Sun Child Eco Clubs - the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (Armenia)
SunChild Eco-clubs shape professionals who care about nature and are eager to influence democratic decision-making processes to solve environmental problems.
Our goal is to improve natural environment and wildlife by expansion of the SunChild Eco-Club network throughout Armenia to develop projects that fit to specific local conditions.
Although there are many serious environmental problems in Armenia, many people of our country are not ready to change their exploitive attitudes towards nature and environment. This does not only damage biodiversity and natural resources, but also harms human health and negatively impacts the economy for future generations. Thus facing the above mentioned situation, the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) initiated SunChild Eco-Clubs – an environmental education program for children and youth. The Eco-Clubs are characterized by a long-term approach and are located in the remote areas of Armenia.
We aim to educate young generations by enriching and integrating their love and mutual respect between humans and nature into their socialization. Due to the knowledge and skills gained in our Eco-Clubs, they become aware of nature conservation problems and the means to address and solve those issues.
SunChild Eco-Clubs educate children by shaping them as active members of civil society who voice the environmental problems of their communities. This is attracting attention of residents, political authorities, NGO’s, and even the international community, thus contributing to the solutions of important issues.
FPWC raises children’s awareness for environmental issues while at the same time providing them with tools to tackle environmental problems. Supervised by specialists of the FPWC, the children not only learn to take photos with wildlife in nature, but also shoot their own films. Each week, Eco-Club meetings take place after school. The children have 3-4 hours of film and photo skills training, during which they watch environmental films and hold after screening discussions. In between the film trainings, the children are given environmental lessons. They also attend bird identification workshops and other training.
The most successful members are invited to take part in the annual SunChild International Environmental Film Festival. The festival's program includes environmental film screenings, workshops dedicated to NGO Networking and Ecotourism, as well as huge children's programs, exhibitions and concerts. The aim of the festival is to create a background with suitable conditions for bringing up a healthy and strong generation, who care about the nature of their homes as well as of neighbouring countries.
- About 100 students participate in the SunChild Eco-Club meetings annually.
- Several film and photo trainers and biologists work with the children and youths regularly for a period of several months. The training are very fruitful: shortly the young participants are not only able to identify and focus on the most important environmental issues existing in their region, but also start to shoot their own films addressing the most significant environmental problems.
- One of the most outstanding examples is Gyumri’s Zoo. SunChild Eco-Club children shot a film addressing the inhumane living conditions of animals kept in the zoo. It contributed greatly to the utterance of the problem and its final solution.
- The “Sun Children” directly improve their local environment through developing and implementing their own projects.
- Gradually, SunChild Eco-Clubs forms a nation-wide strong and growing network able to voice environmental problems contributing to their solutions.
- The films created by the members of the SunChild Eco-Clubs have not only been screened in Armenia, but also invited to be screened in the respective environmental film festivals organized throughout Europe.