All inclusive 2, Poland – Youth Exchange

From the 20th to the 30th of August 2018 in Poronin (Poland) was held “All Inclusive 2”, the second youth exchange of our Work Plan “ArtSI: The Art of Social Inclusion“. This activity was the second follow up activity of our Training of Trainers “The Art of Togetherness”, which took place in May 2018, in Strasbourg.

“All Inclusive 2” gathered 41 young people and young migrants/refugees coming from 6 different countries (France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain) and 8 organisations (most of them being member organisations of Y-E-N). The aim of the youth exchange was to empower young people from Western and Central European countries through artistic expression on social inclusion of young migrants and refugees.

During this 9-day activity, the participants got to deepen the topics of social inclusion, intercultural learning, migration/refugees and discover different ways to express through art, with artistic workshops led by the facilitators and the participants themselves.

The main result of this youth exchange was a public performance that the participants had to create. They defined a common message that was the red thread of the performance: “Borders are only in our thoughts” and “Union brings love and joy”. The finale result combined theatre, dance and music, that they presented on the main square in Krakow: they also invited the audience to react to their message and performance on banners that they prepared.

Partner organisations: Affabulazione, Fundacja Instytut Innowacji, Parcours le Monde – Grand Est, Plus East, Rota Jovem, The Exchangeables, Youropia.

Project supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Don’t be afraid to show your true Colours – Youth Exchange

Youth Express Network took part in the Youth Exchange “Don’t be afraid to show your true Colours” that took place in Milcoveni, Romania, from the 31st of August to the 7th of September 2018. 

This colourful youth exchange was developed and coordinated by the Romanian organisation Volunteering for All Association. It was financially supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. Y-E-N FACT: it was during our Partnership Building Activity “Working Together in Europe“, in 2017, that was born the first draft and idea of the Colours Project 😉

During 8 days, 40 young people coming from 7 different countries gathered to work together towards promoting LGBTIQ+ Rights and fighting against discriminations. Through activities based on non-formal education, they were able to learn more about the Erasmus+ programme, LGBT Rights in their countries and through Europe and the No Hate Speech Movement.

This exchange was also an opportunity for the participants to learn more about themselves and their role inside the LGBT community, to hear and share personal stories and reflect together on ways to make a change at local level. In groups, they got to exchange ideas and tools to fight against discriminations and develop ideas of projects or events to implement in their cities.

As a result of this work, the group came up with a beautiful public event to raise awareness on LGBT Rights in the city center of Resita, Romania. This event took place on the 5th of September. The young people got to make their voices heard through various artistic and informative means such as: a dance performance, impactful posters, a live and online survey and an info point.

Partner organisations: United Societies of Balkan (Greece), Asociacion Mundus (Spain), CoEfficient (Hungary), Youth Express Network (France), Balkan LGBTQIA (Belgium), RROMA (Macedonia), Semper Avanti (Poland)

Project supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Action Day #8: Boosting Social Inclusion

To celebrate our 25th year acting and networking towards Social Inclusion of Young People, we wanted to put a spotlight on some of the ENTER Recommendation, a tool we often use to teach Young People about the Access of Social Rights.

ENTER recommendation #8:
Breaking down segregation and the promotion of social inclusion.

Young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods often experience isolation and segregation. As explained in the ENTER Recommendation, measures can be implemented to ensure the access of social inclusion to young people with fewer opportunities, for example: reaching out directly to some of the most isolated and disenfranchised young people, offering them opportunities and addressing their specific needsIn this article, we will focus on examples of projects Youth Express Network and its member organisations have recently developed to facilitate the social inclusion of refugees and Roma people.

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Resita, Romania – Member Organisation

Our member organisation Nevo Parudimos association focuses its work on the Social Inclusion of the Roma communities, mainly young people. From August 2017 to May 2018, Nevo Parudimos implemented the project “Boosting Roma Youth Employment – B.R.Y.E.“, a mobility project for Roma young people and youth workers, supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

The project tackled the issue of youth employment by both improving the experience and knowledge of youth/social workers and young people in the field of youth employment and career guidance. It was composed of 3 activities:

  1. Mobility of Youth Workers: Training for Professional Career Councelling implemented in 23-30.09.2017 in Valaská-Piesok, Slovakia
  2. Youth Exchange: Choice Is Yours! implemented in 23-30.10.2017 in Milcoveni in Romania
  3. Youth Exchange: Start & Succeed! implemented in 13-21.04.2018 in Milcoveni Romania

“Boosting Roma Youth Employment” gathered 6 youth organisations coming from 6 European Countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. The project involved 30 participants for the training, and 60 young people + 12 group leaders for each of the youth exchanges. As a result, this initiative efficiently increased capacity of all 150 participants to the labour market.

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Our youth exchange “All Inclusive2” started this week and is currently taking place in Poronin, Poland. Financially supported by the European Youth Foundation and the Erasmus+ programme, it is the third activity of our work plan for this year: “Art.S.I: The Art of Social Inclusion“. It is hosted by our partner organisation Fundacja Instytut Innowacji

This Youth Exchange is gathering 42 people from 6 different countries and 8 organisations. Together, they will learn how to express themselves through art on the topic of social inclusion of migrants and refugees!

Amongst the various workshops and sessions that will be facilitated through the several days of activity, the young participants will get the opportunity of creating and performing a street event in order to raise awareness on Social Inclusion of migrants and refugees. They will address their message of inclusion directly to the inhabitants of Krakow, through art and the various tools they will have learned.

All inclusive 1, Georgia – An ArtS.I. Youth Meeting

From the 20th to the 29th of July 2018 in Rustavi (Georgia) was held “All Inclusive 1”, the first Youth Meeting of our work plan “ArtSI: The Art of Social Inclusion“. This activity was the first follow up activity of our Training of Trainers “The Art of Togetherness”, which took place in May 2018, in Strasbourg. 

“All Inclusive 1” gathered the active youth of 6 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, and Turkey. 7 of our member organisations took part and sent their Young People. More than 23 participants stayed together and had sessions and workshops on topics such as: intercultural learning, stereotypes, no hate speech, conflict and peacebuilding.

During the 8-day activity, participants also practiced how to use Arts to transmit messages to society, to promote peacebuilding and deconstruct stereotypes, among many other practices. During the Youth Meeting, the participants also had the opportunity to reflect on how to adapt these tools and implement them at local level within their work with young people. 

This event was full of events to promote intercultural learning and communication. During one of the sessions participants had a chance to meet Youth Workers that came from another project, on another day participants also had a possibility to go out to meet with locals in Rustavi. And of course there was a time to learn, feel and taste Georgian culture in Tbilisi. It was a great experience because, as it is said: “Better to see once rather than hear hundreds of times”. 

The meeting ended but the participants had passion for future actions, they were ready to take actions on themselves. So in the future, we will stay tuned and observe their own projects at local and regional level. 

Partner organisations: Common Sense Youth Organization, Falcogroup, Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia, Institute for Democratic Changes, League of Youth Voluntary Services, New Faces, and Youth for Understanding.

– By Mirismayil Rzayev

Project supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

Action Day #7: Culture, Leisure and Sport

To celebrate our 25th year acting and networking towards Social Inclusion of Young People, we wanted to put a spotlight on some of the ENTER Recommendation, a tool we often use to teach Young People about the Access of Social Rights.

ENTER recommendation #7:
Culture, Leisure and Sports.

This month, we asked our member organisations and friends to tell us about the various measures they implement at local level to help young people access Culture, Leisure and Sports. Here are their answers!

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Oviedo, Spain – Member Organisation

Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities through sports in nature & youth exchanges.

“The combination of outdoor sports and young people with fewer opportunities is definitely worth to take into consideration for youth organizations working towards social inclusion. Outdoor sports in nature open up a space for new possibilities, where we can explore limits in different levels. Firstly, in terms of self knowledge, every youngster has the chance to understand the boundaries that have an effect on his/her social, physical, psychological condition and how he/she wants to relate to them (what are the boundaries that affect me the most, am I willing to extend/break these limits, do I have any help to do so, etc).

The second level is connected to teamwork, playing sports in nature is a chance to improve group cooperation as it fosters peer-to-peer learning. Both play & nature are two elements that help to overcome individual prejudices towards a better group cohesion. Finally, the last level is re-discover nature that offers a place free of labels & boundaries, a place where young people with fewer opportunities can get out of closed spaces where they usually have to be (physically and psychologically speaking). In this sense, nature in a perfect context for young people to connect with their most authentic self.

If you add to this combination a third ingredient, youth intercultural exchanges, the experience can be even more enriching & transformative in different ways. Gathering together groups of young people coming from different cultural background is an opportunity to grow through intercultural dialogue. Being in a diverse group gives youngsters the chance to think beyond their cultural frame, but also to share their difficulties and challenges with persons with whom they have many things in common, thus developing a strong sense of belonging and inclusion. In this framework of youth exchanges, working through sports in nature also boosts youth empowerment, as they are invited to cross beyond their comfort zone with the support of other youngsters and youth workers.

In Youropía we have been developing these type of projects over the last years, hosting youth exchanges within the frame of Erasmus+ in our region. The main purpose of these intercultural meetings is to foster inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities through outdoor sports. Projects such as Lost in translation, Lost in nature & Lost again have been a very inspiring and high impact experience as regards personal & group development. Thanks to these exchanges we have witnessed how young people became active agents in inclusion after developing a strong awareness of social & group cohesion.
We are actually so motivated with this topic that In two weeks we will host another youth exchange called BEAST (Better energy and social thrive) in which we will gather 24 youngsters from Helsinki, Krakow and Oviedo. Hopefully the combination of sports in nature, young people with fewer opportunities and intercultural youth exchange will be again a learning and life changing experience for all of us!”


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Tbilisi, Georgia – Member Organisation

In July 2018, the Institute for Democratic Changes, our member organisation from Georgia, implemented a Youth Exchange called “The Sound of Culture”. This project supported by the Erasmus Plus programme aimed at deepening co-operation among young people, intercultural dialogue and encouraging the inclusion of young people with disabilities in international projects. The Youth Exchange gathered a total of 34 young people from Georgia and Estonia.

Through activities based on non-formal education, the group got to learn more on various topics such as inclusion, youth cooperation, and intercultural dialogue. But another big part of the project was the sharing of Culture and Traditions. Throughout the 9 days of the Youth Exchange, the young people got to discover the culture and traditions of the country of their fellow participants, as well as the inclusion of young people with disabilities in cultural and international youth projects. They also got to express themselves through art and finished the Youth Exchange with a public presentation of their musical numbers and theatrical performances.

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Porto, Portugal – Friend Organisation

“Okna: /ˈɔ center of east european culture, open space of multiculturality, community experience, window of the east in Portugal, also known as Plus East”

“In times when getting people together is more and more important, Plus East appears by the end of 2016 with the clear aim of promoting East European culture in Portugal, building bridges between the two sides of the continent.

And what better way to promote a contemporary, modern idea of the East than through cinema? Films have always been moments of togetherness, sharing emotions and stories, this is why we organise BEAST – International Film Festival, a big scale event representing 21 countries in Porto during 5 days of pictures, workshops, masterclasses, meeting between directors and the audience, roundtables, music and parties. The festival creates a strong connection between the New East and the community of Porto, involving volunteers, students, businesses and institutions.

On our year long activity OKNA is the home of Plus East, more than an office it is a window to the East, a gallery, a screening venue and the place where our EVS work, helping us on the development of several projects as the festival, but also the cinema cycles, as the Romanian Film Nights and also where their projects become reality – as Isabela’s ArtAmalgam, an illustration exhibition with 3 artists from the 3 Baltic countries, or Mona’s monthly book club and Alexandru’s Night Photography exhibition. Since its inauguration in April 2018, with an exhibition of a Portuguese photographer in Ukraine, OKNA has received over 500 people.

Plus East and its team is dedicated to promote culture and art as a way of creating a more tolerant and open society across Europe where young people feel empowered to create and exchange.”

Plus EAST team

Digitalise it – Training course on digital storytelling

Our Digital adventure “DIGITALISE IT” (KA2 Strategic Partnership – Exchange of Practices) continued in the beginning of July when 11 young people from 6 different countries gathered in Strasbourg. During 10 days, they learned together how to use digital storytelling and ended this powerful journey by telling their own story.

The training course for young people “Digitalise it” was the second activity of the long-term project of the same name. A first training, created for youth workers, had taken place in April. It aimed at getting familiar with tools and methods of digital storytelling in order to implement them in youth projects developed at local level.

This time addressed to Young People, the training course aimed at:

– Creating a safe space for young people with fewer opportunities to reflect on their own life story, training them to storytelling techniques and media literacy and empowering them to show their potential;
– Informing young people with fewer opportunities on their rights, empowering them to stand for these and helping them to find motivation to change;”

Our expert – also film director and coach – Leo Zbanke gave the participants the tools and technics to compose, write, record and film a story of their choosing, inspired by their own life experiences. Through the training, the participants got to learn about: the definition and theories of classical storytelling, photo, audio and video storytelling, script writing, storyboard, filming and editing. They also got the opportunity to experience VR storytelling (virtual reality) thanks to the intervention of Brigitte Wild. During the whole day, they got to try: theory, filming, editing and watching their own VR stories!

Virtual Reality expert

“DIGITALISE IT!” will continue until 2019 with a mid-term evaluation meeting of the partner organisations and 3 peer learning study visits to observe and learn from the implementation of some of the practices learnt during the project!


Partners: Active Bulgarian Society (Bulgaria), Youth Express Network (France), United Societies of Balkans (Greece), Affabulazione Associazione Culturale (Italy), The Exchangeables (The Netherlands), Youropia (Spain)

This project is financially supported by  and 

We were there!

17-19 April: EU Youth Conference

Youth Express Network is part of the European Working Group of INGOs. At the beginning of the year, the network took part in a wide consultation process and asked its members and young people to answer a survey. The aim of this survey was to find out what matters to young people and to give them space to have a direct say in the future of the EU youth policies & the EU Youth Strategy 2019+.

The 2nd EU Youth Conference of the VI cycle of structured dialogue took place in Sofia, Bulgaria from the 17-19 of April. It was dedicated to discovering the results of this wide European consultation, to which more than 50 000 young people answered, and to create, according to these results, Youth Goals that would feed into the next EU Youth Strategy. Our President Mirela Lupu represented the network at this event.

As a result of this conference, 11 Youth Goals were created. We are glad to have contributed in the social inclusion of marginalised youth topic by creating together the “Inclusive societies” goal which is as well our networks vision for 2020. The next step is discussing and deciding the implementation of this goals and that will be done in the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union until the end of 2018.

27-28 April: COMEM of the YFJ

From 27th to the 28th of April, our Vice President Ramiz Aliyev represented Youth Express Network at the Council of Members of the European Youth Forum.

On the programme: debates on the next EU Budget, Brexit, sustainable development, sharing of good practices and ideas, as well as the YFJ’s new Advocacy Toolkit for youth organisations.

15-16 May: Consultative meeting on the CoE Youth Sector Strategy 2020-2030

In the middle of May, Y-E-N participated in a Consultative Meeting of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe. The aim was to discuss on the « Council of Europe Youth Sector Strategy from 2020 to 2030 ». The meeting took place at the European Youth Centre of Strasbourg.

1-2 June: European Youth Event

We also went to the European Youth Event! On the first day, Youth Express Network took part in a panel organised by the Youth Department – Council of Europe. The topic was « Is access to rights the key to tackling Populism? ».

19 June: ENTER Evaluation Seminar

In June, we were invited to present our work in link to the ENTER Recommendation at the ENTER Evaluation Seminar.

20 June: World Refugee Day

On World Refugee Day, Youth Express Network took part in a meeting organised by the city of and the organisation Makers For Change to develop and implement together inclusive local projects. The group of work came up with a project: a contest on campaign videomaking.

26-29 June: Youth Forum Academy

Later this month, Youth Express Network took part in the Youth Forum Academy organised by the European Youth Forum in Brussels, Belgium. This training aimed at strengthening the organisational and advocacy capacity of the YFJ’s Member Organisations, and was more specifically addressed to their executive bodies (secretariats and administrative offices). The programme was built around 3 specific profiles of participants: senior management, policy/project officers and communication office.

9 July: Contest “Au boulot à Vélo” (Biking to work!)

Y-E-N’s office won the photo challenge Auboulotavelo thanks to the numerous votes of its online community!!

During the month of June, Y-E-N’s office participated in the biking challenge « Biking to work », a challenge organised by the organisation CADR 67 and the city of Strasbourg to promote biking as a daily means of transportation! Though we didn’t manage to win the kilometres this time, we DID win the photo contest with our team picture!!! Our online community supported us and we gathered more than 190 votes! Y-E-N’s office will try again next year! 

Action Day #6: Housing

We continue our 25th year celebration, with a closer look to a sixth ENTER Recommendation, the recommendation on Housing of Young People.

One of our French member organisations, the Association l’Etage, works every day towards the support of young people in difficult situations. The access to Housing is one of their main actions.

Strasbourg, FRANCE – Member organisation

L’Etage, club de jeunes

For 30 years now, the “Étage, club de jeunes” has been supporting young people with difficult backgrounds through various types of actions: day care, social restaurant, postal domiciliation, access to health care, parenting support, individual support and counsel…

The cafeteria, opened all day, and the social restaurant, opened from 8:00 to 20:00, allows the organisation to create and keep a human contact with the youth population in difficult situations, often homeless young people. Each year, a thousand people come to the Etage for help and support.

For the past 15 years, the organisation has widened its services to new publics such as families or remote populations of all ages, but the young people are still the main beneficiaries.

Access to housing in numbers

Each year, the organisation implements various measures to support young people with housing:

  • 10 stabilisation spots: with this measure, the organisation gives an individual social support and counsel to remote young people, allowing them to access stability and facilitate their future orientation towards structures adapted to their situations;
  • 29 spots in Accommodation Shelters;
  • 50 spots of “renting inter-mediation” : with this measure, the organisation contributes to give guarantees to the landlords, allowing the access of young people to a stable renting solution;
  • 70 spots for the European Resettlement Programme for Refugees: this measure in linked to the commitment of the French government to welcome 10 000 people in the frame of the European Resettlement Programme.

Since December 2013, the organisation l’Etage also helps families “with uncomplete rights”. The Family Accommodation Center has developed considerably since this date. The center’s agreements have allowed the hosting and support of 518 people, including a majority of children.

Public registered at the day care

The “Lézard au soleil” event, an art sale for the organisations

The association l’Etage organises each year an art sale called the “Lezard au Soleil”. The profits of this sale goes to a different association each year. On the 30th of June, 60 artists will paint on the docks of Strasbourg.

The profits of this 22th edition will go to a collective of associations of people hosting and supporting Syrian and Iraqi refugees to help them with their inclusion in France. Musical animations, drinks and food will also be proposed during the event. Link to the event on the image (French)!

Sources (French)

EU4YOU – Second seminar in Cancun, Mexico

The participants of our KA2 “EU4YOU – Entrepreneurship for cultYOUre” met again in June for the second seminar of this Capacity Building project. This time, they gathered in Cancun, Mexico, in order to continue the development of the various workshops to be implemented at local level.

The aim of this long-term project is to develop innovative complementary pathways for boosting employability of young people through social youth entrepreneurship and providing them with tools for cultural entrepreneurship in particular. Youth Express Network developped this project together with partners from 3 different continents:

  • Fundación Sustentabilidad, Educación y Solidaridad (Argentina)
  • Active Bulgarian Society (Bulgaria)
  • Business & Innovation Center of Serres (Greece)
  • Active Youth Association (Lithuania),
  • Iniciativas Internacionales para la Cooperación (Mexico)
  • Brigada De Voluntarios Bolivarianos del Peru (Peru)
  • Center for Sustainable Development Studies (Vietnam)

During this second seminar, the participants created 4 workshops about social entrepreneurship, cultural management, strategic planning and fundraising. They also drafted the content of a toolkit on cultural entrepreneurship and discussed together the upcoming job shadowing in each others organisations.

The job shadowings will take place during the winter, in Europe, South America and Asia. The objective of these will be to test the workshops and the toolkit before the dissemination in 2019. Stay tuned!


EU4YOU is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union