Mela Children’s Program
The Edinburgh Mela kicks off when Edinburgh’s August festivals are wrapping up, and provide a wonderful opportunity for families to spend a weekend in the Leith Links learning and playing. This year’s program will include art, crafts and sports activities for children of all ages, encouraging a sense of community that emphasizes Edinburgh’s multiculturalism.
This year is the United Nations International Year of the Forest, and forest birds have inspired many of the Mela’s artistic and educational activities. The Forestry Commission Scotland and the Awards for All program have funded an installation work created by parents and pupils from Dalry Primary School’s Black Minority Ethnic Parent Support Group, called ‘Many Birds – One Forest’. They have built many hand-painted wooden sculptures of birds, which will be paraded around the Mela site by pupils before being installed in Dalry Primary School’s Multicultural Garden of Enlightenment. Children will also have the opportunity to work with Indian artists making models of colourful birds found in the tropical Shola forests in high altitudes of South India.
It is also the International Year of the Bat this year, and families from Edinburgh’s Latin American community have been working with Edinburgh-based Cuban paper mache artist Lyver Chavez on large than life model bats. These will be displayed on site in a workshop where children can learn all about these fascinating mammals.
Edinburgh Leisure is supporting a children’s sports program for the Mela, which will be broken up into three zones. The Youth Zone will have mini gym facilities; the Sports Zone will run gymnastic activities and workshops in rugby and football coaching; and the Health Zone will provide a place for children and families to take health and fitness tests, as well as be taught about healthy lifestyles. A stand-alone 50m climbing frame will also be on site for children to enjoy.
The program of children’s activities will be suitable for children of all ages, sharing cultural knowledge in vibrant, fun ways. Workshops will cover art and craft from India, Nepal, Africa and Latin America; Edinburgh’s Chinese Community School will be teaching nature-inspired Chinese knotting art. Dance, movement and singing workshops will introduce children to dance moves and musical genres from all over the world. And many of the Mela’s performances are sure to inspire and delight people of all ages.
The Edinburgh Mela will be taking over Leith Links on the 3rd and 4th of September, and offering ethnic cuisine, a food and arts and crafts market, fashion show, and many dynamic performances that will celebrate Edinburgh’s diversity.