“Light your Rights” Seminar in Mollina, by Natalia Militello

“We have the light. You have the rights!”

“Light your rights: Reveal the social value of Youth Work” is a seminar organized by Youth Express Network (Y-E-N) and Roots and Routes (R&R) during the 16th edition of the University on Youth and Development. It took place between the 20th and the 27th of September in Mollina (Spain), where 22 young youth/social workers and young artists (coming from 9 different countries) gathered together to discuss about Social Inclusion, Social rights, the social value of youth work, and eventually, to promote all these topics through artistic tools. Being part of the UYD also meant that the participants had the opportunity to meet and discuss with other 150 participants coming from all over the world and who were participating in other trainings taking place at the same place.

The programme of “Light your rights” dedicated the first three days in exploring Social Inclusion, Social Rights and youth work, and then provide the participants with artistic tools.

First of all, through a simulation exercise, these young people tried 1) to define what social inclusion means to them and, 2) which are the elements necessary to reach social inclusion. It has to be said that during this activity the importance of social and youth work was already highlighted spontaneously by participants. Therefore the next step for everybody was to think about the most important moments on their roads to youth work. While sharing their stories (all of them emotional and powerful), the group suddenly realized that youth work is important for social inclusion not because a book says so, but because through youth work they were able to find the place where they belong to.

The day after, it was time also to explore Social Rights, because we have understood that being given only money and a roof above our heads is not enough to feel part of a community. Through the game “Enter Dignityland!”, participants understood better how social rights and policies work. Despite the fact of being playing in a “fictional country”, all of them immediately related the social rights and their policies to their own countries, sharing and comparing the different realities. Another important finding was also that youth workers and youth NGOs need to cooperate with other actors (teachers, lawyers..) in order to promote and fight for Social Rights. During the fourth day, it was time for creativity! Artistic workshops were organized and the participants explored different ways to express: drawing, theatre, music… To put in practice what they had learnt, each one was asked to think about an episode of social exclusion they have experienced and to represent, in a one-minute performance, the feeling engendered by being excluded. And they did it! They showed how one minute can be meaningful, rich of emotion but especially, how such short time can be enough to transmit a powerful message.

The fifth day was another opportunity to become even more creative, but this time as a group. Task of the day: to create ways and tools to promote Social Rights and social inclusion in artistic ways. Participants were able to show the results in the evening, in front of all other participants of the University on Youth and Development and the local community. Excellent slam poetry and dance, but above all, the message was clear to all and gave everybody the opportunity to think about social inclusion and Social Rights. Motto of the performance: “We have the light. You have the rights”.

Well, all good things come to an end and the last day arrived (for someone even too fast): time for “see you soon again” and to catch the flight back home. But even though the name on the ticket was the same as on the way to Spain, something inside was not the same any longer. The participants for sure left enriched with a new experience, new contacts, new friends or maybe more tired. But they also left with a new awareness: how meaningful social/youth work has been in their lives and what a powerful tool it is to promote social inclusion and social rights. Because as one of them said: “Knowing the social rights and their policies by heart may be up to lawyers. But caring about Social rights and helping people fight for it, is up to us!”

Written by Natalia Militello, team member of the seminar.

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Inclusion LAB II: Training for Trainers (T4T)!

Beginning of July 2015: 28 young people and youth workers coming from 19 different countries gathered in the South-Est of Romania, in a village called Milcoveni. Why for?  To reflect on the importance of Human Dignity, to share experience on youth work and to develop competencies on the organisation of activities related to social inclusion of young people and access to social rights in their communities.

7 working days above 40°C in a community of 300 inhabitants – welcome to the T4T! The activity was dedicated to explore the concept of dignity and its application in everyday life. Participants had the opportunity to express their feeling of “indignation” related to situations of unfaireness, to reflect on the danger of “putting people inside boxes” (stereotyping/prejudice/discrimination), to learned skills on group facilitation and put in practice what they’ve learnt: each one run a 45-minute workshop on the topic of social inclusion of young people.

As a result, according to the evaluation, participants improved their knowledge on Social Rights, developed skills on group dynamics, improved their self-esteem, got inspired by the life story of other participants and the way of living of Milcoveni.

It was an intense week of learning processes. Bravo to all participants who crossed the finishing line of this challenging week!

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“Mind the Gap!” Seminar, by Mirela Lupu

“Mind the Gap seminar brought together between 19th and 25th of April 2015 26 young people coming from 13 countries. The seminar was the first activity of Y-E-N’s work plan for 2015 and it took place in Brcko, Bosnia & Herzegovina with help from our member organization – PRONI Center for Youth Development.

Mind the Gap was designed in order to prepare and relaunch “Inclusion Express” campaign and build the foundation for the rest of our work in 2015.

During the week spent in Brcko participants had the chance to share about access to social rights of young people, social inclusion and social exclusion. A well as to experience policies on social rights, to discuss mechanisms of defending the access to rights, to visit NGO’s in Brcko that work on social inclusion and to use their skills in creating campaign tools for Inclusion Express.

Participants also had the chance to meet and discuss about the campaign and the situation of access to social rights of young people with local politicians and decision-makers during Mind the Gap.

The results of the seminar include: a recorded song for the campaign, an online newspaper, an activity plan for the rest of the year, a logo of Inclusion Express, a motto “Social inclusion is not an illusion”, a flashmob in Brcko and a “pijama” challenge for social rights.”

Written by Mierla Lupu, Reporter of Mind the Gap! Seminar

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Thank you Audrey Coeckelberghs for this trailer!

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Crossborder projects (FR/DE/CH)

In 2014, Y-E-N organised a big crossborder project with 5 seminars and 3 field visits for youth workers of the Upper Rhine region. These activities took place between February and December 2014 in France, Germany and Switzerland.

  • 5 seminars
  • 3 field visits
  • 150 participants from 3 different countries
  • 73 organisations

The goal of this project is to emphasize the cooperation and exchange of good practices between French, German and Swiss youth workers and their organisations based in the Upper Rhine region.

The 5 seminars had the theme “Diversity and youth work”, “Youth policies”, “Partnerships”, “Intercultural skills” and “Evaluation”.

On top of these seminars, 3 field visits were organised:

  • “Stadtjugendring” (Freiburg, Germany) – with the presentation of youth policies in Germany
  • “Jugendzentrum” (Kehl, Germany) – presentation of the social and cultural centre and its collaboration with local youth organisations
  • “Jugendhaus Galaxy” and “Robinson Park” (Binningen, Switzerland) – presentation of the social and cultural centre and its current challenges, visit of the park and discussion on education and youth autnomy

This crossborder project was financed by the Conférence du Rhin Supérieur and the Euro District.

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“Final DestY-E-Nation” Seminar in Strasbourg

The seminar “Final DestY-E-Nation” was the third and last activity of the long-term project “ITINERAR-Y-E-N: On the Roads of Social Inclusion of Young People”, which started in May 2014. The seminar Final DestY-E-Nation gathered 28 participants coming from 13 different countries: Armenia, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey.

The long-term project “ITINERAR-Y-E-N: On the Roads of Social Inclusion of Young People” is a so-called “Work Plan”, financed by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. The seminar Final destY-E-Nation was co-financed by the Erasmus +programme of the European Commission.

The aim of Final DestY-E-Nation was to get a final result out of the previous 2 activities of the Work Plan and to promote an Inclusive Society.

The objectives were:

  • To analyse the data collected in the precedent seminars;
  • To share, learn and collect good practices on social inclusion of young people based on experience and expertise of the young people and youth workers;
  • To raise awareness on the impact of youth work as a tool to actively promote social inclusion;
  • To Equip participants with knowledge, tool and info on Social Rights;
  • To launch the campaign “Inclusion Express” as a possible follow up.

During 4 working days participants shared about their local activities on social inclusion of young people, got input on social rights and Human rights and participated in a public conference with local and European authorities, a member of the European Parliament and representatives of the Council of Europe. Moreover, participants had the opportunity to visited 3 organisations local organization who are working to foster social inclusion of young people in Strasbourg.

During this activity, Y-E-N launched the campaign “Inclusion Express” that will be the main mission of Youth Express Network for 2015 willing to empower young people to become social inclusion activists in the society.

Read the report here

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“Zoom In” Seminar, Poland

The seminar “Zoom In” was the second activity of our Work Plan “ItinerarY-E-N: On the Roads of Social Inclusion of Young People”. It gathered 22 participants from 15 different countries.

The goal of this seminar was to continue collecting definitions by young people on social inclusion/exclusion.

The objectives were: to develop a common definition of social inclusion; to share about good practices and experience; to draw attention on the impact of youth work as a tool of promotion for social inclusion.

During these 4 days, young people, social/youth workers shared their experience, worked on the feeling of exclusion through a simulation game, learned a new creative technique “Living Library”. Finally, the participants wrote letters addressed to social inclusion, very inspired “Dear Social Inclusion…”

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“OrY-E-Nt Yourself” Seminar

The seminar “OrY-E-Nt yourself” was the first activity of the Work Plan “ItinerarY-E-N: On the Roads of Social Inclusion of Young People”. It gathered 24 participants from 10 different countries (Armenia, Belarus, Cyprus, Georgia, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Turkey)

The goal of this seminar was to launch the Work Plan and to start collecting definitions of yong people on social inclusion/exclusion.

The objectives were: to develop a common definition of social inclusion; to share about good practices and experiences; draw attention on the impact of youth work as a tool to promote social inclusion.

During 4 days, young people and social/youth workers shared their experience, discussed the young people’s needs, learned the “Play Back Theater” technique and visited 3 local organisations: FYCA (member organisation), PYUNIC (sports and disabilities) and an organisation that helps Syrian refugees.

Participants met a young political representative and formulated their recommendations.

This activity took place in May 2014 and was financed par the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

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What happened in 2013!

Group picture of Young people standing in front of the European Youth Center of Strasbourg

In 2013, Youth Express Network organised 4 international activities: more than 100 young people gathered from all over Europe to exchange ideas, learn about Social Inclusion methods, and express their voices.

Grundtvig Workshop
« Out of the Box : Create and re-invent your life »
Strasbourg (France)

For 7 days, 22 young people from 11 different countries had the opportunity to take a step back and analyse their life and identity from a new perspective through experiential learning. A week of challenges, group work and individual moments between ropes, garbage and recycled materials. The goal of this activity was to draw parallels between materials that are reinvented for another use and people who are looking for different opportunities in their lives. Result of this learning process: a better understanding of themselves and an improvement of self-esteem.

Study Session
« Coaching for Inclusion: closing the gap between rural and urban youth »
Strasbourg (France)

This activity was held at the European Youth Center of Strasbourg. It brought together 40 young people from urban and rural areas of 20 different countries for a duration of 7 days. The aim was to explore the concept of coaching in youth work, as well as the mechanisms of social inclusion and exclusion, the challenges faced by young people in urban and rural areas in general and more particularly in relation to social youth inclusion. “Coaching for Inclusion” was organised by Y-E-N in cooperation with Rural Youth Europe (RYE) and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe from 26 May to 2 June.

Outdoor pictures of groups of Young People

Training Course
« Inclusion LAB: Training for Trainers towards a Youth Inclusive Europe »

Ostia, Italie

The training course took place from 21st-27th June 2013 and gathered 40 youth workers coming from different European countries (Council of Europe member states). During 7 working days, participants had the opportunity to develop their competencies of trainers on social inclusion of young people and strengthen their capacity to prepare and carry out European and local training activities about inclusion. The TC was held in OSTIA, a disadvantaged neighborhood close to Rome in Italy, where Y-E-N member and host organisation, Affabulazione, works with young people. Their work was shown as an example of good practice in the field. This project was financially supported by the Youth in Action programme of the European Commission and the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

Seminar
« Where do you(th) belong? »
Mollina, Espagne

This event organised jointly by Y-E-N and TernYpe – International Roma Youth Network gathered 20 participants from 13 different countries between 23rd and 28th of September 2013 in Mollina (Spain) for the 14th edition of the University on Youth and Development. The purpose of this seminar was to discuss and discuss citizenship but from the perspective of belonging to a community. Do young people with fewer opportunities perceive Europe as a community to which they belong? This seminar was aimed at social and youth workers working at local or European level with young people with fewer opportunities. “Where do you(th) belong” was funded by the Youth in Action program of the European Commission.