01.12.2011 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Cradle on rails. Seventy-four passengers rode the train to Kars

©MDG-F Turkey - Cradle on Rails

Within the framework of UN Joint Programme Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia, the “Friendship Train” event was held in co-operation with the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (through SHÇEK), Faculty of Educational Sciences at Ankara University, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Based on the platform of children’s rights, the project aimed to raise children’s awareness of their cultural heritage and safeguarding, and to communicate the activities of the Provincial Committees of Children’s Rights.

After about two years of planning and preparation, on 18 April 2011, the Friendship Train was waiting at Haydarpaşa Terminal in Istanbul. Seventy-four passengers rode the train to Kars. The eight-wagon Friendship Train was allocated to children pursuant to a protocol between the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (through SHÇEK) and the Turkish State Railways. It stopped in Eskisehir, Ankara, Sivas and Erzurum and various activities were held in each city along the way. After the warm welcoming of an enthusiastic crowd holding apple candies at Eskisehir, the train continued its way to the Capital. In Ankara, passengers visited Anıtkabir and a training session was held at the Cer Modern Art Centre. In Sivas, after visits to Buruciye Medresesi (historical Muslim theological school) and the Congress Museum, a special museum training session was held at the Sivas Archaeological Museum with the participation of children from the Sivas Committee of Children’s Rights. On 21 April, the Children’s Museum Room was opened in Erzurum with the participation of children and adults from Erzurum. The train reached the last stop, Kars, on 22 April. The Friendship Train’s journey ended with a feast at the Kars Culture House of Minstrels. A journal about the Friendship Train was compiled into a book in two languages (Turkish and English). A short movie was also produced from video shoots by children from the Erzurum and Kars Committees of Children’s Rights in order to record all aspects of this unforgettable journey.

A workshop was held in Ankara in October 2011 to discuss the sustainability of the Museum Training Programme. The goal of the workshop was to create a permanent model for children to benefit from and to find answers to the following questions: “How can we implement the training programmes in the best manner, taking into consideration contributions from both children and adults? How can we preserve the children’s museum rooms? How can we integrate children with the museum rooms? How can we open new ones?” Finally, the roadmap developed was delivered to the related authorities, and most importantly, to the children.

Please click here to read the booklet of Friendship Train that travelled from Istanbul to Kars through Eskişehir, Ankara, Sivas and Erzurum in April 18-22, 2011.

Website: http://www.mdgf-tr.org/

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