TURN YOUR FACE TOWARD THE SUN, AND THE SHADOWS WILL FALL BEHIND YOU/Proverb
Riga, August 2017
Initially the idea of organising MARTA’s summer holiday camp was considered too risky by both – MARTA’s experts and future participants due to possible professional and emotional risks and limited funding available. However, now – after a successful conclusion of MARTA’s “Holidays of Inspiration”, the initial concerns seem insignificant. MARTA is determined to continue with the organisation of such summer holiday camps in the future, and would like to share with you the experience.
The financial support by the Childhood Foundation and donations by individuals and private businesses such as Viesistaba Vintage and MADARA Cosmetics allowed to create very personal, cosy and warm surroundings for the participants. It turned out to be one of the key preconditions to allow MARTA’s clients and her children to feel safe and free. The programme of “Holidays of Inspiration” was specifically designed to focus on fostering positive experience and conveys various skills and knowledge, completely unrelated to violence and discrimination. However, the safe and comforting environment, as well as professionalism of MARTA’s expert team encouraged participants to share their experience with regards to domestic violence either between themselves or via asking specific questions to MARTA’s experts and speakers. The environment nurtured many honest and bittersweet conversations, with belief in ability to change one’s life strongly resonating throughout. Participants voluntarily created a wonderful support system, where they took care of each other, and each other’s children, thus, providing much needed rest to each other. Children were offered to participate in various creative activities. However, the simplest things turned out to be most popular – playing with dogs, sports activities and running around with bear feet.
Although women deeply appreciated the various workshops on feminity and health and personal care, they felt most grateful for a chance to eat well and feel that “ time belongs to them and them only”. They felt that they have a right to private time and space, and the camp offered a fantastic chance to leave home and everyday responsibilities. A mother of three children, who came from the most remote region in Latvia, stated that the “Holidays of Inspiration” is only chance for her to leave home and show her children other parts of Latvia and finally visit the seaside.
MARTA’s team has concluded that such summer get-away has been a definite success and new experience not only for women, but also for MARTA’s team. The current plan is to organise such 2 to 3 get-aways every summer, with participants not exceeding 8 women and 9 children all together.
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