From July 26-28 2019, the main square in Puka was filled with children playing, handcrafting, cycling and dancing. It was time for our first PUKISS children’s festival!
We watched impressive performances by a theatre group, a circus and a puppet theatre. For the brave ones, the fear room in the community center was the highlight of the festival. By offering a big variety of activities and games, we reached our main goal of encouraging social interaction between the children and youngsters in Puka and supporting them in their cognitive, social, physical and emotional development. We wanted to offer alternatives to electronic games. Our group and outdoor games enabled the children to develop their creativity and imagination, to create a relationship with the world and their surroundings, to create and explore a whole world of leading actors where they can challenge their fears and take on different roles. The games enabled the children to figure out how to collaborate in groups, how to make decisions, to resolve conflicts, to negotiate and to achieve victory. We also encouraged the parents to get involved and spend quality time with their children.
Another positive outcome of PUKISS was the improvement of the collaboration between the incredibly motivated young volunteers. Through their engagement, PUKISS will continue. The PUKISS festival was also of high interest to TV stations and was covered on News24 and RTV Ora, promoting the city of Puka as a place definitely worth visiting.
PUKISS was inspired by a similar games festival in Herzogenburg, Austria (NÖKISS) and is made possible through the help of many young volunteers. The connection between NÖKISS and PUKISS came as a result of an experience facilitated by Caritas St. Pölten which for two consecutive years invited young activists and children beneficiaries of the CDC “Today for the Future” to participate in the NÖKISS festival. This 2 week festival promotes cooperation between children, parents and theology through interactive games and various events. NÖKISS is inherited from generation to generation and continues to be preserved as an annual tradition in the town of Herzogenburg, Austria. Parents, who were former participants of the festival, now facilitate the development of the festival their children are part of today. Appreciating the experience as having a special impact on the development of collaborative relationships between children and young people, the idea came up to implement this experience in the city of Puka as a project coming to Albania for the first time and to establish it as an annual activity.
The feedback of the children and youngsters was marvelous, so we are working to develop PUKISS as a tradition and with the support or different partners organize it every year.