

How many people benefited from your solution?

More than 100 people

What did the people who benefited from the solution say? Write 2 quotes or opinions.

“Today I met these amazing children in Sihlea, who were going through the village to sing carols together with their romanian language school teacher. I was extremely happy to listen to them and I am happy that we still maintain our customs. Keep up the good work!” - Dima Vali

“The group singing carols triggered an emotion I haven’t felt for a long time. This project is wonderful, a necessity for our village.” Caraiman Nuta

What difficulties did you encounter while implementing the project and how did you overcome them?

The difficulties encountered had to do with time, since the sewing workshops lasted for a long time and because classes are in the afternoon, it was difficult but we found a way - each group sewed at home together or taking turns. In this way we managed to decorate all the vests we bought. In addition, unfavorable weather prevented us from organizing one of the steps for promoting the event, but we did promote it online.

How long did it take to implement the solution?

More than 30 days.

What did you do to promote the project in your school or in the community? With whom did the pupils talk to about the project? What answers did they receive?

Our project was promoted on the web site “we are people of Sihileni”. Also, each pupil told the family and friends about the project. Each time the feedback was positive, thus we were very motivated to complete the project. To promote the project also, we organised a photo shoot where children wore the traditional costumes and the vests they sewed.

The photo album was promoted on the “we are people of Sihileni”. An activity to promote the project consisted of in building a model made of 3000 bottle caps gathered after a waste cleaning event.

The massage transmitted with the model was that each one of us can become a superhero but, it is essential to remember our customs. In this way we made a connection between 100-year national celebration (2018) and our future purpose as superheros of the community. The plan of this activity consisted of exhibiting the model in the village centre for every local who wished to become a superhero.

We had a post in which we invited community members to inform us if they wish to receive the group going around the village to sing carols. The surprise was huge, so we had a week when we sang carols in many houses in the community, while also sharing and receiving unmeasurable joy.

Approximately, with how many people did you talk to about the project?

More than 100 people

Briefly, how do you plan on sustaining the project in the future?

This event will obviously be on the long term, as this is how it was meant to be. We wish to organise specific activities for other traditional celebrations as well. Why not organise gatherings where we can value our local customs.

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