MaltaToday previous editions

MT 8 May 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 55

maltatoday, SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2016 17 News the same," Angela Caruana says, explaining that the children often remarked about how similar the cultures described to them were. The children tell me they are happy to find out about El-Nesf's appreciation of football and local dishes like rabbit, but above all, value the experience for the hon- esty he displayed in his answers. Over the past weeks, the chil- dren, who are identified and cho- sen for the interviews by their respective schools, have inter- viewed President Coleiro Preca herself, Italian Ambassador Gio- vanni Umberto De Vito and Ger- man Ambassador Gudrun Saga. "The experience has helped me to overcome my shyness and to learn more about other countries just in case I decide to travel," 11-year-old Jerome Cachia said, adding that the activity had also presented him with the opportu- nity to develop another skill he loves dearly: photography. "I started practising photogra- phy last year, when I began at- tending events at the secret gar- den," he says. His photos have been uploaded to the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society's website. Ella Mifsud, 11, who helps Je- rome as a photographer, says the experience had given her the op- portunity to discover new sub- jects and it gave her a platform to distribute her photos. "I would like to study photography and practise it professionally when I'm older," Ella says. Ella and Jerome are not the only two to discover other skills dur- ing the activity, as the President's Garden also has its own resident blogger. Sharon Cilia, 11, has al- ways enjoyed writing, and she sits by the ambassador listening to the questions being asked to then blog about what the children have been told and upload them on the website. Sharon wants to write a book of essays that will include blogposts from the sessions. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fic- tion, in both English and Maltese. Elisa Cutajar, 8 and Shanielee Ciappara, 7, who both participat- ed in the interview, say the Presi- dent's secret garden has helped them discover weaving. "Weaving is relaxing and now we have progressed significantly, considering the short amount of time we have been practising it," Elisa says. "I like to try different patterns and it's very satisfying to see the way your designs change over time," Shanielee says. Fiercely proud of their work and thankful to the volunteers who steer children in their ac- tivities, the children are enthusi- astic about the future interviews and skills they might learn about, brainstorming questions as we go along in our chat. Angela Caruana says the activi- ties organised place an emphasis on fun and games as the basis to any skill learned, and that volun- teers wanted to continue expand- ing the skills taught as well as to invite more children to try new fields of activity. "One of our upcoming projects is to create a moving library that can be wheeled out to the chil- dren as they read on the lawns of the garden," Caruana says, adding that children could contribute to the library itself by creating little booklets themselves during the sessions. The booklets, known as "Books of Wellbeing", contain little bits of advice about what makes them happy. "Our idea is to obtain donated books for the library besides these booklets, and to allow children to take the books home with them," Caruana says. It is a system that just emphasizes what fun reading is. The children have interviewed President Coleiro Preca, and the Italian and German ambassadors Photos taken by Ella Cutajar and Jerome Cachia Ten-year old Jerome Cachia and Ella Cutajar take photos of the activities to be uploaded on the website Sharon Cilia, the Secret Garden's blogger, harbours dreams of writing a book of essays Organiser Angela Caruana, the second secretary at the Qatari embassy Ibraheim Nasser El-Nesf, photographer Jerome Cachia and blogger Sharon Cilia participate in the interview activity "Fuq is-Sufan Ma'" at the President's Secret garden

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MT 8 May 2016