Voluntary Action in December 2013
Within the project "Different cultures, Different ideas, the Same Human Rights in the Voice of Young Students”, our school, Escola Secundária de Casquilhos, and NÓS Association, Social Insertion Income Protocol, got together to carry out another volunteering activity. Therefore, our students were for the second time given the chance to participate in the organisation and animation of the Christmas Party for the children born into the low-income families supported by NÓS.
The divulgation poster was designed by one of our students as well.
A few days before the event several meetings were held between our students and the Social Insertion Income Protocol Team of NÓS Association in order to find a theme for it. As each country has its own unique way of celebrating the wonder and magic of this special season, which reflects its culture and traditions, "Christmas around the world” was the chosen one.
After having collected data on the different origins of the participant families, students were divided into groups and were assigned the task of creating brief presentations on the way Christmas is celebrated within those families, which were later shown during the event.
On the day of the Christmas party, the 19th December, students took part in all the preparations that usually precede the organisation of an event for over 250 people. Then, they welcomed families and entertained children with traditional games before the party started. They also hosted the whole event, during which there were several musical moments, traditional dance performances and short videos on Christmas traditions from various corners of the world, the USA, Cape Verde, Romania, Angola, Brazil and Portugal.
There was still time to remember and pay a tribute to Nelson Mandela, a man that to millions of people stands for the triumph of dignity and hope over despair and hatred, of self-discipline and love over persecution and evil. A short video on his life, his “long walk to freedom” and his struggle for the equality of all human beings and all peoples was shown.
At the end of the afternoon everyone was happy for having taken part in this experience and for having had the chance to share their culture and Christmas traditions, as it allowed them to learn a bit more about the celebration of this special season in other parts of the world. After all, we might celebrate Christmas in various different ways, but there’s something that connects us all, its symbolism.
You can see photos of the party here!
But our students did not stop here! The 11th graders attending the Professional Marketing Course decided to collect food, toys and clothes within the school community. Bearing in mind the huge number of items collected, we can undoubtedly state that this initiative was a success. The items collected were donated to RUMO - Social Solidarity Cooperative, a non-profit organisation, created in 1981, whose mission is to fight for the inclusion of unprotected people, in terms of their educational, professional and community situation, according to the Supported Employment Model, in an open labour market.
These were indeed two quite rewarding experiences for our students. In fact, volunteering is definitely “a win-win situation”. As Maya Angelou once stated “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”