Nov 19, 2019

Back to Schoolwork

After a successful summer Care2Travel started to focus on teaching and assisting during English classes of Roma children and organizing activities for them. There is a longer time gap until we can organize Summer camps again for these kids and we'd like to progress towards our goal of improving the English language skills of these kids so they can have more chances to be successful in life. Care2Travel´s project at the Xantus Janus school has begun this Fall. Starting in September 2019, volunteers are now working weekly with children in the school. At the moment we have 25 kids taking part of English sessions, ages between 6 and 8 and the class is organized twice a week. Our volunteers include a local volunteer, working as a translator, as well as a foreign volunteer who is a native English speaker. 


The primary focus is to spark an interest in the children to learn and speak English. Although it may not seem important at this young age, the hope is that having a native English speaker working with the class will help the students understand the importance of being able to speak English - and that it is a skill they may be able to use as they grow and move forward. We are able to provide these kids with native Enlish speaker volunteers which makes the kids more interested in their culture and personality. This way, using their curiosity towards the unknown and interesting, we can sparkle their interest to learn English so they will feel a need to immerse themselves into the language.


Students in the program are learning English from the beginning, starting with the alphabet. English is taught through singing, games, and drawing. During classes they learn basic english words using flashcards, stuffed animals, music and different kinds of visual aids. Sometimes the classrooms are divided into groups where they receive tasks they have to complete as a competition. During classes the local volunteer helps by translating between the native english speaker and the kids if needed, but we are trying to lead the kids into situations where they experience the pain of their lack of English language and feel the need to ask for specific word they want to translate, learn it, and say it back to the native speaker.


To involve native English speakers into the activity is also beneficial if we consider the fact that the kids have never really met people who don't understand what they say, just the English teachers, who only pretend that they don’t understand them. This way they will truly experience how it feels like not being understood by others.


This pilot program has been going well and the hope is that over time, and with additional support, the program can be replicated in all classes throughout the school. During vacations we'll be able to organize camp activities for the kids where they will be divided into mixed groups and will be able to compete with their fellow school kids using their English and life skills and win small prizes.

Oct 31, 2019

A Summer of Learning and Fun

Thanks to generous support, Care2Travel was once again able to organize summer camps for disadvantaged and village children in the local community. These camps were held between mid-June and mid-September of 2019. To hold the camps took months of organizing, from working with the host schools, to recruiting and training local volunteers, as well as preparing for our international volunteers that came throughout the summer to assist. 

As always, Care2Travel offered these camps free of charge. Some schools selected to charge a fee. This fee was at a maximum 20 Lei, and all funds received remained with the school. Two of the camps, held at Csaracsó, were overnight camps. These camps, for children from particularly economically or emotionally disadvantaged homes, were open 24/7. As a result, the camp was able to provide much needed attention, care, and support for these children. The other summer camps were held weekly for up to 6 hours a day, over four days. In total, Care2Travel was able to host or support 14 summer camps and 3 after school camps and provided snacks/food for 486 children. 

Care2Travel was able to run the camps with the help of 67 local volunteers, working mostly as translators, who assisted our foreign volunteers. Our international volunteers numbered 125 this year, with some volunteers working at more than one camp over the course of the summer. Each Monday was a preparation day, usually consisting of 2-3 hours of local and foreign volunteers planning the various games and activities that would take place during the week. The rest of the week was devoted to hosting the camps and engaging with the children. 

Most importantly, the children who attended the camps had an amazing time. The goal of the camps is to assist the children in learning English. Primarily, children are taught new English words while participating in a series of competitive and fun games. Games included ball games, hockey, and races. The kids could also be seen ¨working out”, creating arts and crafts, and dressing-up for a fashion show. During the week, each child is assigned to a team consisting of other children and a mentor. Together, the team designs their own flag and work together to score points for their team. In this way, the children develop teamwork, teambuilding, and communication skills while also learning their English words. At the end of the week, the winning team is crowned and all children are recognized. Care2Travel is grateful for the support to be able to provide these camps for the children, helping them to not only learn English but to create new memories for them as well. 

Aug 23, 2019

Xantus Janos Summer Camp

Hi, my name is Hannah Beck, I study at the University of Cumbria and I participated in Care2Travel’s Xántus Summer Camp, which ran during 25th June until 28th June 2019, from 8:30am until 2:00pm, at Xántus János School. The camp aimed to give disadvantaged Roma youth the opportunity to take part in a week of activities that engage with various skills and new people. Snacks were provided throughout the week and any resources needed for activities and games were provided by Care2Travel. The number of children averaged to approximately 50, however numbers differed each day.

The process began on Monday 24th with a planning session. This required the Care2Travel camp coordinator, international volunteers and local volunteers to come together to firstly establish and understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses and share expectations and experiences with children. This element of the week was essential in enabling that each team obtained various teaching styles and personalities in order to create the most well-rounded, reliable and accessible group leaders as possible. Each team had a Romanian speaking volunteer, as well as some even having a Hungarian speaking volunteer, which was extremely important as some children had very limited ability to speak English and needed translation.

When planning for the week, we wanted to ensure stability for the children so spent time discussing group sizes, opportunities to adapt and swap groups and making sure that the children maintained motivation. Keeping this in mind, a significant part of the summer camp was team work and collaboration with an element of competition. As a result, we came up with three teams. As a group, we decided that everyone would plan for Tuesday and each team would individually plan for each of the following days, which could be adapted for each team if an activity was not working as well. Each day consisted of games and activities that were educational and competitive meanwhile were stimulating, purposeful, targeted specific skills and disciplined in some way or another. We had a debrief at the end of each day to discuss what went well and what could be approached differently.

Tuesday’s camp was primarily planned for the children to be introduced to their new colour team, building a positive team spirit and becoming more comfortable with their peers and us. Each child had a name tag each day in their colour, including the team leaders. We then spent time coming up with team names, making sure the children were able to give suggestions and vote (Blue Dolphins, Yellow Chickens and Pink Panthers). Each team made flags which were kept with each team all day and could be taken home by a member of the team, so that was an incentive. Moreover, if a flag as left unattended at any point throughout the week, a different team could take it to gain an extra point. We began each day with an aerobics session (which I lead on the last day) as a way of bringing everyone together. From that afternoon and throughout the week, we played many colour team games such as: Clap Wave, Fruit Salad, Silent King, Human Knots, Hangman and Wink Murder. We then had competitive games to gain team points, such as: The Floor is Lava, Blind-folded Obstacle Course, Spaghetti Tower, Eleven, Chocolate Run and Bucket Relay (a favourite with the children and myself!). Each game contributed to a multitude of skills: gaining confidence, maintaining focus, collaboration, encouragement, strategy, empathy, responsibility, trust, the use of English (which was constantly encouraged), time management and kindness- to name but a few! We ended the Summer Camp with a Mini Olympics which ranged from activities inside and outside and ended the day with a ceremony and team prizes which consisted of certificates and a bag of snacks and drinks that were shared amongst each other.

Through other’s experience and knowledge and my own as a trainee primary school teacher, it has proved that it is vital for us to gain an understanding of particular behaviours, why they may occur and how we can establish boundaries and realistic and achievable behavioural expectations in order to achieve the best outcome for each individual child. Personalities varied, however while some showed a real improvement in their confidence and ability to immerse themselves in activities, others showed the ability to control themselves and use their energy to motivate and help others.

This experience showed me that these children can achieve so much given the time, support, compassion, understanding and opportunity; this being the case even if they came for a couple of days. Not only did they showcase many positive attributes and a change in attitude in such a small period of time, but they taught me more about myself and my improved ability to be a teacher.

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