The “Changing the world, one heart at a time!” project is conducted by Stanislaw Jablonka Przyjazny Dom Foundation in partnership with L’ARCHE Foundation and The World of Puppets from Iceland, as part of the Citizens for Democracy (Obywatele dla Demokracji) programme financed by the EEA grants.
You will find more information on the Citizens for Democracy Programme on the following site: www.ngofund.org.pl.
For more than 30 years in Poland and over 50 years worldwide, L’ARCHE Foundation has been creating and running small family-like houses for people with intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, the Foundation runs Occupational Therapy Workshops as well as day care centres. In each of these places the intellectually disabled residents are treated as partners participating equally in everyday chores. Often, they become best friends with their non-disabled assistants and they share their talents along with their exceptional warm-heartedness and sincerity. Since 2011, the Foundation has been also conducting educational projects on disability for children and teenagers.
THE WORLD OF PUPPETS, based in Iceland, is managed by Bernd Ogrodnik. This internationally renowned puppeteer, active on this field since 1986, serves currently as the Master Puppeteer in the National Theatre of Iceland. He toured in Europe, Canada, USA and Asia as performer, director, teacher and lecturer at international puppet theatre festivals, universities and conferences. He has been also performing, directing and creating marionettes, puppets and masks not only for various theatres and operas all over the world, but also for collectors, museums, commercials, television and film.
The project included three international partnership meetings:
THE 1ST PARTNERSHIP MEETING: From 12th to 15th September 2014, we hosted our partner Bend Ogrodnik, the maker of two Down syndrome puppets, which are crucial to our project. On 13th September, we organized a promotional meeting at L’ARCHE Foundation – Wrocław Community’s site. The meeting included an artistic event, with the first public screening of the “Jestem” (“I Am”) film, a Disability Awareness Puppet Show, as well as presentation of the Down syndrome puppets along with Bernd Ogrodnik’s performance.
THE 2ND PARTNERSHIP MEETING: Between 10th and 16th February 2015, we hosted our Icelandic partners. We devoted this week to sum-up our previous activities and to plan our future undertakings. Members of both L’ARCHE and Stanisław Jabłonka Przyjazny Dom Foundations agreed that such form of working with children should be definitely carried on. As it turned out, the popularity of our programme and the number of demands received far exceeded our capabilities (as the Poznań case exemplifies: one school asked us to perform in sixteen classes, while we could do so only in two of them).
THE 3RD PARTNERSHIP MEETING: Bernd Ogrodnik visited us again accompanied by Hildur Jonsdottir between 22nd and 26th June 2015. Their visit was filled with meetings (in Konstancin, Białystok and Wrocław), aiming at further work on carrying our project on. On 24th June, Bernd Ogrodnik performed a charity show of “Metamorphosis”. The funds raised during the spectacle will support building a new house for the intellectually disabled by Stanisław Jabłonka Przyjazny Dom Foundation.
Despite the fact that the project is coming to its end, we feel as if it was only starting off. On 25th-26th June 2015, Bernd Ogrodnik carried out a training for those who are responsible for Disability Awareness Puppet Theatre classes for children and also for all members of L’ARCHE and Przyjazny Dom Foundations interested in this form of education. The subjects covered during the training were as follows: acting technique improvement (establishing and building-up relationship with the audience in particular), show preparation, keeping both the puppeteer and the puppet in good condition, audience analysis, acquiring knowledge (essential for being able to give correct answers to children’s questions), coping with difficult questions and situations which might occur during shows etc. The participants appreciated the training, as it proved to be extremely useful at this stage of our work (i.e. after having already gained some substantial experience in the field).