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.

Proni: working against violent extremism

Our member organisation Proni Center for Youth Development, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is currently working against violent extremism. To do so, they’re taking part in a campaign called CAT (Citizen against Terrorism) and now launching a training for Youth Workers called Youth Workers Countering the Violent Extremism.

CAT (Citizens Against Terrorism)

CAT (Citizens Against Terrorism) is an online campaign aiming at raising awareness against radicalism and extremist ideologies by peacefully engaging local youth with various tactics. Its target groups are: local youth submissive to radicalism and exposed to hateful and extremist speech, post war youth coming from different nations and religions, medias and citizens.

The campaign consists of a facebook page through which the organisation communicates via memes with CATs,inviting facebook users to stand against terrorism and radicalism! Alongside the online campaign, Proni is also organising events, promoting the movement against terrorism.

This year, Proni already implemented a few activities:
Block terrorism: Beach Volleyball Tournament that gathered 20 teams and a total amount of 250 people, public included
– Street actions to collect signatures. 450 signatures were collected to make the 24th of March the International day of fight against terrorism. The petition was then sent to Proni’s ambasador in UN.

This initiative was introduced to our group of participant during our Partnership Building Activity “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe” by Dejan Rađen, one of our participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Youth Workers Countering the Violent Extremism

Youth workers countering the violent extremism is a project aiming at empowering and supporting existing youth workers’ skills and competences and giving them new tools in order to notify, act and report on radicalism behavior of young people in digital and real world.

The initiative came from the realisation that youth workers sometimes need to change their approches and adapt their knowledge when working with young people who are directly harmed by radical ideologies, sometimes leading to violent extremism behavior. There is a new need to create new tools and to use new methods.

In order to achieve this, Proni will focus on 3 activities:

  1. An advanced youth work training for 30 youth workers, focused on: dealing with conflicts and violent behavior, working with individuals (counseling skills), street youth work and “cyber youth work”;
  2. The creation of an online web platform collecting: information about youth radicalisation and violent extremism, positive examples of new tools and methods in youth work and other relevant information;
  3. The promotion of youth work and youth workers as relevant partners to local and international institutions dealing with issues of human security, radicalism and violent extremism behavior.

Using existing networks, PRONI will disseminate the idea of Youth Workers countering the violent extremism and involve more members and organisation to join the movement.

The project activities will take place in three municipalities/cities in North-East Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bijeljina, Brcko and Tuzla.

To learn more about Proni and their project, go to or their Facebook page.

Article written thanks to the contribution of Dejan Rađen.

World Refugee Day: one of our members’ project

On the 20th of June, we celebrated the World Refugee Day, an important day for the visibility of a community too often discriminated and victim of intolerance.

We wanted to take this special day as an opportunity to celebrate our member organisations’ work in link with newcomers. Our french member organisation Association Etage – Club de jeunes recently organised a creative workshop for families of new immigrants. Of course, many of our member organisations act directly with and in favour of newcomers, and this particular action is only one example of what can be done at local level to really make a difference in that matter.

Paint as a mean of expression

The project Peindre notre Histoire (Painting our History) lasted three afternoons during which 9 families were invited to paint and create their own paintings. They were guided in their task by two artists: Inge Panter from Offenburg and Luc Demissy from Strasbourg.

This workshop allowed the children and their parents to tell their story together using art and creativity. The group had also the common objective to create a serie of paintings which would then be presented on an exhibition, an aim which gathered the different families around the same artistic project and allowed them to meet and exchange about their stories, backgrounds, cultures and origins.

The theme of the paintings were not imposed at the beginning, but it became clear that the families were going to tell their stories through pictorial language. During the workshops, a language training was provided to the participants for them to get to know some french words in link with the activity and art in general.

An exhibition and vernissage was organised to show the results of the activity on the 5th of July. Some of the families gathered again around their finished pieces of art and presented their pieces of art to the public.

The project was driven by our member organisation the Association Etage – Club de jeunes and financed by our long time partner the Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau.

News from Member Organisation: LYVS

At LYVS, one of our Member Organisation from Belarus, spring is THE SEASON: new members, active preparation for the summer projects and programmes, stress of the April deadline and, in spite of everything, the time for fresh ideas!

In the end of February and the beginning of March, LYVS usually promotes and starts their two major summer programmes for young people: international volunteer workcamps and educational programme for camp-leaders “RESpublika”. Both programmes offer the crucial experience of intercultural communication and help the participants to become more mature, responsible, active and aware. Participating in the programmes, their members take part in a number of various activities: specially designed trainings, team-building activities, group activities etc.

During their annual charity action “April is the month of good deeds”, the organisation and their volunteers help various institutions to get “in shape” after winter. This year LYVS is working with the center for people with physical disabilities, a social center in Minsk, the Museum of Architecture and Household (Belarusian skansen), and the Children’s Hospice. It’s always great to work together!

There are at the moment about 300 people taking or about to take part in these programmes, and LYVS works really hard to make their experiences meaningful and useful, trying to come up with more interesting activities for them!At the same time LYVS is working with their partner organisation “Belarusian Association of UNESO Clubs” on preparation of the summer archaeological workcamps at Mir Castle – one of the top tourist attractions in Belarus. They are hoping to host many motivated and active volunteers, interested in history and archaeology from all over the world through their partners from the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations.

To follow LYVS and their activities go to their website or Facebook page!

My 4 days of Internship at Y-E-N by Arbenita

My name is Arbenita, I am 16 years old, I come from Kosovo, I live in Strasbourg, I am in high school Jean Geiler, I have to do a training period. I had already worked two weeks from January 16th to January 27th. Since April 10, I have returned to the Youth Express Network for my third week of internship.

In fact, I learned a lot of different things through the Y-E-N (Youth Express Network) and thanks to my colleagues.

These four days, I learned new things, for example: I did some accounting, searched for information on Thessaloniki (Greece) to prepare the next European project of the Y-E-N, I learned to use Photoshop , I sent emails in English, I sent the call for participation to the General Assembly of the Youth Express Network in June, modified an English questionnaire on Google Form and also sought out restaurants and bakeries Around the Maison des Associations to prepare for the reception of a group in May.


Interview of Daniel Grebeldinger (Nevo Parudimos)

Last Saturday was International Roma Day. We thought it was the perfect timing to interview our friend Daniel, long time participant in Y-E-N’s activities and  founder member of Nevo Parudimos, one of our Member Organisation from Romania which dedicates its work to Roma Youth Inclusion.

Thanks Daniel for answering our questions!

Could you tell us a brief history of your organisation Nevo Parudimos?

Nevo Parudimos was founded in 2008 by a group of Roma Activists and teachers working with Roma kids with the idea to work and try to increase the social inclusion of the Roma communities and to develop civil society in our area.

What is your role in the organisation?

Actually, I was the person initiating the group of people which founded the NGO. Initially I was the president, then I was working as a project manager, now I am mainly dealing with the fundraising and everything in relation with developing our project which targets Roma.

When did you join Y-E-N?

Nevo Parudimos joined Y-E-N immediately after we were funded because I was personally involved with Y-E-N since 2005 as an individual member.

And what did Y-E-N bring to your organisation?

Initially, we joined Y-E-N to be part of the experience and to seize the opportunity to train some of our people. Then, we started to work more on the inclusion side, specially targeting Roma young people. We learned from Y-E-N, we became partners with Y-E-N… Actually, Y-E-N was the first international network we became a member of, but at this moment we are member of 5 different networks, all connected with Roma or inclusion.

As you may know, International Roma Day is coming soon. Could you tell us about your project Roma Youth – European Youth?

Y-E-N is partner with the project Roma Youth – European Youth since the beginning: Roma Youth 1, Roma Youth 2 and Roma Youth 3. During these 3 events, we created the guide « 9 steps in working with Roma youngsters ». We are currently implementing the 4th session of this training with the same great core team of trainers, together with some COE experts. It is a great project, one of our best trainings until now. It is a long term training course dedicated to Youth Worker which aims to teach them how to work with Roma Youth specifically. After the first training session, the participants work at home, at their local level, and facilitate a Roma Youth group to develop activities. So, it is actually Happening and it gives great results.

To finish, we would like to know, on a more personal level, why did you chose to work with Youth?

The first time I attended an international activity was a Y-E-N General Assembly in Turkey in Cappadocia. It was the moment when I realised: Okay, that’s what I want to do. I decided to quit my job, I was a teacher at that time, and I started to attend trainings to learn more about non-formal education and how to become a trainer. And since that moment, I’m only working in civil society, doing project for civil society, fundraising and developing civil society… Y-E-N changed my life.

Interviewed by Margaux Dos Santos

News from Member Organisation: Nevo Parudimos

Nevo Parudimos in partnership with 6 other international associations: Egyutthato Kozossegepito Egyesülete, Asociacion Munticultural Nakelamos (Spain), Roma (Macedonia), Integro Association (Bulgaria), Youth Express Network (France), Stranaidea (Italy) held a training between 16-24 January 2017 entitled “Roma Youth, European Youth 4”.

The training, which happens to be the first activity of the project “Roma youth, European Youth 4”, brought together 21 young volunteers/youth workers from Nevo Parudimos’ partner organisations from Hungary, Spain, Macedonia, Bulgaria, France and Italy, in order to teach them how to become youth workers specialised in work with young Roma and to apply and use the 9 steps in working with young Roma, mainly methods of working with non-formal education through various activities.

Besides the training that took place in Herculane, European Roma Youth Project Youth-4 included two more activities:

A practical activity where participants from each country put into practice rules to plan activities conducted during our training until the second meeting by using the 9 steps in working with young Roma. The goal was to form a group of young people at a local level to organise an activity with their support for other young people in the local community where they came from. Their results will be shared with other colleagues during the seminar to be conducted in June 2017.

An evaluation and exchange seminar which will also take place in Romania at Marabu Camp between the 1st and the 9th of June 2017 in Milcoveni village, Berliste town, Caras-Severin county.

The overall objectives of the project are as follow:

  • To enable the 7 partner NGO’s to work with young Roma
  • To increase the use of the guide “9 steps in working with Roma youngsters”
  • To increase the participation of young Roma
  • To promote non-formal education and practical life learning for Roma young people

The project is funded by the European Commission, Erasmus +, Key Action 1 Mobility of youth workers, reference no. 2016-2- RO01-KA105- 024898.

For more information please contact Mr. Firulescu Alexandru, project manager at 0766376287, and [email protected] or [email protected]

News from Member Organisation: Intercultural Institute of Timisoara

  • Act!

Project “Act!” was implemented in Timisoara, Romania, by the Intercultural Institute Timisoara, in partnership with Timis County Teachers Training Office and with Association Casa Plai, with financial support from the Municipality of Timisoara, between May and November 2016.

The purpose of the project was to build the capacity of highschool pupils and teachers to constructively articulate their needs related to the problems they are facing, through forum theatre.

In the first phase of the project, a previously constructed forum theatre play was performed in 10 highschools in Timisoara, by a group of highschool pupils. After the forum, in each highschool a workshop was organised, to familiarise pupils and teachers with forum theatre. In the second phase of the project, a new group was formed and a new forum theatre play was developed. The new play, called “Hat!” (meaning something like “Gotcha!”) spoke about the use of drugs in schools by the pupils and the teachers’ need to intervene positively.

The project brought forum theatre to over 700 pupils in Timisoara, in 10 highschools and created an online community of over 200 people interested in forum theatre as a method of promoting solidarity through art and integrated communities.

  • NICeR

Project NICeR (Nouvelle approche pour renforcer l’Intégration Culturelle des jeunes Réfugiés) is a European Commission co-funded project coordinated by CIOFS-FP Italy and developed in partnership with organisations from seven countries (including Intercultural institute Timisoara) with the aim to elaborate a new approach to the integration of refugees at the local level.

In the framework of the project, local artistic performances will be organised in the first half of 2017, involving groups of young refugees and non-refugees who will work toghether to create various artistic shows.

In Timisoara, AIDRom is coordinating the production of Timisoara Refugee Art Festival (TRAF), which will unite 30 young people (15 refugees and 15 non-refugees) who will work together in smaller groups to create a forum theatre play, a music concert, an exhibition of photography/paintings, a movie projection, a live installation re-creating the route of a refugee (in a smaller scale, of course) and maybe other forms of art, all under the frame of solidarity with refugees in Europe and worldwide. In the preparation of the festival, the group will participate at the beginning of February in a 7-day winter camp where they will be introduced to several artistic methods of expression.

The festival is growing fast, as many local artists and activists have put forward their voluntary support to the cause and their willingness to contribute to such an initiative.

Interview of Krenare Gashi (KYCN)

Arbenita TETAJ joined Y-E-N Office for a job shadowing and took the chance to interview Krenare GASHI, from our member organisation Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network.

Thanks Krenare for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network (KYCN) is a network of youth centres around Kosovo, which was established non-formally in December 2014. In 2015, KYCN changed its format from non-formal to a formally registered organization. Currently, as integral part of Youth Centers’ Network are 21 youth centres from different cities of the country, that develop activities on the focu of youth.

How many members does KYCN have now?

In 2014, KYCN started to work with 16 members and now we count 21 members. We are in the process of enlarging the umbrealla for new members.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

In July 2015 we joined Youth Express Network. By becoming member of Y-E-N, we fulfilled one of our main objectives for 2015, which was to be positioned as the linking bridge between youth centres in Kosovo and youth NGOs in Europe.

Does this membership have a positive effect on your organisation?

Being a member of a European youth network such as Y-E-N made KYCN the first youth umbrella organization in Kosovo. In addition, KYCN became the Kosovo youth voice at European level.

And you, what is your role in KYCN?

I am currently the Executive Director of KYCN.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

The most creative project implemented by our organizations is the Electronic Plate-Form. This provides opportunities to its members, to promote their activities for free and use it as their website as well.

What do you like about KYCN?

The most unique thing about KYCN is the simple way of its function. With no complicated hierarchy on management, it makes it easier to work.

Have you participated in a Y-E-N activity yourself?

Yes, I have participated in 5 activities:
– 2 seminars organised by Y-E-N itself: in October 2015 and in May 2016;
– 3 seminars suggested by Y-E-N: in April 2016 with the Council of Europe, the “EYE 2016” in May 2016 and “Youth Peace Camp” in July 2016.

What is the future plans for KYCN?

Our future plans are:
– Promotion of youth employment
– Regional cooperation
– Enlargement of activities at European level

By Arbenita Tetaj (job shadowing in Y-E-N Office)

Interview of Mojca Makovac (Jeunesses Musicales Croatia)

jmlogoDuring our last activity “Voice it” in Groznjan, Croatia, the communication group took the chance to make an interview of Mojca MAKOVAC, head of the international youth meeting centre of Jeunesses Musicales International in Groznjan and former Y-E-N Board Member.

Thank you Mojca for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Jeunesse Musical Croatia is part of a bigger network called Jeunesses Musicales International which has its headquarters in Brussels.

The association was founded in 1969 in Belgium. Little by little it expended to many European countries. The main objectives are for young people, musicians and audiences to have access to music. We advocate for quality formal and non-formal music education for young people and greater music learning for young audiences.

All along those years, Jeunesses Musicales have organised different classes, masterclasses, workshops, in more than 90 countries. They are now collaborating with many international organisations, Youth Express Network being one of them.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

Personally I was doing social studies with a master in pedagogy and there was a seminar organised by Y-E-N. It was a project related with art and other bigger issues. As I am a dancer, I joined the project and I got really interested in their work. Afterwards, I decided to become a member and it is now 19 years that we are part of Y-E-N.

How did this affect the organisation JMC?

It contributes to keep the international dimension for Jeunesses Musicales Croatia. We were more involved in international projects, we participated to many projects. We are already a big part of the culture in Croatia, we are a big organisation and being part of Y-E-N enables us to extent this.

How was it for you to have us in Groznjan?

I like it a lot, this is a great opportunity for us to have you here. It is always pleasant to see the dynamic of the participants here in Groznjan. The group is very active and the interaction with the inhabitants is very interesting to see.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

We organised a lot of projects as part of the international youth work. All of them are important, and not only for the music. Jeunesses Musicales places empowerment at its core and emphasizes on social inclusion and cohesion.

We launched a project called « Groznjan outside of Groznjan » with the aim of expanding the work of the artists of Groznjan outside to other cities in Croatia. In this way we aim at widening the education in terms of culture and wish to contribute to the artist’s development.

This summer was organised a big event which happens every summer, called the « World Orchestra from Jeunesses Musicales ». It has been going on for many years already. Young artists from all over the world gather and go on the road to play music. The JM World Orchestra represents part of the history of the organisation. It enables young musicians with the opportunity to travel to share their passion and act as ambassadors for intercultural understanding.

What is the importance of Y-E-N with regards to Youth Social Politics?

In term of organisation, Y-E-N has its importance as it provides young people with education, whether it is formal of non-formal. I think that those parts of opportunity should be a part of every youngster’s life. No matter if the project is only short-time, it enables to bring different lives together and contribute to the personal and professional development of the youngsters.

What is the future plans for JMC?

We will continue to be actively involved at the international level and we will also work on tools to tackle more on the social issues at the European level. During the year, in Zagreb, we will carry on with our project “Groznjan outside of Groznjan” in order to introduce the people of Groznjan in other cities and also introduce Groznjan to the people outside of Groznjan.

By Vanessa Deweer (Y-E-N Office intern)