Friday, 11 May 2012

Voluntary work of students from "IES Mediterraneo" at "Virgen del Mar residence" for the elderly.

The voluntary work by students and teachers of "IES Mediterraneo" at the "Virgen del Mar residence" for the elderly grows out of our long term project "Solidarity Forever" and the "Comenius BIH Project." The residence belonging to the "Edad dorada" association and "Mensajeros de la paz", is situated in Barrio San Antón, in Cartagena. We see this experience as an opportunity to enhance education and the fundamental values necessary for the personal and social development of our students, values such as solidarity, generosity, patience and tolerance which we try to instill in them day by day. In this way they have the chance to dedicate small parts of their free time to the elderly, who are in need of affection and attention, sharing their happiness and youth. It is a way of getting involved in the local community, which we believe will be very positive for both sides.
     We have started this activity in the school year 2011/2012 with the purpose that this beautiful idea may prosper and carry on in the future. For now it will serve as a pilot project, so if at the end of the school year, this experience is found to be positive for both sides, we will have the necessary information to begin the next school year with renewed energy and the conviction that our interest and efforts are worthwhile.
     At the beginning of this year, after previous meetings between the coordinator teachers and the director of the residence, we agreed to start this activity on a day coinciding with a carnival celebration, in February. We arranged 2 groups of voluntary students and we organised a timetable to go on Fridays from 5-7 to meet the elderly. It is mainly students of 2, 3, 4 ESO authorised by their families who are the members of this voluntary group. They were chosen for their genuine interest in this. There are 25 on the list divided into 2 groups, who take part on alternate weeks. There is a reserved list of 15 students who substitute if one of the others can´t go. The students are accompanied by different voluntary teachers each time and by older students who are doing their practicals in the residence.
     The activities are programmed and run by an occupational therapist and by the coordinator teachers with the colaboration of a student in practise. The students give them company, play board games, read poems, short stories, walks, singing and music, chat and listen to their stories, all under the supervision of the teachers. During the time we have spent there, we can see a positive result, so far observing in our students a fantastic attitude, demonstrating a sensitivity, helpfulness and maturity which make us feel proud of them.
     The elderly we meet with are a group of between 20-25 who are in relatively good health. The majority are very old, many have mobility and other problems... They wait for us each week and take part with us in the prepared activities for them. We can realise how happy they are with our teenagers. The relationship with those responsible for the residence is always cordial, demonstrating to us their desire to colaborate. We hope that this experience is useful and positive for all concerned.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Hello friends,
This post is to tell you about the FONSECA GROUP. Last Summer I spent a memorable month in Farnham, near London, with teenage students who went to study English and travelled to England with this organisation. I went to help them as a group leader. We had a great time both with our host families, language centres and teachers.

The FONSECA GROUP is run by Mariki and her daughter, María, who have more than 20 years experience in organising summer courses in England, and make sure the experience is useful and beneficial. They are also aware of child protection issues and do whatever is necessary to keep them in a safe environment. They themselves look for suitable host families and also coordinate closely with the teachers of the language centres and those of the private lessons. They monitor the students' evaluations, too.

This year, in July, they will offer 3 different possibilities for students from 13 to 16. To their two traditional ones- Surrey Language Centre and Private lessons-,they are adding a third group for young students particularly interested in tennis. For three or four weeks they will have 3 hours of tennis coaching in the morning with an English coach, and 2 hours of English class in the afternoon. Furthermore, like the other students, they will practise English with their host family, and with other foreign students of English.

There are also other possibilities and programs for younger students- from 8-12- with total supervision and close follow-up by the organization´s group leaders and by Mariki and María personally who are checking everything all the time.

Farnham is a very beautiful small town in an interesting area very near London -45 minutes-and every week, as well as the lessons and sport and leisure activities in the afternoon, the students will enjoy various visits and short trips: Oxford, Stonehenge, Winchester, Guilford, Brighton, London...

If you are interested in finding out more about the FONSECA GROUP and their offer for this Summer's courses in England, you can contact them at the following link:

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Comenius Meeting "BIH" in Trieste (4th day) and back home

Friday, 18th November, our last day in Italy

Venice is very near Trieste. We went there by train. We enjoyed the canals and the magnificent buildings such as the palazzos and churches you can see from the vapporetto- the water bus-
We saw the gondolas and their sailors in striped t-shirts rowing without rest but with charm. We saw the old and new bridges, all beautiful and spiring. And of course, St. Marcos, a great cathedral, so bright and different with oriental byzantine influences.
Our Turkish colleagues-Sezen and friends- stayed on in Venice to return to their country from there. The rest of us, Marie, Romina, Hannelore, Amgard, Barbara, Melita, Iana, Boris...and Antonio, J. Angel and I, went for a dinner in Trieste, to say goodbye for now, although we are going to keep in contact all the time on the internet, by e-mail and through the Project Web and blog.

On the trip back to Cartagena, Saturday, 19th November

At the end of our trip we were exhausted. We had hardly slept during the previous days, and we even thought in English, the language we had used almost all the time to communicate to most of our European friends, but we were satisfied. These days had been great due to the very good organization of the meeting by Barbara and her colleagues, the wonderful atmosphere among the members of our working group, all the work we had done and the agreements reached, all the interest about our common aims and the beautiful places and people we had got to know.

We hope the "Believing in Humanity" Comenius Project will produce in our schools, teachers and specially students, a greater awareness of solidarity and that our help, in one way or another , will get to people in need.