“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)

“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!

“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!

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