I was at an international conference this week on human rights education for legal professionals, organised by HELP, a Council of Europe programme.
A former ECtHR judge and vice-President, Mrs Francoise Tulkens, spoke about shared responsibility. Between judges and lawyers. Between national judges and ECHR judges. Between Human rights guardians and politicians.
Assigning responsibility to someone or somewhere else is a comfy-cosy position. Sharing responsibility can be overwhelming or daunting. It might be nevertheless an optimum response in times of too often quoted “scarcity of resources” in the political, and not only, discourse.
Annually, 6 to 7 thousands teenagers graduate from state run orphanages in the Republic of Moldova. The doors of orphanages open and they get into the big world with an id and the clothes they wear. Each year, 6 to 7 young girls get the chance to stay in a “social apartment” to prepare for an independent life. They learn basic life skills, such as cooking, interpersonal relations and personal finances management. They are also enrolled into vocational training to help them secure a job and to make a living. The programme is run by Diaconia http://www.diaconia.md, an organisation whose mission and modus operandi is dear to my heart.
This year all of the programme beneficiaries – 16-17 year old girls – chose to become cooks. They did so well so they deserved a celebration, I thought. For their graduation, I wanted to offer them a master class with a chef. So, putting my project management skills to work, I launched the “Cooking with a pro” Project.
The objective was a joint and fun celebration of the successfully completed programme.
Beneficiaries: graduate girls and staff of the programme. I thought it would be only fair and nice to extend it to them, as they were key to the success of girls.
Start date: 1 May. To be completed by: 31 May.
Inputs: a chef, a kitchen, ingredients, smiles and good will. All found in one place – lochef.md.
The beneficiaries chose to learn to make deserts. So the chef offered to take them through the process of making and baking different kinds: a tiramisu, pear brownies, strawberry charlotte, carrot cake. On 31 May, I joined them. They were almost finishing when I got there. Everything was in the oven. The delight was in the air when I got on the kitchen.
All of us sat around the table to enjoy the “outputs”, the most delicious deserts I ever tasted.
One blue eyed girl witnessed to the success if the project: “I made tiramisu many times for my teachers at cooking classes and customers at cafe for my internship. But it is the first time I taste it”. The outcome was beyond expectations.
We discovered “tiramisu” means pick-me-up and take me higher. It became these graduates’ motto. They deserve the best.
Such events, well communicated on facebook, or other places, have a cascading effect and create new projects. Different sorts of beyond expected outcomes. After the event, we quickly exchanged with the chef about a way to get interesting employment opportunities for girls through an exchange programme. He reposted the pics of the master class on his facebook page. “It is pretty usual for me to get phone calls from people with means to help”.
Why only speak about shared responsibility? We can also actually share it. With delight.