About the Čhavorikaňi luma (Children’s World) ensemble
Ever since I was a little girl I was raised to aid children, the elderly, and young people. How many beggars have eaten in our home, how many have slept in our home, mainly in winter! My parents and I brought them together from the settlement, the children and the young people. My father was educated and what’s more, a musician, Mom sang and played violin, so in our home the children learned to sign, to recite, to play a musical instrument, and we sewed costumes out of crepe paper… Then, when my own children had grown up a bit, we visited my brother Míša in Neratovice. Each time we went to the park there and children were running around who had nothing to do there I felt sorry for them. I began to meet with them.
It was November, rather cool weather, so we went to a pub for hot tea. However, it was soon clear we couldn’t go there – we disliked the cigarette smoke, the customers who were drunk and the noise. Ládík Demeter called me “Grandma” – all those children called me “Grandma”. He said, “There’s a House of Youth near U Šraněk, what if we were to try there?” It worked out. Director Dvořáková advised me on how to establish an association and so in 1997 we founded the association Čhavorikaňi luma – in translation, “Children’s World”. I commuted there three times a week, then Fečo and I even moved to Neratovice. I involved my entire family in it. My husband composed all kind of music for us, my daughter Erika taught singing, Liduna taught choreography, dance and music, my grandson Pepa arranged the music and others assisted us too. I have always been lucky to have such a family.
When the children in Neratovice had grown up a bit, we moved to Náchod to be near one of our daughters. We bought a small house there and again we began working with children there. I sewed costumes, we made puppets, we gave many concerts, and we even performed at the Acropolis venue in Prague.
We finally moved to Krupka. I found out that there are 670 Romani children in the schools here. That was something for us. After two years here, my husband passed away. We had been rehearsing a gigantic graduation concert, all of my children come from Prague, but 15 minutes before the dress rehearsal – he had a stroke. I am continuing in his footsteps, though. I drive the children to my apartment, and in one room – I call it my gallery – I have made a kind of rehearsal room. We rehearse anything and everything there.
When we performed Fečo’s musical, “The Thief and His World “ (Zloděj a jeho svět) in the theater on Dlouhá Street, Mrs. Milena Dvorská came to confer with me. She hesitated a bit and then asked: “Mrs. Fečová, how many children do you have?” I said: “Just two daughters”. – “Do you have so many grandchildren? They’re all calling you Grandma.” So I explained to her that for all of children in our circle, I am “Grandma”.