Children departed from Istanbul to Kars on “Friendship Train”!

01 May 2011

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UN Joint Programme Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia, which opened the first Children’s Museum Room in Kars in January, organized a train journey from Istanbul to Kars.

New Horizons - With a special cooperation between Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK), UN Joint Programme, Ankara University Educational Sciences Faculty and Ministry of Culture and Tourism a private train that is called “Friendship Train” travelled from Istanbul to Kars in April 18-22 April with an aim to raise awareness of children on cultural heritage on a children’s rights basis and to share the activities of Provincial Children’s Rights Committees.

The train journey which is the latest and most fun activity of Museum Training Program under the scope of the UN Joint Program will began on Monday morning (April 18) at the Haydarpasa Gar.

Attending children and adult representatives from Provincial Children’s Rights Committee as well as representatives of the press and associated stakeholders were among the passengers of the train. Friendship Train of 8 wagons, which is designated to the children after a protocol between General Directorate of SHÇEK and Turkish State Railways, departed with ceremonies from Istanbul, at 10.00 am.

The first stop of the Friendship Train is was Eskişehir.

Even though rain and cold weather followed the train to Eskişehir, a marvelous welcome in Eskişehir Train Station was waiting for the Friendship Train.

A station full of crowd composed of both children and adults sang and dance together while enjoying their apple candies. Along with the train journey work also began.

During the whole journey a train gazette is prepared by the children.

This gazette contains news and observations about each day’s activities in the train and visited cities. In addition participants from Kars and Erzurum already started to document the activities with video cameras.

At the end of the train journey these footages will turn into a short documentary.

Friendship Train in Ankara, Sivas and Erzurum 

Friendship Train was in Ankara on Tuesday (April 19). Passengers of the train first visited Ataturk’s Mausoleum (Anıtkabir). The second activity of the day was to visit Ankara’s first modern art museum CerModern.

In CerModern children visited the exhibition and also realized museum training. Friendship Train was farewelled by a crowded group from Ankara Train Station with dance and music.

After an all night train ride passengers of the Friendship Train woke up in Sivas and welcomed with a ceremony at the train station.

In Sivas, children visited the Museum of Republic and received information from the director. In the afternoon children came to the Sivas Archaeological Museum to conduct a museum training.

After the training a special ceremony was held with the participation of more than 200 children along with the Governor Ali Kolat and the local public institution directors.

Turkey’s second Children’s Museum Room opened in Erzurum with a colourful ceremony on April 21, 2011.

Friendship Train was in Erzurum in Thursday and welcomed by a crowded group of children, deputy Governor and relevant local authorities. After the welcome ceremony children marched to Atatürk House which will host the Turkey’s second Children's Museum Room. 

Last stop: Kars

On Friday, April 22, Friendship Train have arrived Kars to meet children of Kars. Rainy and cold weather that followed the train since departure from Istanbul was waiting for the train in Kars too. But hundreds of children welcomed the Friendship Train passengers with a warm ceremony.

After the welcoming, the destination was Kars Minstrel Culture House. There, children enjoyed the performances of Kars Minstrels and Kars children and had lunch with their peers from Kars.

Due to unfortunate weather conditions Friendship Train passengers were not able to visit Ani Antique City as planned. But despite that one downside, all passengers were happy and proud about having this experience.

Friednship Train

A crew from TRT Çocuk (children’s channel) accompanied the train from Istanbul to Kars. UNICEF Consultant Bernard Kennedy was also on the train in order to prepare a special book about Friendship Train adventure.

The UNJP is funded by the MDG Achievement Fund entrusted to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) by the Government of Spain, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and United Nations Organizations UNDP, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization), UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization). UN Joint Programme aims to mobilize culture tourism in Kars.

Within the scope of UN Joint Programme, a Museum Training Program has been developed in order to turn museums into places that children enjoy, raise awareness in respect of history and cultural heritage, support creative skills of children and establish a participative and permanent learning environment.

The participant children continued having museum training during the train journey.

Museum Education Module Has Turned into a Book

The children, who are also affiliated to Provincial Children’s Rights Committee, as “peer instructors” while attending to this Museum Training Program developed in cooperation with Ankara University Educational Sciences Faculty, SHÇEK and Ministry of Culture and Tourism as well as UNICEF, which intends to reflect children’s view to UN Joint Programme and to contribute to the main objective together with children, has given training their friends in their own province.

It is intended to implement the special education module which has been formed during the museum education period also in other provinces of Turkey with cooperation of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of National Education, and Social Services and Child Protection Agency.

An education module consisting of 4 books has been developed as a result of the efforts for Museum Education Program. While the first book is prepared for adults, the second book is intended to inform the children peer instructors.

The third book includes an activity package for the participants of the museum education and there is a model implementation package in which Kars and Erzurum provinces is used in sampling in the last book.