children running along
An update for TwoTalk
I have one small class that consists of nine SOS students who are studying English as their second, third, and even fourth language. Some have endured violence and many have first-hand knowledge of poverty and hunger, but they openly relish this opportunity to learn, excel, and possibly move on from this school to respected universities in America and Europe.
Six members of this 11th grade class arrived from Ethiopia three weeks after the semester began. Held back by paperwork issues, they finally arrived in mid-September and my tiny class of three tripled in size. Waiting for them were two young men from Tanzania and one from Burundi.
In the short time that I have known this fascinating collection of people, I have come to think of them as one of my all-time favourite classes. They are funny, honest and curious. They are not, however, an easy bunch to teach. Older than your average high school juniors, their average age is 19. Their intellect also challenges me to find topics that are both interesting and stimulating. One young man plans to present his oral (a basic test of diction and syntax) next week on Quantum Physics! He had me watch a documentary about Shrodinger’s Cat in preparation for his presentation.
Sometimes their moods fluctuate from eager and excited, to stressed and argumentative. When I recently attempted to show them the movie Monsters, Inc, they refused to watch it (“It’s a baby movie!!” “What will the other students think of us?!”) Although I tried to convince them that it was a great film and the speed of the dialogue would challenge them, they would have none of it. What’s funny, however, is that they are openly sentimental and often quite childish. When I finally gave up on the monsters, I asked them what movies they wanted to watch and they immediately said “high school movies”.
Which, when I thought about it, made perfect sense; but somehow I had decided that they were either too old or too sophisticated, or too smart to care about such things. I was wrong.
I guess it’s time to talk about special events in the SOS Children’s Village Bucharest. But it’s pretty hard to choose one from so many. Located in the Capital City and working close with the National Office when it comes to events, the Bucharest Village it’s the place where the magic happens.
In the two years that I’ve been working for the Village, I’ve had the pleasure to meet a lot of public personalities, sport and television celebrities and a large number of top management staff from different companies, all supporting our activity here in Romania.
We can talk about press conferences, interviews, fundraising activities or parties, we had it all. Looking back to the photo albums, I realize that, starting with 2007 we had more and more activities each year that passed by. For example, 2010 meant organizing and participating in three times more events than in 2008. Keeping the trend, I suppose 2011 will be very busy!
Now that I’ve give you an idea about the way that thing happens around here, I will tell you about a special day from 2010:
Just before Easter, on Good Friday, a local radio station called Europa FM, “moved” into our Village for a day. Our colleagues from the fund-raising department and the staff from Europa FM organized a radio marathon with a single thought on their mind: to raise €50,000 in a single day. Of course they did it, but the way it happened was just as special.
At first hour in the morning, the “SOS Childhood” radiothon started and the radio presenter invited people to donate money for SOS Children’s Village Romania by SMS, each SMS meaning €2. Public persons, celebrities, friends of our organization, went live on the radio and shared their childhood experiences with the listeners. They also argued why listeners should donate to SOS. The radio presenters walked all day long around the Village and had live interviews in the family houses, SOS Kindergarten, and playgrounds so the FM listeners could receive authentic pieces of SOS Children’s Village everyday life.
For the first time in Romania some children went to the Europa FM studio and talked about their SOS mothers, the life in a SOS village, about how life can be beautiful when everybody helps, they laughed and told jokes, stories and expressed wishes, they shared their thoughts with the listeners who soon became donors.
SOS Childhood is the first “event” I wrote about because it meant a lot for SOS Romania for many reasons: it was the first SMS campaign of SOS Romania, the first radio marathon made by a private Romanian radio, the first Romanian radiothon, the first time when famous footballers supported SOS Romania as endorsers on live interventions. We had the best support and an amazing openness from the radio staff and the amazing pride that we made 26,000 persons to think about and support us in one single day.