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)

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“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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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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!)

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

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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!

Interview of a member organization: Affabulazione

In 2014, Affabulazione took part in 6 international activities organized by Youth Express Network.  Gaia Ciccone, was representing the organization in most of the Event, as a youth worker at local level. She comes from Ostia, Rome, where our Member Organization is based since 1991.

For our internal newsletter, we decided this year to interview her and know more about the work Affabulazione does on Social Inclusion.                                                                                                                                                  

 Enjoy reading!

                               

Y-E-N: Hello Gaia! You are From Affabulazione and Ostia; tell us a bit about yourself!

Gaia: Hello all the members of Y-E-N.  Ok, some information about myself… I am 20, studying law, at the first year, in the biggest university of Rome… To be honest I live in Ostia, a little quartier of the capital and sometimes I can find many different problems in my reality. Ostia is a periphery and it presents difficulties, especially with young people! We do not have many places to meet each other and to improve ourselves…

Y-E-N: Yes is understandable, in this sense, how do you see Affabulazione?

Gaia: I found a solution: I am a member of Affabulazione, a beautiful place that tries to improve the cultural level in the little Ostia. It is also a theatre that presents many plays. I discovered this place thanks to my mum who knew one of the founders, Filippo, very well and I was stuck by the beautiful activities of Affabulazione, to “help” people, young and not only!

Y-E-N: Sounds inspiring, when you first met Affabulazione? Have you ever travel for attending its international activities?

Gaia: I met Affabulazione for the first time when I was younger, 15 more or less, because I went to see shows there; yes! Thanks to Filippo Lange and this good place, I have started to travel and to attend at these beautiful international activities

Y-E-N: You participated in the seminar in Armenia “Or-YE-N’t yourself” and Final DesT-Y-E-Nation!” in Strasbourg last year, is it right? What is the memory you have most? Tell us one thing that marked your travels!

 Gaia: I can affirm with conviction that this two travels changed my life… If I have to find a special thing… well it is the different and useful information learned by the others, how other people work with the youngsters and , of course, the strong friendship that I have made

 Y-E-N: How do you see yourself today after the exchanges?

 Gaia: I can say that now I am working with other youngsters like me, trying to help them and I am more aware about my reality and more positive and active

 Y-E-N: Sounds interesting, would you like to say something to YEN Members

 Gaia: I want to thank all the yen members to give me the possibility to be a participant in the projects

 Y-E-N: Thank you very much Gaia for this brief of yourself and of Affabulazione, we are curious to follow you and your inspiring work! Hope to see you soon in Y-E-N!

SDS

 Want to know more about Affabulazione? Check this out!

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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