Listening to the children

aldeas-signing

Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and the territorial director of AldeasInfantiles, Javier Perdomo Torres, have signed an covenant this week which works to help develop participative harmonious projects in the borough.

According to the mayor, “we are developing a plan to create spaces where children can learn and grow in diversity, in values. We are working with schools and I believe
AldeasInfantiles are the right partners for this project. We are working on a very participative programme, we want them to let us know what they wish to see, with the overall aim being the creation of a working plan for the Town Hall in all areas because this project is multi-departmental. We are using sport, music, culture, to create the space for harmonious co-existence, for social and human advancement.”

For his part, Javier Perdomo Torres said that “for us this is a great opportunity to give children a proper voice and ask them what future they want to have, what kind of town and world they want to live in. We have to learn to listen to them and think honestly about what they want and how we can make their wishes a reality while being aware of the starting point we are at for this change. From moment the children begin to be part of that change and are driving the change we are at the start of a very important programme that will enrich everyone.”

The covenant looks to encourage the development or the participative process among children and communities, placing a value on human diversity and social existence in Adeje through the evolution of talks, meetings, and workshops, in the community and education arenas, and in co-ordination with different associations and collectives

The plan will also include an annual general meeting, a Children’s Day, with all the relevant groups and individuals taking part in the project sharing results and working on concrete action plans.

The Adeje Council will give the AldeasInfantiles organisation a project space in the Security and Conviviality school to develop the programme which is scheduled to last for a year, with the possibility of an extension depending upon the results.

Youth inequalities to be addressed

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The aim is to design a protocol for action and coordination among the different bodies who work with young people.

The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, held a press conference today alongside the Regional Government’s Director General of the department for the protection of children and the family,  Mauricio Aurelio Roque González and the Director General for the department of Public Health, Ricardo Redondas Marrero and other relevant agent heads and political representatives.

The press conference followed a round table meeting with other relevant agencies who have come together to work on focusing efforts on assisting those who work on a daily basis with children and families in need of assistance and/or at risk. The participants included family law experts, education chiefs, and social welfare councillors and representatives.

The working group are to evolve a protocol which “would be a first step in the work in the protection of young people, something we are very concerned about, and we are also working to create an on line platform”, the mayor told press. He added that Adeje was working to focus on meeting the needs of children at risk “We need to be able to anticipate and have responses to the changes in the laws protecting minors. Our objective is to to take decisions that are relevant and matter. So, in that regard, we have identified the need for a co-ordinated approach among the different agencies working in the field. Today we have created a working group to elaborate an action plan that is consensual and coordinated…And this isn’t simply an Adeje initiative, but regional…so any action plan will have the whole of the Canarian community as the focus.”

children working group3

Ricardo Redondas Marrero welcomed the initiative, adding that it was no surprise that “we are launching this in Adeje given the borough’s excellent social programmes”. He said that his department was “very concerned about inequalities in health and unnecessary injustices. We have seen that current health policies are not creating equality opportunities in all sectors. This is noticeable among young people and children, in social programmes, in education, and in the health of our children. If we indeed wish to create a society that is just and sustainable we cannot simply look the other way and must meet these inequalities head on. One of the issues that concerns us is addiction. Recent reports indicate that while we might be better than average in the Canaries in terms of addictions, we are still looking at issues that need attention. And not just substance abuse. We are also talking about internet addictions, phone dependencies, things that do require institutional co-ordination. “

A happier Christmas!

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Cruz Roja and Adeje council donate 20 family boxes which include Christmas fare

20 Adeje families received Christmas boxes from the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) in conjunction with the Adeje council this week.

These were boxes specially prepared for families in need at this time of year, with Christmas-based food products as well as some basic dietary staples. The donations were made as part of the on-going social services aid programme which is dedicated to helping those most in need throughout the year.

Present at the delivery, which took place in the Adeje Cultural Centre, were the Adeje councillor for social welfare, Amada Trujillo Bencomo and volunteer members of the Red Cross.

For her part, the councillor thanked the Cruz Roja for all the social assistance projects they are operating in the Adeje borough, and said that she was delighted that Christmas continues “to bring out the best in all of us”. She said these boxes “are of great help to the families here today and the council of Adeje is delighted to continue to work with the Cruz Roja in their work reaching out to the most vulnerable in our society”.

Bank books help

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Caixa Bank donates school material and books
The aim of the initiative is to guarantee that students from disadvantaged families have equal education opportunities

The Adeje education councillor, Andrés Pérez Ramos met recently with Caixa Bank and AMPA (the parents association for schools) to confirm details of the banks’ commitment to donate school materials and text books to families most in need in the borough. It is the second year in a row that the bank has donated in this manner.

The aim of the initiative is to guarantee that students from disadvantaged families have equal education opportunities and remove difficulties children many have in pursuing their studies.

Pérez Ramos thanked the bank for their donations and the help they were giving families in the borough. He said this extra assistance was “as well as the assistance coming from the department of education”, adding that he was working in conjunction with the councillor for social welfare to give the best possible attention to local residents, and it was this kind of attention to local needs that meant they could also “receive help from other institutions such as Hospiten Sur and the Cruz Roja”.

adeje-reunion ayuntamiento-ampas-caixa bank-ayudas materia escolar y libros de texto (3)

Representing the Caixa Bank at the meeting was Manuel Luis Méndez Martín and Eusebio Dorta was there on behalf of the parents’ associations. The donations are part of the bank’s decentralised social programme, the aim of which is to help persons with the greatest needs, using proposals such as this one, in the most efficient way using synergy between institutions such as the Adeje council to reach those on the margins of society. The funding for books is also being spent in Adeje book shops, so “it’s not just benefitting families but local businesses as well”, commented the councillor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Chairs!

The Adeje School of Music and Dance, EMMA, under councillor Adolfo Alonso Ferrera along with the local department of Education, led by councillor Andrés Pérez Ramos, recently hosted the second in a series of learning concerts for young listeners with audiences from infant and primary classes from the borough and outside.

The main objective of the initiative is to bring music to the students of Adeje and South Tenerife and also introduce them to the fantastic resources available at the school of music. The concerts also hope to enhance the educational programmes of the schools taking part and encourage the use of music as a learning tool. .

Adolfo Alonso said, “this was a remarkable success. The students enjoyed themselves and had a lot of questions about the musical instruments that were used in the concert. What we want from this project is that young people begin to enjoy music in a different way”.

For this second event, given the number of students taking part, the day was held in two centres, the Adeje Cultural Centre and the School of Music itself, with students from Tijoco, Armeñime, Las Torres, Fañabé, Adeje schools and students from Luther King. The programme included a mini-concert with teachers from EMMA explaining the history and possible musical uses of each instrument, the wind, string, brass and metal families, etc.

The modern music section included keyboards, bass guitar, drums. sax and voice, was enjoyed by the children in primary school, while those in infants classes enjoyed an carnival of the animals, with a circus theme, each instrument playing a different animal.

Tibetan Culture Week, Adeje

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The Fourth Tibetan Cultural Week will take place in Adeje from February 1-11th in connection with the recent inauguration of Dzamling Gar, a new Centre for Tibetan Culture in Playa Paraiso.
The event is free and open for everyone, children and adults, to enjoy a range of popular and traditional Tibetan Arts, especially music and dance. In addition to eating and drinking, singing and dancing, the event will be an opportunity to experience the rich educational and cultural value of this ancient and modern Himalayan heritage. This year’s event will be held in the Centro Cultural Adeje at 7pm on, Thursday, 6th of February, in Plaza San Sebastian in La Caleta, on Friday 7th of February at 6pm on Friday and in Dzamling Gar, which is the world centre for the International Dzogchen Community, during the weekend of 8th and 9th of February, where there will be a series of activities for children between 7 to 12, music concert of Tibetan music, traditional and modern Tibetan dances, table games and much more. All are welcome.
To close the event on the 11th of February there will be a special round table discussion in the University of La Laguna with an opening conference of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu followed by a round table with the special participation of guests such as Lama Denys Rinpoche, Giacomella Orofino, Professor of Tibetan Studies in Universidad “L’Orientale” of Naples, the Tanatologist Prof Alfonso Garcia and other illustrious academics.

See below for a link to a PDF with a full list of events during week

4 TIBETAN CULTURE EVENT IN TENERIFE complete for web

Christmas Celebrations and Traditions, Near and Far

belen adeje senior citizens
Adeje is a cultural cross roads, a salad bowl of traditions and practises, and Christmas is just one of these times when we tend to remember how we celebrated this festive season in the different countries of our birth.
With people from over 120 different countries living in our multi-cultural borough, it would be virtually impossible to list all the different traditions that are represented here today. But what is interesting is how immigration over the years has seen some practises from our past travel to new lands and adapt to new communities?
Here in Spain the most obvious example at Christmas is, no doubt, the fact that Santa Claus now visits many many children in Spain – in the past he left most of the gift-giving to his good friends the Three Kings, who brought the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But as communities in Spain and in Adeje began to welcome families from other lands, Santa Claus agreed to include Spain in his busy schedule.
But while we now share many customs, some we still observe in our own way. For instance for most Spanish people the big Christmas meal, where family come together, is dinner on Christmas Eve. Traditional meals will almost inevitably include prawns or other shellfish, with meats or fish as part of the main course. Most businesses close at lunch time on December 24th to give people time to get home and get ready for the meal, and while small presents may be exchanged that night, the big day for presents in Spain continues to be Kings Day, January 6th. December 25th is really a day to relax, and attend religious services for those who wish to.
To those of us who are from the UK or Ireland, December 25th is the day when our children will wake up early (too early for many parents!) and search eagerly for their presents under the tree. That afternoon is when we will have our Christmas lunch or dinner- with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables. Regional differences may see goose served instead of turkey, in Ireland a boiled ham is frequently served alongside the turkey, in the UK ham, roast beef or roast pork may be the second meat. Cranberry sauce is standard for the turkey as well. After the main course Christmas pudding is served, often lit with a dash of whiskey as it enters the dining room, and usually accompanied by cream or brandy butter. In many households the pudding is made months in advance, and steamed on the day.
The next day is traditionally our day to relax and get over the excesses of the large meal.. In the UK December 26th is Boxing Day, the name probably stemming from the old custom in Britain of giving a ‘Christmas Box’ to tradesmen and women on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is turn is linked to an older tradition which saw many servants who had served the family where they worked on the 25th allowed home on December 26th, often with a box containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. In Ireland the day is a Feast Day, St Stephen’s Day and the day of the Wren Boys!
The Wren Boys traditionally were groups of small boys who would hunt for a wren, and then chase the bird until they either caught it or it died from exhaustion. The dead bird was tied to the top of a pole or holly bush, which was decorated with ribbons or coloured paper. On St. Stephen’s Day, the wren was carried from house to house by the boys, who wore straw masks or blackened their faces with burnt cork, and dressed in old clothes (often women’s dresses.) At each house, the boys sing the Wren Boys’ song in return for money which would be used to hold a dance for the whole village. Even today groups of Wren Boys will be seen on St Stephens day, but without dead wrens.

wren boys
Similar to the Wren Boys but not just in Ireland, Mummers would also go from house to house, and they would perform plays and wear disguises, often of straw, and ask permission before entering the house. Mummer performances would have been the first kind of folk theatre experienced in the UK and Ireland, and these would have been generally light-hearted occasions with audiences allowed to laugh and comment during the play. This tradition has also travelled with immigrant waves in previous centuries, and today you will find Mummer groups performing theatrical works in Russia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and many other parts of the world.
Christmas is a very special time in Germany too, the country which has brought us the notion of the Kris-kind, or Christ chid, which many of us have adapted to use for gift giving among groups of friends or workers. There, on December 6th, many houses receive a visit from St. Nicholas. On the night before, children place their newly cleaned shoes by the front door in the hope that Nicholas might fill them with nuts, fruits, chocolate, and sweets and not a stick which they will get if they have been naughty. The German excellence in baking and biscuit making comes into its own too at this time of year. Christmas markets are hugely popular and traditional in Germany and are held in many towns and cities during December, with hand crafted gifts and produce on offer in the most of picturesque settings. The Advent Calendar, also a German invention, is now found in many countries around the world, whether home made or shop bought, and is a lovely way for children to count down to December 25th.
The Christmas Crib first appeared in Italy though has undergone changes since then with many countries adapting the concept and adding different figures. In Sweden on December 13 young girls visit homes bringing cakes, dressed in long white robes and wearing a crown of candles like Saint Lucia. Lucia was a martyr, probably from the 4th century, who helped Christians who were persecuted by the Romans to survive by bringing them food in their hiding places, wearing a crown of candles.
Christmas is celebrated throughout the African continent by Christian communities, and there are approximately 350 million Christians in Africa. The Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December in their calendar, which is the 7th of January for most of the rest of us, similar to the Russian Orthodox church. However, some Russians observe two Christmases and even two New Years, following both the church and the secular calendars.
Take care here in Spain on December 28th – while you probably won’t see Wren Boys, you might find yourself the victim of a prank or two. This is Dia de los Inocentes, which is, in a sense, the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day.
As in most part of the world celebrations are pretty spectacular on New Year’s Eve. While many of us might watch the count-down on television tuned into Big Ben in London, for Spanish people who live in the peninsula they will probably watch the clock and celebrations in the Puerto del Sol, in Madrid, though don’t forget it will be 2014 an hour earlier there. Local television stations here will be tuned to Santa Cruz, but if you are in Adeje why not go down to the plaza in La Caleta where the year will be rung in style with live music and lots of fun. Also remember to bring your grapes. In Spain traditionally people eat one grape for each stroke of the clock at midnight on December 31st, and for each grape you swallow you should have a month’s good luck in the year to come.
January 6th is the probably the most important date of the year for Spanish children. Even those who might have been good and received a present from Santa Claus in December will know that it is the arrival of the Three Kings, Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar, that sees their ‘big’ present delivered. Parades take place in many towns and here in Adeje the Kings arrive by helicopter at 5pm on January 5th to the main town football stadium and at 7pm there is a terrific parade up Adeje’s Calle Grande with each of the Kings on a magnificent float handing out sweets to passers by. There is loads of colour and fun during the parade with a host of other characters taking part. The next day children will wake early to find out what they have been left – and hope it’s not a lump of coal!

three kings adeje
In Ireland January 6th is also celebrated, but it is know as Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas, and is a day when men traditionally did all the housework. In Canada, in Quebec have a celebration called “La Fete du Roi” They bake a cake and place a bean in the middle. Whoever is the lucky discoverer of the bean, gets to be the king or queen, according to tradition.

 

Schoolbag Donation

schoolbags
The Adeje council recently donated backpacks to 80 local school children in infants, primary and secondary school . Inside the bags was school materials for the start of the academic year.
The presentation was made by the social welfare councillor Amada Trujillo Bencomo and education councillor Andrés Pérez Ramos with members of the Red Cross who worked with other bodies to raise funds for the students in need. The councillors said this was “an important aid for families who need it most…we have made a commitment to offer equality of opportunities, including our young boys and girls who now have the school materials they need to begin their courses”:
Education, they councillors said, continued to be a vital tool in helping young people overcome difficulties and iron out differences in their daily lives now and in the future. “No young person in Adeje will be without the basic learning and study tools”, they promised.
The students in receipt of the kits have been chosen by the social welfare and education departments based on applications made by families in the borough. Inside the backpack are materials adapted to each of the school levels

Summer Solstice

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There’s something mystical and magical about the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, June 21st.
All over the world ancient civilisations recognised the significance of this day, and many built monuments and other constructs to celebrate and welcome in summer. Here in Tenerife the Piramides of Güimar is one such construct, old piramides rediscovered by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, that celebrate this special day when the sun is at a particular point in the sky.
From 6.15pm the park opens its doors to the public, entrance is free. People will be accompanied to the pyramids complex where they can see, weather conditions permitting, how the orientation of the pyramids aligns with the horizontal axis giving an almost magical view of the sunset, and an amazing double sunset. While this is something of a natural illusion it is still quite astonishing.
This year the date also falls on the last day of school for the kids, so what better way to start the summer holidays on a special note.
The organisers supply special glasses for the public to view the event, and this really is a special event and a great way to visit the park for free!
If you are travelling from Los Cristianos or Las Americas give yourself about an hour to find the park, in the upper zone of Gúimar, and parking.

 

Low-cost Canarian Day?

The crisis has many knock-on effects, and the way those extra costs add up is no help.
While we budget on a monthly basis for essentials such as the rent or mortgage, food, school meals, and things like a birthday present or two when the kids are invited, there’s always another expensive surprise around the corner.
This month Canarians celebrate Día de Canarias, or Canarian day, and for many of us ex-pats with children in schools here, we are at a bit of a financial loss. Given that a)we live here and have chosen to do so and b)many of our children are actually Canarians having been born here or at least grown up here, they and we should and want to celebrate the day, but it costs money. While Canarian families, families that have their roots here, will have easier access to costumes, from older sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends, and will probably have a greater use for Canarian dress for many of us ex-pats it’s a bit of a stretch with no traditional resources to fall back on. And though it’s not the soaring cost of First Holy Communion (that’s another kettle of loaves and fishes), we’re talking at least €40 for a blouse, skirt, hat and scarf, if it’s to be done properly. And really its just for one day.
I know that this year, thankfully, some teachers are taking note of the financial difficulties that many families find themselves it, and are slimming down the Canarian day celebrations with some of the previous mini parades through local streets now optional so the pressure to dress your kid head to toe in traditional gear is minimised.
Here’s an idea though. Many of us, if we have lived here for a few years and made friends among the parents of other school goers, can sometimes rely on the Canarian costumes of older sisters or brothes of friends, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to create a pool of costumes that could be lent out for the festivities and returned to a central kind of wardrobe cleaned and ready for families next year. Ideally this would be organised though the local schools, but if the problem is seen as particularly ex-pat in nature, maybe through forums that we are already using.
I throw it out there for what it’s worth. Would it be a workable idea? Even if it’s too late for this year we could think of something like this in advance for next year. What do you think?