“Localise it” Study Visit in Dordrecht

P1080166On this last week of March, “ Localise it: Study visit on local youth initiatives”, first activity of this year Y-E-N Work Plan “Angle it right” took place in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. A total of 26 participants coming from 13 different European countries gathered for a study visit on local youth initiatives in the Netherlands. It focused on the access to social rights of young people and their active participation in their communities and in particular with the use of innovative technologies.

During this study visit, youth workers as well as young people with fewer opportunities from very different horizon got the chance to:

  • share about the situations of young people in their own countries
  • meet youth workers from Dordrecht who work on radicalisation
  • meet the Municipality which works on storytelling with people in the streets through a project called « Generation/D »
  • meet the National Youth Council with its project « Extraordinary Me » financing young people’s initiatives to help someone else
  • workshop with a partner organisation Roots & Routes which works on cultural and social diversity through arts
  • workshop with the member organisation The Exchangeables which works on social media with youngsters in order to convey a message : we took videos and pictures in the streets of Dordrecht to spread the message « Dordrecht is youth friendly » (see below)
  • self-reflection on the participants’ lives and input on the storytelling method
  • reflection on an Action Plan to implement in their communities back home

All in all, this week was an interesting opportunity for those 26 participants to discover new cultures, new people, to share their experience (their difficulties but also their wonderful achievements) and to consider their lives and work from a new perspective.

Read the pedagogical report here!

P1080228

Have a look at the video that results from the creative workshop led by our member and host organisation The Exchangeables thanks to the expertise of Pathos Studios & Quine Brown:

Internship at Y-E-N, by Elia Saettler

Hello everyone,

My name is Elia SAETTLER, I’m 14 years old, I’m in 9th Grade and I live in Strasbourg.

I did an observation internship at Youth Express Network from 30th November to 4th December 2015.

I chose to do my internship at Y-E-N because I really like speaking English and this internship could help me to improve my English.

During this internship, I discovered the aim of the organisation and the projects organised throughout Europe.

I helped to write e-mails, to translate texts, to organise future projects (EYE 2016) and to evaluate past projects (Inclusion Train).

I also photocopied many documents (boarding passes, invoices and receipts) and helped to prepare the greeting card for 2016.

I ate at “Club de Jeunes L’Etage”, a Y-E-N member organisation.

I really liked to do my internship at Y-E-N because I’ve learnt many things, I improved my English and I wasn’t bored all the week. I could see many different things.

It was super!

Elia.

FullSizeRender (1)

“Inclusion Train” Mobile Seminar, by Francesca Vinciguerra

“A really inspiring human experience”

“From the 14th to the 20th of November 2015, took part in Strasbourg and Brussels the “Inclusion Train” mobile seminar, fourth and last step of the “Inclusion Express” campaign about Social Inclusion and Social Rights. The first study session and the other two seminars of the same campaign were in Milcoveni (Romania, on July 2014), Brčko (Bosnia et Herzegovina, on April 2015) and Budapest (Hungary, on July 2015). During these days have been involved 25 people from many and different realities and countries inside and outside Europe: Armenia, Azebaijan, Belarus, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and Turkey. The participants were young people (members of a specific association), youth social workers, or individuals, and everyone was already active in the local reality about this kind of topics and inclined to the sensitization and diffusion of these ones.

From the first beginning the main aim was to include everyone of us in an atmosphere of sharing and connection that has kept us together till the end of the project. Among us there were people who had already participated to one of the others three steps, so it has been our task to inform the new members about all the activities and all the primary aims which had been reached in the past. Another interesting and important part of the project was the one dedicated to the visit fields of local organizations, such as Community Center “Elsau”, in Strasbourg, which works on educating and helping disadvantaged people or refugees to find a job. The center is situated in one of the most sensitive neighborhood of the city. In Brussels, we visited the organization “Cultureghem”, where has been developed a great idea about the creation of a total free market for people with fewer opportunities and created some activities for the children who live there or outside that neighborhood.

I think that the most important aim of the project “Inclusion train” was to spread information and develop awareness, interest and knowledge about social inclusion and to reflect on how we can work all together to support it and make it possible. We shared many personal experiences and I have to thank everyone of them for have been an important part for my personal human, cultural and work experience of life. At the end of the seminar we discussed about the creation and planning of new ideas which can be important for spreading information at local level and for helping the diffusion of new local and international projects. All together we can do more than we expect, so don’t be afraid by the violence and corruption of this world, because we’ll be more powerful than it. Our humanity is what makes us different, and we will fight to defend it.”

Written by Francesca Vinciguerra  from the organisation Affabulazione (Ostia, Italy) and participant to the activity.

Discover the three videos telling the experience of the participants during this project (movies from Audrey COECKELBERGHS)

Important news from Affabulazione, Ostia Lido!

Youth meeting in High school: learning on Youth mobility and intercultural learning in Ostia

“Affabulazione and High School Paolo Toscanelli met together to exchange experience on international youth projects and life’s expectation.

Last week Valentina Auliso and I (Gaia Ciccone) did a meeting in a local high school to spread information about European mobility. In this meeting, there were about 30 young people, even with difficult family conditions and informed about of international opportunities.

The school’s name is Paolo Toscanelli, it is located in front of the seaside and when the bell rings, the chaos is the king! However, as soon as you enter the class, everyone is very respectful and full of good energy: the atmosphere is vibrant.

We started with an “ice breaker” to know each other better: the game was to write on a piece of paper one thing they love doing, one thing they hate doing and the first thing they think about “Europe”; (It was a success and the atmosphere became soon more informal and familiar);

Then we continued explaining something more about mobility in Europe for young people and telling them our experiences in this “world”.

Everyone was so excited to discover these possibilities and to travel in this way!

In fact, an opportunity as youth projects are very precious for everyone interested to know more about different culture, discover new habits and learn how co habit all together respectfully. Moreover, it is also very insightful and learning experience.

After the meeting, we were very happy to give back our experience to other young people; we really hope everyone can beneficiate from these great life opportunities.

The feedback was great: they wrote us many emails after the meeting to learn more about and, why not, to take part in future projects!

We are thinking at future meetings and we are working with a group of young people to organize activities at local level!

The meeting is the first of a long series that we planned during the school year: in fact, we will go to visit other High Schools here in Ostia and will bring our experience to all young people, we believe in creating a bridge between local and international cooperation.

Our aim, is to inform on youth mobility, intercultural learning and to gather new young people interested to join our group in Affabulazione, we will also promote local activities such as art workshops, digital communication and we will raise the awareness about social rights at local and international level.

“Work, ideas and enthusiasm”, our motto!!!”

Written by Gaia Ciccone, Affabulazione (Ostia, Italy)

“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.

LYR_Teamwork

LYR_DignitylandLYR_TimelineLYR_Closing performance
LYR_CommunityNight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

“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

IMG_0077

Thank you Audrey Coeckelberghs for this trailer!

Logo Competion ! Inclusion Express, by Mirela Lupu

During “Mind the Gap” seminar, which was designed in order to prepare and relaunch the “Inclusion Express” campaign, we thought of creating a day of workshops where participants had to take the lead and to use their own skills in creating campaign tools that we can use during 2015. After assessing the present situation of “Inclusion Express”, participants proposed a series of workshops which included a visual workshop on creating a logo for the campaign.

At the end of the day there were 14 logos created ready to be voted by the group of participants at “Mind the Gap”. After the vote, the group decided to choose the first 3 ranked logos and to launch an online vote on the final version of the logo.

The logo competition took place during 2 weeks in may on facebook and asked all people interested to vote using 1 “like” on the logo that they liked the most for the campaign. Martin Harutyunyan, participant in “Mind the Gap” from Armenia, designed the winning logo, which now has become the logo of “Inclusion Express” campaign.

Here’s the photo of the official logo voted for our campaign:

11329980_836714703088563_3111879361200192964_n

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

A special meeting with local authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina

In the beginning of our first Board Meeting of the year, Y-E-N crew was kindly invited to visit the Department of Administrative Affairs of Brcko District Government and meet its representatives.
Mr. Tomislav STJEPANOVIC, Head of the Department, welcome us. Local media were also there. We presented Youth Express Network, the work we do, and we shared values on youth/social work. Mr. Tomislav was very interested in Y-E-N, and promised to visit Y-E-N again during the seminar “Mind the Gap”, that will take place in Brcko, in April 2015.
Our president Katarina VUCKOVIC attended the meeting and was in charge to mediate the reunion. During the meeting Katarina also presented the work done by PRONI, Bosnian member organization of Y-E-N, and very committed grassroot youth organization from Brcko. We hope that, after this meeting, a stronger cooperation between PRONI and local authorities will arise as well as with Y-E-N.

1962745_870731316299647_6631263836015087269_n

During the meeting with local authorities in Brcko, we presented Y-E-N, we spoke about our member organizations and their daily work at local level. Mr. Tomislav STJEPANOVIC was really interested to know about our story, values and future ideas.

All present  guests were interested to know more about the international dimension of the network.

10355899_870731449632967_4380805045320950644_n

How social exclusion looks like in Bosnia today? Which are the main challenges? What local organizations and representatives are doing together to promote inclusive practices?

Exchanging ideas and approaches:  this discussion made this meeting very interesting. Mostly because, in some areas it is hard for international organizations to go there and meet representatives from the government. A big THANK YOU to our President Katarina VUCKOVIC who organized the meeting with all media present to record the discussion. This is also Y-E-N making waves!!!!

The (Mobile) Board Meeting, March 2015

Why to have the Board meeting only in one place if in few hours we can visit three countries? Last Board Meeting happened in Vukovar, Croatia on 28th 29th of March 2015 but not only…

This time the Board landed in Belgrade (Serbia), worked  in Vukovar (Croatia) and visited  PRONI, Y-E-N Member Organization in Brcko (Bosnia Herzegovina). The idea to hold the meeting in this area was also to meet the Croatian organisation  “Youth Peace Group Danube” who are interested in getting to know Y-E-N better and maybe apply for a membership. The experience was surely interesting: Even if we had a very busy agenda, we had the opportunity to visit the neighboring countries, to learn about their culture and history, to meet youth leaders from the region and, most of all, we had the chance to see the social work on spot in the field – Brcko, which will also be our hosting place for the next activity, the seminar “Mind the Gap”. Definitely, the idea of having a mobile board meeting was very useful! As usual, the Agenda was very busy, but we managed to work hard and finish all the work! We even had a working group session inside the mini van while going from Brcko to Vukovar!

Are you curious to know what was discussed in meeting? Follow this snapshot of the working  days…

1508098_810987595607353_2302078011559908262_n

We started the meeting reviewing activity report, so many events in only year!

Last year we had :

– 10 international activities;

– 300 young people involved;

– 3 new member organizations (Azerbaijan, Russian Federation and Georgia);

– New project at local level: introducing non-formal education in universities;

– 30 volunteers involved in Y-E-N activities;

– 73 organisations

– 150 participants in our local cross-border activities (France-Germany-Switzerland);

– finally yet important: the launch of the “Inclusion Express” campaign.

11083890_870731379632974_6729009748808701789_n

After the morning session we left PRONI, our member organization who hosted the meeting in BRCKO, to have an inspiring meeting with local authorities. The meeting was a success! (learn more about it here)

In the afternoon, we got back to work in order to plan future activities and find ways to improve internal procedures (political and administrative decisions were taken during the rest of the day).

1003444_592428290778262_430664231_n

On the second working day we were hosted by the youth organization “Youth Peace Group Danube”, established in Vukovar, Croatia. They kindly offered to us their centre and offices to work.

It was great to share values and methods on social work (we hope for the future, a synergetic cooperation!)

1511026_870993276273451_7754224368398812860_n

We had a great Teamwork: discussion, creativity and decision-making! It was inspiring!

1467309_892170027470752_9011708357955244793_n

We finalized the meeting with an evaluation, to do list and a great dinner!

Who knows where will be the next Board Meeting? What we know for sure is that it will happen where it makes a fruitful connection with our member organization!

Hope to see you all in Milcoveni for the General Assembly of Youth Express Network!