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SIAE Awards 2004
Manor Parks of the Šaleška Valley study circle, University of the Third Age from Velenje

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2009

Awards to groups for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Sv. Jurij ob Ščavnici Society of Rural Women and Girls

69 members; President of the Society: Ema Lančič
Proposed by: Fran Miklošič Grammar School, Ljutomer


‘Our guiding principle is: Just learn to be a countrywoman!' (Stanka Korbar, member of the Society; in the photo, the President of the Society: Ema Lančič)

The Municipality of Sv. Jurij ob Ščavnici brings together 28 villages and around 3,000 residents. This part of Prlekija has given the country a number of prominent men that have made an important mark on the political and cultural history of the Slovenes, from Dr Anton Korošec and Edvard Kocbek to Dr Vekoslav Grmič and many others. The people of the area are justifiably proud of their roots, and therefore determined to preserve and pass on to the younger generations many other almost forgotten forms of folk knowledge. The Sv. Jurij ob Ščavnici Society of Rural Women and Girls is most active in preserving traditional knowledge and skills. The Society has an active membership of 55 women of various ages from the surrounding villages.

The members devote their time to teaching and to reviving old, traditional knowledge and farm-related tasks. They exchange knowledge and test it in practice at regular weekly meetings, as well as thematic workshops. These take place chiefly during the winter, when there is less work on the farms. They also organise workshops at Fran Miklošič Grammar School in Ljutomer, where last year the students learned how to grow corn and make objects from bast. The women have also compiled recipes that use cornflour and cornmeal. They have collected the recipes in an elegant booklet which they will publish on the Society's website. This demonstrates that the women of Sv. Jurij ob Ščavnici are also appropriating modern knowledge, such as work with computers and the laying-out of web pages. These women stop at nothing. When they realise that they need new knowledge for a new step in their development, they acquire that knowledge and pass it on to others.

Some members have so perfected their skills that they have acquired the ‘product of domestic and handicrafts' certificate. This is not only important proof of the quality of their products (painted Easter eggs, bouquets of dried flowers, etc.), but also a source of additional income for the skilled designers and a contribution to the promotion of the municipality. As Mayor Anton Slana says: ‘The Municipality uses their prestige products as business gifts,' adding: ‘What's more, the members of the society transfer their knowledge to the pupils of the local primary school. These young generations receive these old skills with exceptional interest and, of course, it is important that they are preserved.' At the spring Easter fair, they exhibit all the products they have worked on over the winter, delighting the wider community as well.

Ema Lančič, President of the Society, adds that the women meet every Monday in the winter months. ‘They have so much talent! Some of them are able to make such beautiful things deserving of the highest praise,' she says with unconcealed delight.

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