As we had announced, this year our celebration of the Forests Day on 21 March was different, as it was dedicated to the children, not adults!!
It was a fun day with lots of playful activities and joy, with many opportunities to introduce and discuss with kids the importance of our forests, the importance of conserving these ecosystems and of the environment in general, always highlighting that people and communities are a part of it.
We were all touched by the happiness of the children!! And our staff & volunteers enjoyed too!!
The event took place at the Parque dos Professores (Teachers Park), starting at 10am until 4 pm, and was organized in partnership with the Livro Aberto (Open Book) Association and supported by the participation and dedication of AMOR (Mozambican Recycling Association), Kosmoz, Mr. Rafo Diaz, the boys from the orphanage Casa do Gaiato and several tireless volunteers.
The objective of this initiative was to use fun activities to raise awareness among children, Mozambique’s future generation, about the importance of our forests, and the conservation of our environment in general.
The activities for children included:
1. Making Bracelets with re-used plastic water bottles and strips of bright capulana (much-loved traditional Mozambican cloth)
2. Drawing trees and decorating them using motifs from old magazines;
Making snakes by re-using the cardboard tube of toilet rolls;
Drawing a beautiful forest on canvas, elements of which were painted by many different children throughout the day at their choice and in the end, it illustrated the immense biodiversity and creativity;
Face painting, which did take some courage as none of our staff had any previous experience with this, but it also gave us the opportunity to test the creativity of our colleagues and volunteers;
In addition to these activities, we had several colouring pages available for the younger children, all with environmental themes;
We had a message board which was also a success; many children left their messages each on small cardboard leaves, which together made the tree;
In addition to the activities that JA and Livro Aberto had organized we also had activities from important partners, who clearly contributed for a rich programme for the day, such as AMOR and Kosmoz.
AMOR is promoting recycling in Mozambique and was present with their great mood, inviting children to learn how to build fun toys from recycled material, such as the “Vai e vem” (literally ‘come & go’ – a toy) with recycled plastic bottles, which was a huge hit with the kids whilst at the same time their volunteers were talking about important environmental concepts.
The Kosmoz (Holistic Platform for Integral Human Development) was well represented, bringing elements of physical and mental well-being of communities.
They had a very rich program that included dances, reiki, yoga exercises in group, educational games with emphasis to nutrition, massage parlour only for children (although the adults really wanted it too!), demonstration of aero yoga and hip hop dance, demonstration of theatre games, demonstration of a chess match, among other activities. The therapists from Kosmoz were present during most of the day providing advice and appointments for children and parents also.
We cannot forget the story telling moment in which Mr. Rafo Diaz charmed our children with his magical storytelling talent! Thank you very much Rafo!
We are immensely grateful for the commitment and dedication of our new partners Livro Aberto Association, Amor and Kosmoz, because they believed in the cause and helped us make this day a day to remember!
This day was a great example of Mozambican organisations working together for children of all socio-economic backgrounds, who rarely if ever have a chance to come together.
(All photos by Justiça Ambiental)