“That the people have the Power to redeem the work of fools.”

Patti & Fred “Sonic” Smith

The fate decided that “People Have the Power”, the project, would be approved on the 30th of December 2019, the birthday of Patti Smith. Fate dictated as well that the project would be affected, in its majority, by the pandemic. At the end, People Have the Power was not what it was dreamt to be, but it was something new and challenging.

A project that relayed so much on public intervention to happen during the 2 years of a world pandemic was, at least, ironic.
Still we prevailed.

Whatever couldn’t be done on site, for safety reasons, was carried online, just like everyone else. Workshops with big groups of youngsters turned into online workshops with medium size groups via google meet and zoom.

For the 12 volunteers hosted by us during 32 months it was also a different experience.

All of them had to adapt to the dynamic of having the office in the same building where their house is, which was a first. No more daily trips to Bystrzyca Kłodzka and, at one point, no trips at all, period.

The project was carried in a 3 rounds scheme: “People Have the time to create”,“People have the time to change”, and “People Have the Power to Act”. Between September 2020 and May 2022 we hosted 3 volunteers. The second cycle started in September 2021 with 7 new volunteers who finished their experience on May 2022. The last run of the project had 2 volunteers between the end of August and December 2022.

To all of them, even being under the same project, the experiences were completely different. The first group was 6 months unable to travel further than Wrocław. The second group had a full quarantine experience and the 3rd group had the shortest but probably the most dynamic experience, at least in terms of moving around.

All in all this ESC project really stood for its title. It showed that even under pressure and amid ever changing situations, People still have the Power to overcome and find creative ways of acting for a change.

But everything came with preparation. To be able to present those topics the volunteers researched and prepared a questionnaire that was sent to youngsters in the region. We obtained more than 200 answers on the issues that were affecting them the most and what subjects they found important to discuss.

So the chain of workshops, presentations, debates, and online/offline conversations started.

Youngsters gave ideas, suggestions, learned and acquired new knowledge and awareness on things they could do.

Time went by and the strong Covid measures went down. New volunteers were able to go to schools, workshops were back to a presential setting and the youngsters of the region could, finally have contact with people from different cultures, exchange ideas with them and have the reintegration and human contact upon so long time away from the school setting.

It was also the time that we initiate the podcast episodes. 
Podcasts were the channel to touch and discuss topics that are not usually discussed by young people as well all subjects that interest them personally, and to what volunteers could shine some light on, through conversations and interviews. Topics as the Balkan post Yugoslavia, to what means volunteering, inspiring people in different fields, LGBTQ+ representativity, women’s role in society, were some of the matters discussed.

The dynamics of the project may have changed in these last 2 and half years, by external factors, but what hasn’t changed was the dynamic of the young people involve. In the last stretch of the project, the last four months, EFM hosted 2 volunteers, who promoted debates in schools, discussed the stereotypes and gender inequality in schools, invited people from different countries in Europe for interviews, lead workshops in the local museums, Supported and spent free time with Ukrainian refugees, as well as taking part in the preparation and organisation of APVs and youth exchange in the topic of society views and ideas on it by young people.

All in all People Have the Power was not the dream initially dreamt but, after 32 months of activities, it really proof the authenticity of the title and the power of its meaning.

We can have pandemic, we can go through a world crisis and the effects of a war, we can be suddenly hosting refugees, we can be forbidden to move around, or asked to not make gatherings. But amid all of this this project has shown that People do have the Power. If we really want to change something, create something and act for a better world, we have in us the power of creativity and we’ll always be able to find ways to engage, connect and improve our communities.

Would Patti Smith and Fred “Sonic” Smith be proud of the purpose given to their creation?! We truly hope so!

We would like to imagine one day they would get to know that their activism in form of a song has started little fires in a small region in the Southwest of Poland, and beyond. Their dream has inspired us to inspire young people. And now, almost 3 years after the 1st day, People Have the Power has travelled Poland, France, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Georgia, Germany and Kosovo, and so many others who came in contact with us!

Thank you for that!

“I believe everything we dream can come to pass through our union
We can turn the world around
We can turn the earth’s revolution
We have the Power!”

EFM Podcasts

As an output of People Have The Power, Podcasts were recorded by our volunteers and you can listen them whenever you want 🙂


Project Title: People Have The Power
Project number: 2019-3-PL01-ESC11-077933

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