Centru Tbexbix is an educational community project in Cospicua, Malta. Cospicua is considered one of the most economically deprived areas of Malta and has high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, substance abuse, broken families, etc. The project is entirely run by volunteers under the supervision of Didi Rasamayii and Kamala.
A Blossoming Community Project
By Didi Rasamayii
Sometimes I just cannot believe how fast Centru Tbexbix moves forward. One and a half years since the centre opened (January 2006) and the speed at which it grows is beyond expectation.We started with the Sunrise English Club in February 2006. Sessions were held twice a week, with around 15 children. A few months later the school holidays started and the Summer Club was born. Twice a week for 3 hours around 10 children would come to draw, paint, play, sing and bake cookies. With the inspiration of these sessions the creativity classes continued when school started again a year ago. Every week we would have around 20 children, and sessions over 3 afternoons. However, no one would have predicted that the Summer Club of 2007 would have such a response and hence such an effect for the time to come.Three times a week, 25 kids would gather in front of the gate, some 20 minutes early even though they live across the street. We added yoga to the activities, and even some meditation (or “one minute silence”); quite a challenge for these very active children. After that we would do cooperative games, arts and crafts, reading, etc, all in smaller groups. Every session would end with collective songs, during which some of the parents would come in before taking the children home. Nothing could fill me with more joy than those 15 minutes of shiny faces and happy voices. Then, when it eventually would be time to go home… the children just wouldn’t want to leave! They would clean up, sweep the yard, use any excuse to stay longer. The eldest ones would come on our closed days to help me with the same, and asked if they could become volunteers.
During those weeks, slowly a community feeling, or rather a family feeling, began to grow among the children and among the parents too. Any activity we organised after that carried that spirit. A vegetarian pasta night for neighbours and parents, an absolute premiere in this area, was very well received (and their favourite dish was cooked by Jagadiish, much to the surprise of some more traditional neighbours. Education comes in many different ways.). The hall was packed during the end-of-summer event and the children were begging us to please start the English Club as soon as possible. Some had tears in their eyes as they left that evening.
And here we are, a month and a half later, and quite overwhelmed by the small and big steps forward. During the parents meeting (with a record number attending), after a rather loud discussion attempting to finalise the schedule so that our classes would not clash with the compulsory religion lessons in the evening, Kamala explained that we would also like to continue doing yoga with the children. The mothers were keen and we found a time that suited all. But then one mother exclaimed: Hey, but we want to have yoga for ourselves as well! Mums yoga has now started.Our 12-year olds are assisting in the classroom during the session of the younger group; they are our new volunteers and promise of the future. It is so beautiful to see the sharing that takes place; all parties involved are learning and contributing.The first week is just over, and the response for the kids yoga, art classes and English Club has broken all records. Forty children have enrolled, and more want to join. We will have to make a waiting list, since we have reached our capacity, for now. Last Thursday, during the English Club session with the largest group ever so far, it struck me… It was all going so smooth, well beyond what Kamala, myself and our teenage volunteers could have orchestrated. A strong feeling overtook me… …..the force that guides the stars, guides Centru Tbexbix too….
Volunteers are welcome!
During the summer programme sister Purna from Turkey spent 6 weeks in Malta to volunteer for the project (see below for her experience), and many more volunteering opportunities have developed since. New programmes for children and women could include drama, music and other arts, IT, roof top gardening, environmental projects, health classes, cookery and activities for toddlers are part of the long term plan too. Besides teaching there is still restoration work and karma yoga to be done to bring the 17th century premises in top state.
It is very special to be part of the formative years of this young project. So much is possible, and there are so many ways to do service, the sky is the limit!If you would you like to know more, please contact Didi Rasamayii at tbexbixgmail.com Note: English is an official language in Malta, and volunteers will find no difficulty to communicate with most of the Maltese. In some areas like Cospicua, the standard of English is lower than elsewhere, but one easily gets by still.
For more information check out www.tbexbix.orgWe are very grateful to our dear sister from Turkey, Purna, who spent 6 weeks volunteering her artistic skills at Centru Tbexbix during the summer club. Her sweet benevolent qualities coupled with her efficiency were vital for this year’s success.Regarding her experiences, Purna writes:
Centru Tbexbix came into my life so unexpectedly and it filled my life with so much joy, pleasure and love. It’s the joy of sharing, of doing things together, of learning from each other, of experiencing the power of positive attitudes. And it’s the love of Didi Rasamayii and Kamala reflected onto everything and everyone.
All the things I have experienced during the period I have volunteered for the Summer Club at Centru Tbexbix have been invaluable for me. I believe Centru Tbexbix also means a lot for the children and the parents of Cospicua.
The efforts of Centru Tbexbix to provide them with alternative humanist ways of teaching and to set an example for healthier life styles are the seeds of a better society. And the beautiful courtyard of Centru Tbexbix which wraps one with all the feelings of peace and warmth is like a mother’s womb. I am sure these seeds will grow happily in this peaceful womb with the care and love of Centru Tbexbix and the hospitable people of Cospicua. I thank Centru Tbexbix for giving me the opportunity to be part of this special work. I already miss all the children and everything there. As the children would say: “Thank you Didi. Thank you Miss Katherine.”