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Oct 26, 2016

It has been a BEEsy season

Children in beekeepers suits had great fun
Children in beekeepers suits had great fun

Since the end of April, the doors of our educational apiary were open to anyone who wanted to learn more about honey bees.  Honey bees are an important and irreplaceable part of our food chain. Did you know that honey bees are responsible for every third bite of food we eat?  Also, more than 80% of plants are directly dependent on pollination that is done mainly by honey bees. Thus, a major decrease of insect pollinators might have dramatic influence on our biodiversity and related economic activities. Without a doubt, honeybees are very important for us. That is the main message we want to give to the visitors of our educational center.     

    
This year, we hosted many field trips for children; through high school, but mostly between the ages of 6 – 14. Some of the children were quite scared at the beginning and they didn’t know what to expect.  But, after putting on safe beekeeper suits they had great fun.  They had even more fun when we took them to see a close-up look of the life of a honey bee colony. Children forgot about their fears and were fascinated by the number and diligence of these small creatures. We also gave many honey tastings to our young visitors, which is usually the most interesting part for the kids in our program. This year, we had tried something new in our method of education and it seems to be working really well for both sides of the educational process. We included games, team work and sport activities in teaching children. We had a lot of fun and the children didn’t even notice how much they learned about the life of honey bees, about pollination and other useful insects during the different games.

     
Also new this year to our educational apiary is the expansion of our program from honeybees to a chicken coop, Indian runner ducks and a few sheep. Are you wondering how all of these useful animals relates to honeybees? So did the children from the M.R. Štefánik elementary school in Lucenec. Through a series of regular meetings, we introduced them to life on a farm.  They had a wonderful chance to learn something new and useful by participating in building on the farm and in taking care of the landscape in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, we took them to the forest, meadows and pastures so they could see what happens to the landscape when it is not managed properly. They learned what animals can help in landscape protection and, in doing so, providing diverse food sources for bees. Together, we created colorful flower beds for attracting pollinators and did some useful gardening.

               
During the summer we hosted a few summer camps with children from the whole country. In addition, we had visitors from further destinations like Nigeria, Korea, Ecuador, France and India. Almost all of our weekends during the seasons were packed with beekeeping courses for beginners.  It was really nice to see how many people care and are willing to help honey bees. We had almost 60 volunteers that helped us prepare the space for our most hoped for and most difficult project so far – building a small environmental center. Literally, from the beginning of this season we were dealing with obtaining different kinds of permissions and plans for the building itself.  At the end of the month, we will finally start with constructing.  The small building will be a big help.  It will have sheltered space for lectures and workshops in any weather so we don’t have to cancel any of our scheduled programs because of rain. This is a huge step for us and will help us move forward to improve our program for our visitors.

     
While the construction of the center is in the beginning stage, our beekeeping season at apiary is finished for this year. We continue to work with children at the elementary school in Lucenec in our beekeeping class that is running its third year already. Each year we have more and more students; which is a good sign for us. So far, it has been a busy season.  Though it isn’t even finished, we are looking forward to next season; when we will operate in our new environmental and educational center. If you like our project, please support us.

Honey tasting is preferred activity :)
Honey tasting is preferred activity :)
Kids learned a lot about pollinators
Kids learned a lot about pollinators
Pupils from M.R. Stefanik school
Pupils from M.R. Stefanik school
Introduction to life on farm
Introduction to life on farm
Together we created colorful color beds
Together we created colorful color beds
We had visitors even from Nigeria, India or Korea
We had visitors even from Nigeria, India or Korea
Building a small enviromental center
Building a small enviromental center
Beekeping class is running for the 3rd year now
Beekeping class is running for the 3rd year now
Oct 20, 2016

Summer is over in Depaul

Students helping us at Depaul shelter
Students helping us at Depaul shelter

Summer is over in Depaul and the preparation for winter season is in the process.  Sunny days in Depaul were full of activities.

We prepared the financial collection for Luboš, one of our clients. We raised a small campaign on Facebook. It was so great to see, how people expressed their empathy towards Lubos´ difficult situation.  The aim was to ensure the remedies for him, as he had cancer. Unfortunatelly, Luboš died. Everyone is thinking about him as a person who loved to read Agatha Cristie and was deeply interested in the life that surrounded him. 

During summer months we continued with the work groups of homeless people who are mainly cleaning the streets. Based on positive feedbacks from the city districts, where the clients are working, new agreement was signed, even with the daily basis of the clean services. We are really proud with our clients and how they succeeded. They have the opportunity to attend  the training focused on the carrier counseling and that can help them to find a new job.

Interest of the volunteers within Depaul is still growing. Happy to see that! Last time young people from Leaf Academy joined us to help us to clean the rooms in our nightshelter. Our main entrance  now looks as a new one! Young students painted it with bueatiful orange colour. We do appreciate the interest of the young people in the topic of the homelessness in order to raise more awareness.

We consider the public exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square a big succes. It is one of the busiest and largest squares in Bratislava. The pictures captured during 10 years of the organization with the short comments, in Slovak and English version were deeply appreciated by the observing public. People really liked it!

Everything what we are doing could not happen without support of our donors - you. Let us express deep and frank thank you!

Exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square
Exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square
Oct 4, 2016

Mad? So what!

Students that joined our project "Mad? So what!"
Students that joined our project "Mad? So what!"

"Students initial response is usually accompanied by surprise and slight shyness," says Zina H. from a social care center - MOST. 

And what has even managed to surprise students from Bratislava? Authenticity and direct touch with reality. And those are the ingredients that project "Mad? So what!" definitely contains.

"You reach out to young people because they are more open to talk about "taboos" and prejudices than grown ups?"

- The causes are manifold. Young people in the age between 15 and 20 years are at the stage when the question of the meaning of life and identity becomes an important theme in their lives. They are in the process of creation of the attitudes and behaviors. That is why it is important to have information and experiences that can expand their mindsets and should help them face the myths and prejudices against people with mental disorders.The project will also improve the awareness of mental health itself. Young people are at the same risk of mental health problems as adults. During the project they talk about where to seek help, what is the difference between psychology and psychiatry and they can hear about various symptoms of mental disorders.It is important to talk about taboos aloud. Even more when the topic is about mental disorders that can affect anyone of us.

 
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