NERAKI…becomes a reality

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

We are happy to announce that NERAKI, our 2-day children’s workshop, was brought to fruition in early June in Athens, Greece.  Various individuals came together to make this workshop a reality and we’ve asked each of them to write something about their experience.

The Neraki workshop was full of moments to remember: groups of happy students arriving at GAIA, ready to play and learn, a sudden recognition during the slide show “Hey! That river is what we see from our school!” or “this is right by my house!”, children discussing Alexander’s work, Ioanna’s interpretation of a Kifissos’ stone life, children (and teachers!) arguing if they should “build an airport near their river as part of a development plan”, children creating in paint, 3D images, or even music the river’s future and of course children dancing break dance (!) to positively evaluate the workshop. In all aspects, Neraki was a success. And when we asked the children, “did you learn something new today about Kifissos?” all children ran around in the room to show their answer: a positive yes!
Valya Stegioti, Environmental Interpretor and Neraki Leader

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli
Alexander Schellow, MELD Artist for Project Nero and Workshop Leader
Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

For me, the beauty of NERAKI was seeing the positive reactions of the children.  Valya and Alexander spent a great deal of time designing a workshop around the Kifissos River that would both engage and inspire the children, and it was wonderful to see the 7 and 10 year olds respond with the same interest and curiosity.  Even at such a young age, children’s inquisitiveness is a reminder of how important they are in shaping our society.  I loved seeing them laugh, but I also loved seeing their brains process the information.   As they talked about their experiences, you could see how aware they were and hopefully NERAKI will stay with them, as a small reminder of the importance of water.
Thank you to everyone who made NERAKI possible and I hope that we will have an opportunity to repeat this beautiful experience with more and more children in the future.
Corinne Weber, MELD Co-Founder

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend to the event, duty called 😛
I’m looking forward to seeing you, and I really thank you all for the opportunity to be part of such an important and beautiful project. And I hope this will be continued.  Melding together was a great experience 🙂
Teddy Reglis, Music Composer for Neraki

Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

I would say that Neraki is probably one of the most rewarding and important parts of project NERO.  In fact, children are the catalysts of the future.  The care and love Valya and Alexander have given to that part of the project was/is more than apparent and was directly translated by the children’s reactions!  They did not want to go, they wanted more!  It was incredible to see how many made the effort to communicate and challenge the artist directly…Of course, we thought that maybe the work of Mr. Schellow might be too complex and abstract at points for them to grasp it, but that again was another refreshing moment: children with their ingenuity and their free imagination related to the river even in a closer way that we could (they live the everyday life of the river).
Today, education is one of the most important components of our civilization and when you can pair it with a creative process and environmental content the results are incredible…respect and love for the other and obviously for the well being of our earth becomes an intrinsic part of our essence… We hope to bring, slowly but surely these workshops as part of the official curriculum …
Yvonne Senouf, MELD Co-Founder

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

It is always a learning experience when one is  involved with children. Their freshness, purity and easy access to the imagination is a pleasure each time. And then when you are faced with the effect schooling -or growing up- has on them it is each time a shock. They know more but the spontaneous access to the imagination is gone. To ponder on…
Ioanna Ralli, Artist and Photographer

I’m glad I had the opportunity not only designing graphics for the “neraki” but to interact as well with the kids who took part in the project. I’m sure that everybody had a great time and that the educational part of the project was successful!
Stavros Kypraios, Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

“It is really wonderful to have experienced the positive energy that was generated during the NERAKI workshop. The childrens’ curiosity, laughs, questions, guesses, thoughts, sparkles in their eyes, smiles, facial expressions were an encouraging small bright and colorful oasis in the midst of the very grey times we are going through. I hope that the children’s clarity of hopes and wishes for a clean and “true” river will be a contribution towards a better and environmental-friendly future.”
Ioanna Lemoni, Goulandris Museum of Natural History, Athens, Greece

Image Courtesy of Ioanna Ralli

Thank you to all of our collaborators for a wonderful “melding” experience.  We look forward to the next one!