Lessons for present, lessons for future
Meeting in Siilinjärvi 11.9.-17.9.2016
Speeches were given and students performed Finnish music and dances from different countries.After coffee students from all participating countries had their wonderful presentations in school’s auditorium. They dealt with the theme: “How can we prevent ourselves to become indifferent?” Maarit Pöyhönen had a lecture about Finnish educational system and Kati Strandén told us about finnish special education and Ahmon koulu JOPO-class. The teachers’ day continued with project management. In the evening we had a nice dinner in Kuopio city center.
Tuesday’s theme “Who owns the past” started in auditorium with reflections on the history of jews in Finland by PhD Laura Ekholm. After interesting lecture she went on with the question: can Europeans be non-christians? In the afternoon there was another lecture given by PhD, adjunct professor Oula Silvennoinen about a question: Does the past matter? He talked about the holocaust and the Finnish democracy and today’s relationship with history: “History in a post-factual world.”
Student’s were listening those great lessons, but had their own program too. Ahmo school drama students had prepared a play: “A dramatic approach to the theme of being an outsider - aren’t we all?” Students performed music as well. Students had a chance to make art by painting “Best wishes” and to learn a finnish folk song in music class. Kuopio regional newspaper visited and interviewed us about our program. We could read the article in Savon Sanomat following morning.After school day the entire group visited Harjamäki mental hospital area. There was a walk around the hospital and riding stables and a visit to the Hospital Museum. History of mental hospital gave us a new perspective to human rights. In the evening the dinner was enjoyed in Puijo tower restaurant with incredible views over city Kuopio.
Wednesday morning started with a lecture and practice about restorative thinking and peer mediating. After that students had cooking lessons and they prepared traditional Finnish food. In the afternoon we headed to Ruokoniemi, Siilinjärvi Lutheran parish camp. Program was to learn about human rights and prejudices. We had beautiful warm weather, so warm that some students swam in the lake after sauna. It was a lovely evening by the lake having sausages and traditional pancakes by open fire. A Finnish nature showed it’s most beautiful faces.
On Thursday we visited Kuopio. First we had an interesting lecture about today’s situation in Kongo. Katja Hedberg presented us what it is if there are no human rights. On the coffee break in Kuopio market place we tried famous Hanna Partanen specialities, Finnish apple pie. Students had some free time to do shopping in the city. After lunch we visited Old Kuopio Museum and Riisa, Orthodox Church Museum. In the evening we had a lake cruise with MS Ukko. Luckily weather was pretty during the cruise. In the evening we tried Restaurant Sampo’s famous of vendace meals.
Friday was last day of our program. We had school lessons and activities in sports and games too. Students had their farewell party in the school auditorium and teachers continued with project management. Rest of day students spent with hostfamilies. A farewell dinner was served in Onnela, Silja’s home. There was a possibility to try sauna too. We had many lovely conversations and will be able continue them in following meetings in Italy and Spain. Whole week was something amazing and we were very grateful about everything.