“The afternoon, spent at the Festival of the Third Age, will remain forever imprinted in my heart. I was fortunate enough to meet wonderful and unique persons, including the SIAE Award Winner, Nada Mulej. From her, I also purchased a book titled Heal old wounds (in Slovenian). I read it in one sitting and the content has reaffirmed my belief that it is never too late to learn what we did not learn as children. We are fine the way we are; however, we are not at our best, and we can still change,” summed up her impressions Darja Smrkolj from Zagorje ob Savi, one of the SIAE Award Winners, who shared their stories on learning with the visitors of the exhibition stand of SIAE and partners at the 18th Festival of the Third Age that took place at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana.
In the first three days of October, this year’s festival attracted a whopping 17,500 visitors from all over Slovenia and three international delegations. The event was co-created by more than 3,000 individuals.
For the seventh time in a row, the SIAE was a part of this success story together with their partners. We offered the interesting content and methods of active ageing and intergenerational cooperation. Through interviews and examples of good practices we encouraged numerous visitors of all generations to take part in lifelong learning. Participants of the Third Age University at AEC and study circles from Slovenska Bistrica, Šmarje pri Jelšah, Kranj, Cerknica and Rakek Cultural Society Rak drew the attention by making a mosaic, medallions, gold plating of Baroque decorations, learning of bobbin lacemaking and playing the zither and singing folk songs. Those, who shared their childhood memories with us received the book of the study circle This is how I came into this world and stayed alive (in Slovenian) as a thank-you gift. We also presented the course of exploration of pilgrimage trails, and a herbalist and members of cooking workshops from Šmarje pri Jelšah prepared recipes for dishes with prunes and advice for maintaining health and well-being with the help of medicinal herbs. This was followed by the tasting of the dishes and ginger syrup and liqueur, which were appealing to the eye and delicious to the taste buds.
Nine SIAE Award Winners, who constantly learn on their own, are a constant inspiration and at the same time living proof that learning is life changing. In the role of the learners they have awoken in passersby the wish to learn and be active with their stories about the excitement about gaining new knowledge, writing books, integration of people with special needs in the world of mountains and different trainings, through singing and artistic creation.
Many elderly were interested in finding out where, how and when can they receive education. They received useful advice in our advisory corner, in which participated Slovenian Guidance Centres from Novo mesto, Žalec, Jesenice, Trbovlje and Ljubljana. We directed them for further guidance on AEC, third age universities and libraries and presented them with the link to the Overview of Adult Education Learning Offer in Slovenia, educational offerings (in Slovenian) and other SIAE projects as well as Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe – EPALE.
Mateja Pečar (firstname.lastname@example.org), SIAE