On May 14th, 19 school children aged 11-12 from the Gatehouse School in Scotland will be boarding an airplane to meet the children of Fountain of Hope Afterschool Center, in Panatau, Buzau county. The Romanian children will introduce the Scottish students to Romanian village life and have a chance to share their specialized knowledge about traditional agriculture and sustainable practices that has been forgotten about in countries used to industrialized agriculture. The exchange experience is organised on the Romanian level by Asociatia Educatie Neoumanista, one of 5 international partner organisations within the “Children in Permaculture” Project, an Erasmus plus Strategic Project financed by the EU.

The visiting children will have the opportunity to experience and appreciate the beautiful richness of Romanian rural life. This is all the more relevant at a time when many young people all over the world are leaving rural villages that have maintained a more sustainable eco-friendly lifestyle for hundreds of years and are migrating to industrialized cities. The exchange aims to help both the Romanian and Scottish children to value rural lifestyle. Permaculture is a design system that is inspired by traditional agricultural practices that respect nature, and is attracting a new, younger generation all over the world towards sustainable rural living. It is guided by three main ethics: People care, Earth care and Fair share. The Children in Permaculture project is designing curriculum, and practical resources to bring ecological education to life in schools and support the new generation in developing a holistic connection and deep love and appreciation for nature. This is essential for creating hopeful futures in face of increasing environmental crisis.

The exchange experience will begin with a visit to a by horsecart, to learn about cheese making. There they will eat “mamaliguta withbranzasi smantana”(polenta with cheese and sour cream) and sarmale (cabbage rolls), made by a mountain shephard. They will also visit the nearby Carnu Monastery and see how the orthodox nuns run a self-sustaining little community, providing much of their own food. In the afternoons, a creative team of local volunteers will lead interactive workshops at the Fountain of Hope After School Center. Valentin and Anca Culachi-Rosu will lead creative workshops with woodcarving, archery, and wooden jewelry making. Crina Cranta will lead a clay modeling workshop using clay collected from the nearby riverbed. Mihai Negot, a young beekeeper will lead a honey-tasting workshop and teach the children how to make a wrap out of textile and beeswax that can be used instead of plastic wrap to wrap up food. Larisa Bratucu, the director of Fountain of Hope After School Center in Panatau will be guiding the children in making a playhouse out of woven willow branches. Andrea Visan will lead the children in learning traditional Romanian folk dances.

The Scottish children have also prepared a presentation with pictures of their homes and farms, as they are also from a rural farming community and will share Scottish music and dancing with the children. Before catching their airplane home on Friday, the Scottish children will visit Bucuresti and see the Urban Permaculture project “Gradina in Curtea Scolii” at Scoala Ferdinand, led by CiP project partner Romania in Tranzitie, and a similar small scale educational garden using raised “wicking beds” at Gradinita Rasarit Kindergarten, run by Asociatia de Ajutor AMURTEL. The trip will end with a visit to the Romanian Village Museum! It will be an exciting, unforgettable adventure for all.

The Children in Permaculture Project (CiP)  is a 3-year project funded through Erasmus+ Key Action 2: School Education. The partnership is across 5 countries: UK, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Italy.

CiP is an innovative project of international cooperation bringing together key educators (from different schools, nurseries, practices and countries) in order to cross-fertilise, share and synthesize ideas, which will strengthen the capacities of all involved.


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