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Exursion to Guba for SOS Children

SOCIAL ACTION DEDICATED TO INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FORESTS, 2011
VF AZERCREDIT ORGANIZES ECO-TRIP TO GUBA REGION FOR CHILDREN OF SOS VILLAGES


Funded and initially capitalized by international non-profit organizations, VisionFund AzerCredit keeps abided to following its dual nature, which implicates pursuing both social and financial goals and performance at the same time.
Within its social mission, VF AzerCredit initiates and carries out, from time to time, various social actions - organized or purposeful activities that seek to improve human welfare, deepen civic culture and foster healthy community life along with striving to enhance awareness on specific topics.

With this in mind, on September 10, 2011, VF AzerCredit organized an eco-trip for the children of the SOS Children’s Villages Azerbaijan Association, which comprised a full-day excursion to the Shahdagh National Park.
SOS Children's Villages are active in 133 countries as a variety of international project and enterprises that are brought together by the umbrella organization SOS Children's Villages International, which unites all of the autonomous national associations.
SOS Children’s Villages Azerbaijan Association is a children and family support institute, founded in 2000 by the SOS International, and which mostly provides family-alike support via so-called ”children villages” for abandoned and orphaned children (with specially trained ”SOS Mothers”, providing round-the-clock care in purpose-built family houses).
The SOS Azerbaijan at present supports over 9,600 people in Azerbaijan through 3 SOS children’s villages (2 in Baku and 1 Ganja), 1 SOS youth home, 1 SOS nursery school, 1 SOS Playbus and 2 SOS family strengthening programs.


The Shahdagh National Park covers up the territory of several districts, including a part of Guba Rayon, which is famous for its beautiful nature and has purposefully been chosen by VF AzerCredit for the excursion to be organized for the SOS children.
It is remarkable that though being completely funded by VF AzerCredit, the trip had been realized in synergy with the Regional Office of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the representatives of which provided technical assistance and played a role of a guide during the full-day excursion.

The day-long trip was not merely an opportunity for children from the SOS villages to get closer to nature and have a good rest and relax. The main goal of the excursion that involved about 35 children from 2 SOS Youth Homes located in the Absheron Peninsula was to raise children’s awareness on environment and nature, as well as to boost their interest to Azerbaijan’s culture and history.
The trip aimed at imparting knowledge on environmental terms and notions via acquainting with the places of interest in Guba Rayon and through active learning.

Mixing fun with learning and mingling relaxation with knowledge enhancement process, the trip mainly involved the following activities that were organized for the SOS’s children by VF AzerCredit with the technical assistance and a narrative contribution from the regional employees of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources:
  • Visiting the Carper Center in Guba City;
  • Visiting natural sightseeing places in Guba Rayon, including Shahdagh National Park;
  • A lecture and a quiz on environment and nature, history and culture of Azerbaijan.
ON THE ROAD (BAKU-GUBA)


VISITING THE CARPET CENTER IN GUBA CITY

The excursion first started with the visit to a carpet center and workshop located in Guba City – run by the so-called ”Guba Women and Family Business Support Center” project.
The center, which serves as an ”exhibition” and carpet production center at the same time, had been initiated as a joint project of the UNDP (the United Nations Development Program) and the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan.
Thanks to the narrative contribution of the regional representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the professionals from the Center, the girls and boys of the SOS Children’s Villages got acquainted with different samples and observed all the cycles of the carpet-making process.
Since the carpet center displays a wide range of different styles of antic and contemporary carpets, representing various school and regions of Azerbaijan (starting from Tebriz City in the South Azerbaijan of Iran to Gazakh Rayon in the north-west of Azerbaijan (and even several Persian carpets)), children were able to get a good understanding of the history of carper-making in Azerbaijan and understand the regional and stylistic differences.


VISITING NATURAL SIGHTSEEING PLACES (ON THE ROAD FROM GUBA TO GRYZ-DEHNE VILLAGE)

The road from Guba City to the last destination place (near the Gryz-Dehne village, where a lunch and a knowledge quiz were to take place) was characterized by gorgeous nature – high mountains and cliffs, wild forests and deep canyons and waterfalls.
The place was intentionally chosen to vividly communicate to the children the benefits forests provide for people and convey how impolrtant it is to ensure sustainable management, conservation and development of forests.
The beautiful nature of Guba seemed to be attracting not only local people but as well as guests from other countries; on the way to the village, foreign visitors from different countries were seen everywhere:


ENTERTAINMENT AND QUIZ ON ENVIRONMENT AND HISTORY

At the end of the journey, in a quiet place near the Qryz-Dehne village, lunch, entertainment, and knowledge quiz were organized for children.

LUNCH AND ENTERTAINMENT


QUIZ ON ENVIRONMENT AND HISTORY

As the main purpose of the excursion had been to mix leisure with active learning, the trip had become an excellent opportunity to impart children with necessary knowledge on Azerbaijan nature, environmental issues and other relevant topics. The regional representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources delivered short, but interesting lecture on both Azerbaijan and the region’s history and ecology-related topics and organized an interesting quiz among the children. Some interesting questions from the environmental quiz:
  • How many National Parks and Natural Reservations do we have in Azerbaijan?;
  • Who can provide the best description and information on the Shah-Dagh National Park?;
  • Why was Shah-Dagh (both the mountain and the National Park) named Shah-Dagh?;
  • What is the difference between the National Park and National Reservation?;
ECOLOGY AND HISTORY QUIZ


WINNER IDENTIFYING AND AWARDS PRESENTATION


The trip will be followed by other social activities aimed at promoting environmental awareness and responsibility.
September 2011

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