SEZAM Association of Parents and Children, Novi trg 1, Ljubljana, Slovenia
SEZAM was founded in 1989 as an experimental project. From 1990 on, it has been acting as the Association of Parents and Children. After 16 years of activities in the field of supplementary and alternative forms of work with children outside institutionalized space, the role of SEZAM consolidated. It is now working as a non-governmental organisation for the benefit of children, youths, parents and families.
SEZAM is becoming a reference place for parents, youths and children.
SEZAM organises babysitting at your home in the morning, afternoon or evening, there is also the Granny Service, and day care for longer periods. For 16 years, it has been developing a service for different types of help at home, from caring for children with special needs, organising a mobile service for help at your home, to helping children with learning problems, coaching, accompanying children and additional coaching.
SEZAM develops the role of a versatile service for periodical help to families, where parents can get useful information about bringing up children, take part in interesting meetings on timely topics, for example developmental psychology of children, lead by different experts and those who deal with these topics in practice.
SEZAM has an open telephone line to help children who have been wronged at home or school and parents who no longer know who to turn to for help. There is also a programme of family therapy for those, who do not see a way out of a family crisis.
SEZAM also develops new programmes:
Open Sesame is a new programme, this is SEZAM’s nook for children, where parents can leave their children under the watchful eyes of young volunteers, students, pedagogues, artists and other creative young people with ideas, who can conjure up a new world of imagination, embrace new initiatives, surprise children and wish to take their first steps in public life there. SEZAM also organises accessible careless holidays, youth workshops and voluntary camps, public events and opportunities, important for professional and personal development of mentors, animators and youths.
It also organizes training of young people for work with other young people, mentor work, work on creative workshops and work with children, and enables the young to acquire experience for animators through practical work.
SEZAM organises art projects, innovations on public, urban places, squares, streets and children’s playgrounds, train and bus stations and stops, hitchhiking spots, residential areas, industrial and shopping centres, as well as social campaigns, pointing to certain social problems, injustices, absurd situations.
For the youngest, SEZAM provides a place for feeding, nursing and changing.
SEZAM organises a traditional flea market for children at the Šiška market place in Ljubljana once a month, which has become a meeting place of those, who exchange clothes, footwear, equipment and other things for children. The fair has exceeded its market function, it even became an important Sunday event for children (puppet performances, workshops and funny games, raffles and competitions). It has a special way of fighting the exaggerated consumer behaviour, which is changing social relations.
Sezam was founded as a supplementary programme in the field of care for children activities which covered white spots that the public sector could not cover and where alternative activities were organized in accordance with the needs of parents and children. In the process, new fields of activities were discovered so that many experimental projects, designed as a social innovation, were later realized as a part of the regular school or nursery programme (creative writing, entertaining mathematics, learning methods, creative workshops).
Offering new contents and forms of work with children and their implementation was one of Sezam’s missions which relived parents of the burden of daily family obligations. As such, Sezam became an important place for the parents to turn to when they need help, advice, information, counselling or simply a chat, a break, a place which offers support in their daily care for the family and children.
Sezam does not only create new programmes, by offering new and different contents of work with children, it provides for a number of jobs, from cultural animators to the combination of nannies, art and theatre performers and children’s programme organisers. Sezam is also specialised in open-air, street, public place, playground and backyard programmes, where permanent volunteer and prevention camps and workshops are held for the more sensitive population and those who are in an underprivileged position due to their social or some other status.
Sezam tries to ease the consequences of the new social system, causing social differences and unequal possibilities of children
Principles of work
Reliability, honesty, social sense, courage, originality, imagination, kindness, responsibility
Equal possibilities for all children, social promotion, a sense for other people and the feeling for diversity
Our motto can change :
From Sezam odpri se (Open Sesame) to vsezamalčke (Everything for Children) to vsezamlade (Everything for the Young).
Živa Battelino, Mojca Volk, organisers of Sezam’s children’s flea market
Mateja Pavletič, programmes for volunteers, Zlatka Knapič, coordinator of Sezam’s children’s nook
There are also: Martina (2), Mojca (2), Andreja (2), Sonja, Ana (2), Eva, Rok, Črt, Iztok, Gal, Bor, Tajana, Robertina, Rada, Helena, Maša, Mateja (3), Jasmina, Nataša (3), Robertina, Aleksandra, Irena, Renata, Gordana, Rok, Katarina, Peter, Alenka (3) and many others
International Volunteer Camp Fužine Playroom (between 1992 and 2005)
Projects for refugee children and teachers, especially: Come and Play with Us ... (between 1993 and 1997)
Children’s art colonies Rakitna (between 1992 and 1999)
Exploration camps Fiesa, Piran, Bernardin, Debeli Rtič
Entertaining Mathematics (1993 to 1997)
Creative Writing (1993 to 1995)
Learning Methods (1994 to 1996)
Sezam’s children’s flea market (1999 to 2006)
Children’s Centre in the City Centre (2001)
The Street Belongs to Us (1999 do 2005)
Magician’s Afternoon (2002, 2003)
Hitchhiking Spots (2002-2005)
New children’s playgrounds (work group of different artists) 2002
In cooperation with the School of Applied Arts: art projects for children:
Let’s Play Park 2003, Willow Art 2004, Let’s Plant a Kaki Tree, that survived the Nagasaki atom bomb (2000 in Ankaran and 2005 in the City Museum in Ljubljana)
Eu Fešta 2004 (joint organisation of major children’s and youth events in the Fužine district together with societies Skala and Šola Famul Stuart)
Autumn Games in the City Museum 2002-2005
Open Sesame (2005, 2006), Granny Service (2006)
1994, 1995 - Cambridge (joint projects to help Bosnian refugees)
1997 - Trieste: Laboratory for Play after the idea of Munari (cooperation with Gruppo imagine from Trieste, Georges Pompidou Paris, Children’s Museum from Brussels and Children’s Museum from Vienna)
2000 - Debeli Rtič - the Kaki Tree Project (planting the kaki tree that survived the Nagasaki atom bomb together with Japanese artists)
2004 - Leeds: Animation Workshops, Daphne Programme (partnership in a project about violence against children)
1993 – Ljubljana Centre Municipal Award for Sezam’s work
1996 – the City of Ljubljana Award for the quality offer of activities for pre-school and school children’s spare time
2006 – the Inspiring Six (Awards of Trust for Civil Society Foundation), Best Slovene Project of the Year
Member of the Centre of Non-Governmental Organisations of Slovenia, member of SEECRAN, Central European Initiative for Children’s Rights