365 children and young people, including diaspora and refugees, participated in local summer camps at #AcasăCamp2023

August 25, 2023

Summer camp from Vorniceni

365 local, diaspora and refugee children and young people participated in the #AcasăCamp2023 summer camps, organised from 15 July to 25 August 2023 in 15 communities in the Republic of Moldova, where they discovered together the traditions and potential of these localities, learned new skills, had fun and made friends.

The local summer camps are organized within the framework of a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Moldova, implemented with the support of the Government of Japan, provided through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). The camps are held in partnership with the Alliance of Hometown Associations. 

"The camps offered unforgettable experiences for children and young people, as they enjoyed unique activities, organized either in the middle of nature or in places where traditions are still preserved and local folklore is promoted. By organising the #AcasăCamp2023 programme, we managed to strengthen the community-diaspora relationship and to harness the potential of the young generation," said Anastasia Rusu, Executive Director of the Alliance of Hometown Associations.

For seven to ten days, children and young people were involved in unique activities specific to the communities that organised the summer camps. Campers hiked in local tourist areas, discovered local gastronomy through cooking workshops and visited local businesses and craftspeople. Thus, at the camp in Corjeuți, Briceni, children and young people learned how to make sarmale; at the camp in Pelinia, Drochia, they baked grandmother's pies and tried their hand at weaving wool carpets; at Vorniceni, Strășeni, they discovered village traditions with the help of photographs; in Sărata Veche, Fălești, they learned the movements of folk dancing; in Scoreni, Strășeni, they saw how to make wooden barrels, and in Răciula, Călărași, they learned how to make honey and what it means to work like a bee.

"I decided to come to #AcasăCamp2023 to make new friends, to exchange experiences with young people from the diaspora who have a lot to share, to have fun and develop my communication skills. I am grateful to the organizers for giving me the opportunity not only to have fun, but also to develop skills that will be useful in the future," said Igor Roga, camp participant from Cotiujenii Mari, Șoldănești district. 

"For me it was a wonderful experience. I learned how important it is to keep the traditions of our parents and grandparents. I was most impressed by the baking of colaci, from preparing the dough to taking them out of the oven. I will definitely tell my friends in England about these experiences," said Ilinca, an eight-year-old participant who lives in the UK and came on holiday to visit her grandparents in Lozova, Strășeni district. 

The current edition of the local summer camps was a great success, with the number of participants, initially estimated at 250, far exceeded. Of the 365 children attending the camps, 85 are from the diaspora and 15 are refugees from Ukraine.

"It's my first time at such a camp and I liked it a lot, because there are interactive activities and I managed to make new friends," said Ecaterina, a 10-year-old refugee from the city of Harkiv in Ukraine, who attended the camp in Cahul, the only one organised in an urban locality and the only one with a focus on robotics and IT activities.

The children participating in #AcasăCamp2023 camps were also involved in volunteering activities. In Borogani, Leova, they cleaned the community park and separated waste into bins according to the sorting criteria, and in Răciula, Călărași, they planted trees in front of the House of Culture.

"We thought of involving children and young people not only in fun activities, but also in civic and volunteer activities. Together we planted five Canadian oak trees and we hope that every time they pass by these trees or return to their parents' home, they will remember the values they have and where their roots come from," said Margareta Mocreac, president of the Association of Răciula natives.

The #AcasăCamp2023 summer camps were organised from 15 July to 25 August 2023 with the aim of encouraging cooperation between people from the community and the natives who have left their villages.