Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Everything started in Zaldibia

  • Everything started in the Gipuzkoan village of Zaldibia. In the only center of the town the project ‘Euskara and interculturality in the municipalities of Euskaldunes’ was launched, which would then extend to all the people. In a short time the project has been extended to 19 other localities. The Basque and foreign native parents, who have lived largely behind their backs, have begun to look ahead and listen. This is the first step in an unknown trajectory of pending intercultural health.
‘Euskara eta kulturartekotasuna’ egitasmoa lantzen ari diren eskolen, udalen eta talde-eragileen topaketa antolatu zuen UEMAk martxoaren 7an, Zaldibian. Argazkia: Ibai Arrieta/ ARGIA CC BY-SA
‘Euskara eta kulturartekotasuna’ egitasmoa lantzen ari diren eskolen, udalen eta talde-eragileen topaketa antolatu zuen UEMAk martxoaren 7an, Zaldibian. Argazkia: Ibai Arrieta/ ARGIA CC BY-SA
'Euskara eta kulturartekotasuna udalerri euskaldunetan' egitasmoa

Egitasmoa UEMAk eta Mondragon Unibertsitateko Humanitate eta Hezkuntza Zientzien fakultateak abiatu zuten.

Eusko Jaurlaritzaren eta Bizkaiko Foru Aldundiaren laguntza dauka.

Egitasmoa Zaldibian abiatu zen 2021-2022 ikasturtean, bertako udalarekin, eskolarekin eta hainbat eragilerekin batera.

2022-2023 ikasturtean, Aizarnazabal, Ibarra, Leitza eta Ondarroako eskolak gehitu ziren. Zestoa

2023-2024 ikasturtean hauek ere ari dira:Alegia, Arbizu, Areatza, Asteasu, Azpeitia, Bera, Itsasondo, Legorreta, Lizartza, Markina-Xemein, Mutriku, Oñati eta Orio.

Azpeitia eta Markina-Xemein: egitasmoa ikastetxe bakarrean gauzatu beharrean, herriko ikastetxe guztiak, udala eta herriko eragileak ari dira hartzen parte esperientzia pilotuan.

20 talde eragile ari dira lanean herriotan.

600 irakasleri eman zaie egitasmoari buruzko ikastaroa.

500 gurasok hartu dute parte proiektuari buruzko aurkezpenetan.

Eider Amundarain is director of Lardizabal Herri Eskola de Zaldibia. Since they launched the project in the village, on several occasions, in the people themselves, and outside it, he explains where they left. At the school they had “a challenge or a knot”, they wanted to keep the Basque in the town where the respiratory center is located, and they wanted families who did not know Euskera to participate in the school. “The Basque was an obstacle or a knot to participate.” How can both be combined?
Karmele Perez and Amelia Barquín are professors of the HUHEZI Faculty of Humanities and Education of Mondragon Unibertsitatea and are actively working on the project. As in Amundarain, Pérez has explained on many occasions the axis of the project in schools and towns. The professor of HUHEZI usually lists precisely the objectives worked for Zaldibia and the rest of the centers: living in Basque (still a challenge); ensuring communication and a welcoming atmosphere with all families, even those who do not know Basque; and promoting intercultural relations from the Basque and Euskaldunity levels. Encourage the participation of people from other backgrounds. In the villages and centers that are in the project, when they undertake it, that is, when they think and implement the actions, they
are done to achieve these three objectives. They have established the starting point or base and from there, despite being the project itself, each school center and municipality performs their own activities. They have collected a dozen “best practices” that they have tried and served during these years and that they explain in each center. The tools or formats are specially prepared to respond to different communication situations of the center. The format that has been successful and is being disseminated by peoples is that of school meetings. The meeting with parents at the beginning of the course had another aspect. It now has two parts. The first is an informative meeting offered by the faculty. A single meeting is held in Basque. Simultaneous translation into Spanish is offered. In the second part, parents meet in small groups and talk about different issues. The management of the language is freer in this part: in some groups speaking in Basque, in others, whispering will be used to translate to those who do not know Basque, in others it will be done in Spanish. The goal of small groups is to meet parents from different backgrounds and strengthen ties. “We didn’t understand anything at school in Basque and told the principal that we needed help, that we needed translation. At the last meeting we've been
a lot of people, from foreign parents, because we understand, because we can listen." These statements are those of some parents of foreign origin at the Zaldibia College, when the meetings were held only in Basque. Changing language management, the climate of the educational community began to change.


Maialen Zuazo is coordinator of the ‘Euskara e interculturalidad’ project, a technician at UEMA, which works in Euskaldunes. He has welcomed some keys to the evolution of the peoples of UEMA.
He points out that language is not the only variable and that changes in Basque municipalities, such as demographic changes, must be taken into account. In the last century, the population of Basque
municipalities has almost doubled. The same has not happened in all areas, in the most Basque municipalities, in the saturated areas, the population has decreased. Behind this growth are population movements. In the movements, two eras stand out: on the one hand, between 1950 and 1980 the population almost doubled, especially in Spain. On the other hand, since 2000 there has been a new increase, especially from outside the Spanish state. On the other hand, in the last decade, in Hego Euskal Herria, the birth rate has decreased by 2.4%. In the Basque municipalities the decrease is 3 points. Thus, there is a tendency for one or two parents of children born in Basque municipalities to be of foreign origin. These factors influence the profile of the speakers. There are citizens who have received the Basque from generation to generation, but more and more have received the Basque in the street or at school. This is where the Zuazo focus is, “more and more Basque citizens do not have the Basque language as their mother tongue”. These citizens not only develop in Basque but in another language, usually in Spanish. Zuazo recalls the data from the doctoral dissertation of sociologist Iñaki Iurrebaso, that in Hego Euskal Herria only 7.4% of the speakers perform better in Basque than in Spanish. According to Zuazo, the peoples will become increasingly fragile as the number of speakers who develop better in Basque than in Spanish decreases, and fragility will make it difficult to cope with the changes that are taking place. Taking into account the demographic and sociolinguistic changes of recent years,
Zuazo points out that UEMA has new challenges, “and one of them is the huge need to combine Euskera with interculturality. The number of families from outside the State has increased considerably. Many other things too, but that also influences the situation of the Basque people, knowledge, use and management of the language”. What has changed in your centers as a result of the project?

amaia mendizabal: The greatest change has occurred in our mind, in
our mentality. It has been a process of awareness. In spring, since we started working with you [Amelia Barquín] and with Karmele [Pérez], we are working all the centers of Azpeitia. Amelia, what you said before, we also saw, when we were going to find children at school, that some parents were alone or in groups of origin. Or we saw that they didn't go to parent meetings, that they didn't participate in the structures of the ikastola. I don't think we were aware of what was behind
it. I also live this situation at home, the couple is Italian and the relationship with ikastola was very different. He lived from a distance and from a lack. He was not able to attend parental meetings, he offered the whispering service, but he generated some discomfort. They've also begun to change our relationships. Some bridges are being built, although they are still very simple. In one of the telegrams that didn’t work, I left my phone to a Moroccan, and when we are now going to leave our children every day to the bus station, we greeted, we said goodbye to a couple of announcements, a smile… Before I had no relationship with those people, although before we were at the bus station. My partner's satisfaction has also changed. This
year she has attended parental meetings at her request and has become delighted.
zineb el gahouti: At Zaldibia we have also walked similarly. The relationship between the center and parents who do not know Euskera has been modified, there is greater closeness, greater communication and trust. In the past the relationship was practically non-existent, but the project has been a major change, both between the center and the families and between the parents. There was no relationship between some parents, they didn't even say hello. Thanks to the use of telegrams and group dynamics, there has been a rapprochement in the meetings of the center, which has served to break the prejudices.
josu egiguren: In ours we walk the same way. We have addressed an issue that we saw, that has been important to us, that we have started work. Our predecessors would also work on this issue, but it has now been dealt with differently, we are more aware of what is going on and I think we are doing a good job. In school, we try, we work, but, for example, I find it hard to relate to new people coming out of school, whether they are immigrants or Basque. We're working at the center, but there's a lot of work out there.
a. Barquín: Do I remember how many parents came when we went to do exercises to share the linguistic framework, 40-50?
j. egiguren: Telegram is used in the meetings of my children's parents and in the meetings we have held I have seen very happy parents who do not know Basque. What is moving in every center, between parents?
a. barquín: Zineb, I will start with you, in September the explanation of the framework [the linguistic framework] for the new parents and teachers was given. He explained some of the framework. How did you experience this?

z. the gahouti: I have participated since the beginning of the project and my exposure to the new families and teachers has been very friendly and interesting. Now there are no excuses, before yes, you said that you did not go to the meeting because you did not understand, before there were complaints. Now there is no excuse not to go, unless you are interested. The feeling is good, people thank you.
a. mendizabal: We in Ikasberri are at the beginning. At the end of August we met the executive team and the steering committee and decided to present the project to the ikastola community. They say that in Ondarroa it was a success, and in Azpeitia I would also say it was one of the most beautiful moments. Have you heard of interculturality? Will anyone come? We took a hall from the City Hall, even though a lot of people came, but -- very afraid. A hundred people appeared, twenty of them non-vasco-speaking. The project was very welcome. The presentation was important for the next steps to make sense. It also served to build bridges. The saying “Let the time go.” We realized that people had a
need to address this issue, they came with a desire. It was possible to have feedback from non-Vasco-speaking families. It was recorded to me: a Saharawi woman came and said that she had been made very hard, that in her culture they are very social, that if someone comes from the outside, they get a warm welcome culturally, and here they go to school, and many times nobody talked to her, nor looked at her, and said, “I have cried many times when I go home.” What I said before, I don't know to what extent we realized how far we were from the communities of the ikastola. It was time to sell the project and work the feedback. Then the changes have come: the change of the parent meeting, all the parent groups we have passed [from Whatsapp] to Telegram, it is costing us to write in sum [laughing listeners], a lot, but come on. We've also systematized talks, etc. for translation service.
a. Barquín: Someday we have to talk about how you get

so many parents to come. a. mendizabal: we telephone all non-Vasco-speaking families to inform them of the project and invite them to the act of presentation.
j. egiguren: I now speak as a member of the AMPA. We use telegram, but it is hard to convince parents to move from one application to another, although we insist on purpose. I explained to the group of my children why we are going to use Telegram and Whatsapp, but I know that people are still there and still send most of the information. In November, the school tried to recover people who have not entered Telegram and have entered many people. As extracurricular activities we have begun to offer Arabic classes. We have tried to start the classes in China, but we have not succeeded. At the initiative of the school, last
year there was an interculturality festival where people were very happy. The important thing, however, is that, given some of the needs that have been seen thanks to last year’s exercise, we are creating new things. For example, a commission has been set up to channel these issues and it has been decided that there will be a party, one chocolate a month. Two levels per month. They want to use it to continue building bridges and not a day party.
a. barquín: the move to Telegram has its small obstacles, not always an easy path. In all schools, it is clear that only in the 2-year class will they be proposed to create the Telegram group and not the Whatsapp group. Anyway, every school has its own process, sometimes very changing.
j. egiguren: Sometimes angry and sometimes laughing. Although well explained, some do not pass from Whatsapp to Telegram. They are only three steps, but there is everything, “try writing in Euskara batua”, because no, “just write in Basque because the translator has the translator and sends a message in Basque and Spanish”. We will learn little by little.

What has been difficult? What has been easy?

z. the gahouti: The hardest thing has been to catch people, convince people that things have changed, that there's now another way to communicate, at first it's cost, but gradually people have become aware that it's a tool for communication, to know things. In fact, non-Basque parents are now more involved. The easiest one? Be aware of the importance of communication, participation and, above all, of facilitating the integration of our sons and daughters. Especially for those of us who have experienced integration processes and have suffered the mismanagement of Euskera. At least when I came here. I came to school and went to model A, instead of model D, and I don't understand it, I had to live the consequences of not learning Euskera and I still follow it [the Basque is studying]. As I am aware of all this, this project drives
me and motivates me to participate. I invite people to approach the project and not have a linguistic limit to be or participate in the project.
j. egiguren: According to Zineb. The hardest thing is to catch. We don't all have the same skills to approach people, for example, non-Euskaldunes parents, but there are always people who adapt better. And that language is not an obstacle for all of us to be better, for coexistence to be easier.
a. mendizabal: I think we all walk the same. I think the hardest thing is not to see language as an obstacle. The easiest thing has been to create illusion around the project, and there's some satisfaction, but then we've realized that the communication channels we used so far don't serve to reach non-Vasco-speaking families. This year we got to organize Kilometroak and gave an explanatory talk. At the ikastola, if I am not mistaken, there are 40 non-Vasco-speaking families, they were called and two people came. We are not getting it right. In line with what Mr José said, what we are seeing is that there has been a lot of mistrust and a lot of distance between communities, and now, first of all, it is time to build trust, and that is done a lot in person. Now we have to build complicities to get closer or to participate.
j. egiguren: When we say to engage or attract people, in general, we mean that we want to attract non-Vasco-speakers, but I believe that at the starting point we are the Basques. We are more comfortable, we are easier, and I will not say that the attitude of the Basques is bad, but...
a. mendizabal: Pasibo.
j. egiguren: Yes, that is. At the school of 500 children. The Parents Association organizes a meeting with two parents and one of the Parents Association. Nora [the Basque technique of the City of Zestoa gave the previous conference] said that it often focuses on the non-Basque speakers, and I believe that the focus should be completely the other way around, on the Basques.

How can families be more involved? How do we keep these processes alive? How can we continue when the advisors disappear?
z. gahouti: We must continue to raise awareness of the importance of communicating. To communicate, participate in activities, attend meetings, not only in the school but also in the village. In small towns we find ourselves, whether we want or not, coexistence is obligatory, so we must give in a little by both sides, be empathetic, make migrants aware of the importance of the Basque Country, of what the Basque Country means for the Basque Country and for these peoples, and also for their children. On the other hand, give in and speak in Spanish. Facilitate communication. When we close, the Basque people do not do it any favours, because sometimes the Euskaldunes are closed. About twenty years ago, I joined the parents association for my nephew and some parents were not willing to do so in Spanish. There were two of us who didn't know Euskera. He said it was hard for him to do Spanish. What did he achieve? I left, I didn't want to be in a place where there was such a hostile atmosphere. A flexible, open attitude that allows us to know each other, we are obliged to live together and we must reach agreements.
j. egiguren: The idea is to create the ‘friendly family’ in school. When non-Euskaldunes come to school, the voluntary family will be with them and will teach them the school, the association of parents, as well as the people and their activities. On the other hand, it is planned to extend the project to the entire population.
a. mendizabal: participation comes from the construction of complicities, from the construction of healthy and welcoming relationships. Zineb has explained very well: we all have to move, this is the responsibility of the whole community.
Nora has spoken of opposing positions, we have not received positions contrary to the project, but rather passive, as “I will continue to write in Azpeitiarra”. There it is behind, “I am here, he has come, to learn Basque. I will not move from my place.” That doesn't help. In a respiratory zone like Azpeitia, for the Basque language to be the language of all, we have to interact and build bridges. “It was time” is an expression that has come out many times when you have received the impressions of the members of the educational community. What does that mean? We have seen that a few years ago reality is changing in the Basque
municipalities and in the respiratory areas, due to various factors. The students' linguistic profile also changes. There was concern, how to influence the educational community and the people to continue working in Basque, but also by encouraging the participation of other communities. The project was launched to respond to the reality of Zaldibia, but it is not just the reality of Zaldibia. Similar nodes have also been observed in other locations. I don't know if I would say we were late, but the challenge came from before. Are parents the protagonists of the project? We say no, that our first goal is the

children of parents of foreign origin, and that the main objective is that they be Basque and full speakers. But for this, it is essential that parents also have a good attitude towards Euskera, participate in the educational community, etc.

But you work with your parents. We
are talking mainly to parents because we have seen the need to work. Some parents have been outside the educational community, had problems understanding and communication their parents… Bringing together is essential to have a positive impact on children.

It's about building bridges with parents who don't understand Basque, putting resources and testing. Aren't these parents expected to learn Basque? We are liberating some knots, putting at hand the means to guarantee understanding in different communication situations, building bridges, participating citizens who until now did not participate in the educational community and in the people… It can be said that they are creating relationships and complicities. But what happens? When relationships occur in informal situations, when simultaneous translation or use of Telegram channels is not possible, the main language being Spanish. Because we believe that we are consolidating
a base, that people are coming close to the Basque country so far and that it is showing a good attitude, but for us it is essential that all citizens, on one level or another, try to learn Euskera, because otherwise we will not manage to continue living in Basque. It is the biggest challenge facing us in this project. This will require all investments, resources and methodologies. It's not easy, but there's no more. The bridge must be two-way.

What are those from outside becoming aware of? In many villages we have seen that we understood that the citizens who have come to live here from the outside know that this is
a Basque people, that they know how important Basque is to us, that they know it… and perhaps not, or not enough. With most people coming from outside, this exercise has not been done: to calmly explain the oppression that the Basque has experienced and lives, and that is why we give it priority to continue working in Basque. Now they understand better why we want to live and maintain the Basque. What about native Basques? We are attaching great importance to other familiar languages. In this project an exercise of empathy is carried out, that is, we
are clear that our people are an Basque municipality, but now we are seeing that it is important to respect the family languages of others so that they too have
a positive and friendly attitude towards the Basque.

What do non-Basque natives say? In some villages, as far as linguistic management is concerned, the main nodes do not come from families of foreign origin, but from non-vasco-speaking natives. The approach is different, it must be approached from another way than from multiculturalism. We are making an effort to attract them to the Basque country. What resistance have you encountered? We cannot idealise this work. As
something new we are learning and in this learning process there are difficulties and resistance. The project addresses very sensitive issues for citizenship, both indigenous and external, such as language, identity, culture, integration… These are very sensitive issues that each one has experienced from their pains, frustrations and experiences. When we start doing an exercise that has not been done so far, that is, listening, uncomfortable situations arise, but as the process progresses we see that uncomfortable situations
are neutralized and that the exercise of empathy is very powerful. On the other hand, this project does not stop at mere reflection, it establishes a basis, and from the beginning it proposes practical changes that generate resistance. It has become quite significant to us, for example, what has happened in the educational community: when we explained the project in the cloisters the majority agreed with the philosophical base, but when we proposed, for example, to change the format of the classroom meetings that the tutors do with the parents, we have had a lot of resistance from the teachers. At first, we have collected doubts and reticence in the cloisters, and then we have received very

positive assessments at the classroom meetings.

What about parents? Some have considered some things as a setback, but then I think they have realised that going back a few steps is essential to moving forward others. These are not easy issues and there have been concerns in different areas. For example, do you sometimes have to use Spanish? Or when using Euskera batua instead of the local dialect is recommended in

Telegram groups. [Regarding the use of Spanish] When the realization of group dynamics is proposed in class meetings, in some small groups it may
be necessary to do it in Spanish, and in these situations resistance has been generated by some indigenous Euskaldunes.

And from the attendees? There will be resistance, we walk through
so many peoples! Above all, I would say that they have told us that this is late, in line with the expression you said earlier “it was time.” Some parents have pointed out that so far they have felt marginalized in the educational community because their participation has been limited by language. Now they say that they understand it through resources and that they can be part of their children's learning process. This is very important.

It is a center project in most municipalities. Is the objective to extend it to the whole municipality? At
Markina-Xemein and Azpeitia we are conducting a pilot project. The first will be the one that ends now. They are villages of a certain entity in which all educational centers have participated, as well as various agents of the municipality. From the very beginning there are local projects. However, what we have seen in other peoples is that, despite being a school project, it has spread naturally to the people. For example, in some localities simultaneous translations are offered in the meetings organized by the city council or the communication channels that the city council has for citizens have been transferred from Whatsapp to Telegram. The City Hall sends the message only in Basque and citizens can translate it into several languages via Telegram. In short, the task force implementing the project also has the city council. It is very important for us that this should have a reflection and consequences on the people, otherwise there would be many changes in school and the people would continue to function as before.

You have systematized the actions to achieve the goals set. However, they say that it is not a question of doing what they are but of changing their eyes. In some country we were asked criteria to use Telegram, how to translate simultaneous translations… and without doing all the previous work used simultaneous translation and did not work properly. Why? Because first reflection and listening are essential. If we understand where we are, what are the needs we have, and where we want to go, then the tools and best practices we put forward will
be useful. Change of attitude is fundamental, otherwise this will not work.


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