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  Martin A. Dege

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Educational project "I’d like to be like them..."

Information from NGO "Culture Artfact"


27 March 2007, Vilnius

"Separating the chaff from the grain in Lithuanian culture, art and sports"

Year after year, TV channels keep showing the faces of the same Lithuanian pop show personalities. The massive encroachment of pop culture has pushed individuality and spirituality out of our value systems. NGO Culture Artfact gets its inspiration from everyday life, keeps looking for new forms of self-expression. Fortunately, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and the Municipality of Vilnius ha noticed our vision of social-education projects. We invite you to meet new talented people and professionals in their respective fields that promote the name of Lithuania all over the world. We organise exhibitions for people with hearing disabilities, and classical chamber music concerts for those, who have lost the gift of sight. Professional performers supported by NGO Culture Artfact have agreed to take part. They will also grace the program of the European Arts and Parks Festival with their presence. All people fascinate us with their different lives and distinctive lifestyles. Don’t be surprised if meeting with these people will inspire you to start new and noble projects, gain inner power or encourage integration of young people into society.

’I’d like to be like them...’ is comprised of conversations about values, endurance, will, the development of spiritual and physical strength, and the relation of sports and music in everyday life. Join our forces!

On March 23rd, 2007 (Friday), in the gym of Panevėžys Principal School for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, young people, and those interested in an active lifestyle were introduced to an unconventional and breath-taking event, social-educational project ‘I’d like to be like them...’. Everyone had a meaningful encounter with world-acclaimed Oriental martial Arts masters, proponents of kyokushin karate: Mr. Donatas Imbras, the president of a karate club (‘Budora’ (Vilnius), which, translated from Japanese, means ‘the path of a warrior’), multiple European title holder; Mr. Arūnas Atraškevičius, karate instructor (‘Tobulėjimo kelias’, Panevėžys); and Ms. Dovile Urbaityte, a member of the club (student of the 11th form at the 5th Secondary School in Panevėžys). Sign language interpreters Marytė Kalvelienė and Raimonda Vaičeliūnienė built a bridge between silence and the world of sounds, as they joined the participants in hosting the event observed by over eighty inquisitive viewers. It is no wonder that intriguing presentation caught the attention of the professional media in Panevėžys, including PANTV and KTV plus, the daily "Panevėžio balsas", websites "Aina", "Sveikatos sodas", "Verslo renginiai ir pramogos", "Respublika" and others.

Organisers of the meeting arranged visual presentations: moments from various contests and a film about aphysically handicapped karate master, as well as a documentary about the origins and history of kyokushin karate, the way of life followed by proponents of this Oriental martial art, and their uniqueness. There was also an exposition of photos by Donatas Imbras from the World Kyokushin karate Championship 2005 in Osaka (Japan). Accompanied by the sounds of Japanese drums, the young audience in Panevėžys saw a breathtaking program performed by the honourable guests. The atmosphere at the event was enlivened by witty comments from kyokushin karate instructor Arūnas Atraškevičius, who made everybody laugh and created jolly atmosphere. ‘You can always be quick enough to insult a karateka, yet not quick enough to apologize’, joked A.Atraškevičius . Donatas Imbras emphasized that he does not get involved into street fights without a good reason. This man usually handles unfavourable situations using his mind, and not his fists.

Lithuanian masters of Kyokushin karate were pleased to answer questions from the audience, give authographs, and pose for photos. They donated some excellent books to the library of the school to continue the thread of courage and truth and promote motivation to follow the way of integration into society. Participants of the project Donatas Imbras and Arūnas Atraškevičius bid everyone to become excellent disciples and champions in a couple of years, or at least good people fighting for truth and goodness.

\'The Those willing to become involved in the sport will be able to choose the right club or a private instructor. All who became interested in the Oriental martial art of Kyokushin Karate, were invited to come to Vilnius, where the  European Kyokushin Karate Championship will be organised in end of April.

For more information please go to

Organisers of the event sincerely thanked everyone involved for the possibility of making this opportunity available for youth with hearing disability. On behalf of everyone we express our sincere gratitude to the following organisations: 
 "Yanos International" (Netherlands), "Consultor Vilnensis" UAB, Translator & Interpreter Company "Ermara", "Norlife" UAB (for Norwegian food additives Viking Omega-3 granted to the best sportsmen of the school), a store of Japanese articles ‘Katanaja’, sports clubs ‘Active Gym’, kyokushin karate schools ‘Budora’ (Vilnius) and ‘Tobulėjimo kelias’ (Panevėžys), and the sponsor of the project – Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Creative cooperation between NGO Culture Artfact and the Panevėžys Panevėžys Principal School for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (Parko 19, Panevėžys) headed by Mrs. Danutė Kriščiūnienė, who is also the President of ‘Active Women Club’, began in 2005. Pupils of the school have taken active part in ambitious international art projects. In 2005, they joined a Lithuanian cultural tourism and international cultural exchange project The Seasons: Spring-Summer 2005’ initiated by the Royal Breda Male Choir that travels the world each year and visited Lithuanian on the first anniversary of Lithuania’s membership in the EU. 160 Dutchmen were charmed by the exhibition ‘European Birthday’ of embroidered pictures and carvings made by pupils of the school. At the end of January, pupils of the school also took part in the sensitive, warm and expressive closing of the international project Moc‘Art 2006 in sign language. The project was developed to commemorate the 250-year anniversary of composer W.A. Mozart.

In the near future, NGO Culture Artfact expects to organise meetings with: Mr. Vladas Vitkauskas, Lithuanian alpinist who has climbed Mt. Everest and other mountains of the world; Mr. Jurgis Kairys, an extremely busy world acrobatics pilot,seldom found in Lithuania; Mr. Šarūnas Marčiulionis, a legendary basketball-player; Mrs. Vida Venciene, a champion of the winter Olympic Games and many other renowned Lithuanian personalities. Also, we will soon invite Vilnius young people with eyesight disability to musical performances and exhibitions of graphic art, which they can touch with their hands.

For those, who didn’t miss the opportunity to become acquainted with a different lifestyle and philosophy, we hope the project ‘I’d like to be like them…’ has given wings to fly towards goodness, truth and inner strength. You can find paradise on the earth if you look for it; young people and we can contribute to its flourishing development . Let us do our best, and let good memories warm us when we get older and have children of our own.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Le Petit Prince)

For more information please contact:
Odeta Abromavičiūtė/ Director of NGO "Culture Artfact"
Mob. tel. +370 659 69 211; tel. +370 5 234 80 95
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