Here they are, the Oma polku ryhmä / Own path group, just arriving at Annantalo, the center of Helsinki Design Week’s children’s programs. They have prepared a program called Sillat työpaja / Bridges workshop to show and hope to see whether others might join in. They are immigrants, who came alone to Finland when still minor-aged. Now they speak Finnish and pursue their own paths to work, education and life goals in Jyväskylä, and they volunteer at festivals and cultural events with their program.
First they sang the Elephant-march, a song known by all children in Finland. Then they sang a song well known in Iran – that’s where Ali, one of the youth – remembered it from – about a duck and a stork, who are both lonely. To prepare for the design week event, they put down the words in Farsi first, then designed a Finnish language version together with Maria, who also noted down the music. The audience got caught by it, they danced and sang together, both the Farsi and Finnish words were easy to remember.
Then came the STEAM construction part: the Oma polku volunteers started to put together the tubes and connectors of the giant 4DFrame tower, a design following the structure called Warka water tower (an invention for collecting water in dry areas of Africa). And then what happened was:
A corner, then a part of the hallway, then the entire hallway got occupied by children and parents creating their own structures from the tubes and connectors. Naim kept passing around new elements to include.
Outside the rain was pouring, but inside it was time for another song: the Persian song about the duck and the stork was danced to once again. All too soon the day was over. Now it’s time to prepare for this year’s The Day of Light festival in Jyväskylä!
The event is part of the Sillat (Bridges) project, a collaboration between Experience Workshop and Jyvälän Settlements. It is funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education (Opetushallitus).