There are six of them. They are all interested in music, they are open, disciplined and willing to help. For the first time in the history of the Misteria Paschalia Festival, the audience management team will be helped by people from the GRAAL Association for the Development of Children’s Personalities. This is the second such initiative in Poland – after last year’s Przystanek SZEKSPIR project, carried out by the JA TEŻ Foundation and the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre – aiming at inclusion of persons with Down syndrome in the professional life in cultural institutions.
“For the members of our association, the ability to be the part of the events they could only hear about in the media is truly a special and valuable experience, especially taking into consideration that contact with other people is probably the strongest suit of people living from Down syndrome”, Magdalena Chaszczyńska, head of the Graal Association, emphasised. “We are very happy that we will be able to help with three concerts – on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I am very grateful to Janina Chudyba, the teacher working for the Special Schools Complex on Zakątek Street in Krakow. She puts all her energy and heart in her work, and it is very uplifting.”
For some of the wards of the Association, the organisation of the Misteria Paschalia Festival will not be their first job. Two of them – Ania and Łukasz – are working at A-pacze Social Cooperative, of which the GRAAL Association for the Development of Children’s Personalities is a member. Together with the employees of the Krakow Festival Office, the six helpers are now participating in a series of training sessions preparing them to work during the Festival.They will get to know the ICE Kraków Congress Centre building, which will host this year’s festival concerts, learn the audience layout and our approach to our guests. They are constantly supported by the employees of the audience management department of the KBF, helping them not only to integrate with the rest of the team, but also supporting them in the cases of doubts, helping them to find solutions of potentially difficult situations. Together, they work on reading tickets, communication, self-confidence, scope of responsibility, order of actions and safety. All potential problems are corrected during the meetings. Like every other employee, the wards of the foundation will receive proper remuneration.
“This collaboration is a challenge for our team”, said Magdalena Łukasik, deputy director of the KBF.“We learn something every day from our new colleagues. They show us not only that we should always enjoy even the smallest of things, but they also show us how we should approach our jobs professionally. I remember how surprised I was during the first meeting – even back then they knew that since the event is a prestigious one, they will have to take care of even the smallest details of their work, such as proper attire.”
Magdalena Bulczak, head of the JA TEŻ Foundation from Gdańsk is also happy with the collaboration between the KBF and the Graal Association.“This is a confirmation that our work at the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre brought the expected results. It is vital for us that this concept, this idea gets more widespread. A project connecting Gdańsk and Krakow can give it a truly national character.”
The Misteria Paschalia Festival is the first – but certainly not the last – opportunity for the KBF and the Graal Association to collaborate with each other. Until the end of this year, the wards of the Association will help with audience management during at least two more events, including the popular Krakow Film Music Festival in May.
Graal Association for the Development of Children’s Personalities was established in 2004 in order to support the integration of youth with Down syndrome with their counterparts. Integration means happiness and fun – it is an opportunity for many children and youth with Down syndrome to keep in touch with their peers, while the peers can get used to diversity and work on their sensitivity and tolerance. Find out more: www.graal.org.pl