Old techniques for young people

Estonian NGO Vanaajamaja and Latvian Bulduri Horticultural School have joined forces in “Take the challenge!” project to teach traditional wooden construction to young people. In December, a 10-day training was held in Mooste, and Piret Uus from Vanaajamaja shares insights into the project’s early stages, accomplishments, and future plans.

Please tell about the first months of the project. What have you achieved so far and what has brought you the most joy?

As major events, within the framework of the project, two 10-day truss construction trainings for young people have taken place in Estonia and two in Latvia. It makes me happy that there is a great interest in traditional construction among young people. It is not possible to accept all those who want to participate, but we hope to involve them in the project in other ways (sharing educational materials, etc.).

Are there any aspects that you underestimated that turned out to be more difficult than expected?

There are only two partners in our project. And I must admit that compared to the previous 5-6 partners, the cooperation is much smoother. The geographical proximity of the partners also contributes to this, because there has been an opportunity to participate in each other’s events face-to-face.

How did you find the project partners and what is their role in the project?

The leading partner of the project, Bulduri Horticultural School, approached us with a project proposal. They received a recommendation for this from their previous partner Räpina School of Horticulture. The project values friend-to-friend recommendations, which have proven effective in European cooperation. The Latvian partner has played a crucial role in establishing connections with skilled Latvian masters, enriching the learning experience for young participants.

What was your motivation to participate in the project?

We are very interested in making the network of champions across Europe work better so that young people have someone to learn from and follow an example. This collaboration represents a significant shift from previous partnerships with American masters, marking the NGO’s first major collaboration with neighboring countries. Within the project, we are also looking for contacts with other European champions so that the network can better support everyone.

How is the project visible to ordinary people in your area?

Our “clientele”, who see and hear about the trainings we organize, covers Estonia from Ruhnu to Ida-Virumaa and from Misso to Dirham. The unique aspect of conducting targeted trainings for young people has attracted substantial interest.

What is happening in your project in 2024?

The third training for young people within the project has already been announced – it will take place from 11th to 22nd of March 2024.

Additionally, collaborative training sessions in Latvia involving Estonian instructors are planned. The agenda includes a joint study trip and the development of study materials, further enriching the educational experience for all participants.