8 countries, 40 people, one mission:
From the 5th to the 12th of July 2019, Young people from Poland, Spain, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Italy, Georgia, Ukraine and Greece, met in Marianówka, debated equality, cooked and played together, prepared and conducted a street campaign, got to know about each other’s cultures and made new friends.
So, joins us down this memory lane! 😉
We start on the 5th of July, the arrival of the groups to Marianówka. This is also the day when the atmosphere of the group started to be built, with the youngsters staying together during the evening and playing some games.
And, just like that… “Ready, set, go!”
It’s 6th of July and everyone is ready. To Know each other and to know the surroundings!
The day started with some integration games, many laughs and a lot of expectations.
In a blink of an eye, the first day of activities is almost over, but not before the participants get the chance to know Bystrzyca Kłodzka.
Through a city game, youngsters got to know a little bit more of the history and culture of the region, meanwhile having fun together and getting to speak with the locals.
As an ending of the day, an intercultural evening about traditional games!
“What’s Inequality for you?”
That’s how the second day of activities starts.
After discussing the influence “Nature and Culture” to how someone perceives Equality and the “Barriers to Equality”, it was the time to travel to each participating country and discover how different people in different places understand the theme.
It was a session of video interviews, shown by each group, that allowed youngsters to discuss different points of view, put questions to each other and know better the reality of their countries.
With this came lunch and the time to travel by bus, one more time, to a different place.
And off we go, to Polanica-Zdrój!
Against all odds (as it was a heavy rain morning in Marianówka) we find a sunny town waiting for us. The perfect afternoon to interview the local community.
The question comes again: “What’s inequality for you?”
The participants, divided into different groups, spend the afternoon interviewing locals, but not only. There is the chance to stroll around the town, enjoy the weather. It’s summer… which means Ice cream! 😉
After coming back to Marianówka and before the dinner, a debriefing.
We have the chance to present the work done and expose points of view. One of the goals of the Youth Exchange is exactly this, allowing young people to discuss, to acquire new knowledge, to express their own opinions, share similarities and understand the differences.
It’s the end of the day… Nothing better than closing it with “Music from my country!”
“Me and my society”
A new day, a new morning and… it’s the 3rd day of activities of “Mission – Our Equality”!
We jump for the day ready to discuss prejudices and stereotypes, discrimination and the role of social networks on Equality.
But let’s go by steps.
“A step into Inequality” leads us through real life situations of inequality. Using role play, the group shares stories of people close to themselves who have one through difficult situations on which they faced discrimination and prejudices.
It was an activity closer to “home” for the participants, which also allowed everyone to think deeper about reasons and solutions for the topic.
But there are many ways on how discrimination and prejudices exist and pass through, and a big one is the virtual one. So, time for “My digital ID”. Have you, now reading this, ever “stretched” some fact about you, on social media? Have you ever changed your age or other personal data? How do you express yourself and your ideas on the networks?
That’s the exercise we’ve done. As a big net, as this world actually is, participants had the chance to discuss how each action has a consequence and how we are connected to each other, in many ways, through our actions and do’s.
After so many different activities, discussions and new knowledge, it’s time to think about what can be possibly done with all of that. To keep it within the group or to take it to the local community and disseminate it?!
It’s “Mission – Our Equality!” time, which means, it’s time to prepare a street campaign.
Creativity, ideas and materials on hand, the plan is outlined and the groups prepare the posters, flyers and information to take to the streets of Kłodzko in the following day.
And off we go again! 🙂
It’s the end of the day and the perfect time for “Equality in the Kitchen!”, which goes without saying, time for cooking together.
40 people in a kitchen. Lots of music. Lots of laughter. And a bounding evening.
Just like that we are in the finish line of the youth exchange.
It’s the 4th day of activities and it starts with a debate.
With the participation of EFM volunteers, the group discusses, as in a structured debate about “Violence and Inequality”, equality in such wide topics as “disability”, “gender”, “migration” and “physical appearance”.
This also leads us for the topic of the day, and the topic of the youth Exchange: “Mission – Our Equality!”
In another bus journey, the group goes to Kłodzko, for a street campaign.
There were youngsters dancing on the main square, while others were singing words of protest near the famous bridge of the town. Some of them invited passers-by to “print” their hand on a poster, in outskirts of the town, while others were being invited to be part of an Instagram frame of Equality.
In another corner of the city some people were being challenged to “change my mind”.
There were many things happening, good things happening, and the local community joined in.
The 4th day of activity finishes with the group singing and playing together in a bus station in Kłodzko, while the bus doesn’t arrive. The atmosphere is good. Everyone is in a good mood and there is the feeling of something positive done.
That’s how the 5th day of activities starts. With good mood and positive energy!
The group starts the day on a quest, following riddles about pop culture and how equality has been present there, or not.
There were some surprises among the youngsters, by finding out, for example, percentages of women in the world of cinema when comparing to man, among many others.
It allowed an interesting and lively discussion, as the subject could unfold in many different directions of the topic. It was also interesting, as it led to the question of the following activity: “what can I change?”
Each participant was challenged to create their own picture and their own card about equality. The ideas run free and there were many different and equally interesting results.
Are you curious to know what happened to those cards and pictures?! 😉 Just read till the end of this article and you will find out!
Now imagine that it is July, end of the day. Warm and sunny outside. What better than a match all together?! That is exactly what we done. All together in Długopole Górne, everyone was divided in teams, playing 3 different sports in a rotative way: football, volleyball and basketball. The spirit was not about competition or winning. It was about team spirit, staying together and breaking old pre-conceived ideas that boys and girls don’t play together or that one is not allowed to play something if he/she is not fit for that. It was a “match for equality”, it had us all together and winning or losing were not at all above the laughter and friendship that run free on the back yard of EFM headquarters.
And now that you waited till here, maybe wanting to know what about the photos and cards of the “challenge: equality”, it is: they were projected in the wall of the building, during the evening and through the night, as more than 40 people sat together for a bonfire, sharing stories, speaking about cultures and listening to music of different countries.
That’s how the 5th day gave the stage to the 6th day of activities, the last one of “Mission – Our Equality”.
“Equality in words”
Articles, social media posts, videos and pictures about a street campaign… a video about the full week. That’s what the last day was about. Sharing the knowledge with as many people as possible, while, at the same time, planning what to do when back to the home country.
It was a reflective day, with a more reflective mood, but also with the awareness of how many things were done, and the great opportunity of having done them with people from so many and different places.
But it was also an informative day, with new knowledge of Erasmus + and it’s possibilities and the Youthpass and its 8 key competences.
After final evaluation, certificates, hugs, promises of meeting again and laughter over funny stories of the last few days, “Mission – Our Equality” closes its curtain in Marianówka.
It finishes on the beating of “People have the Power” from Patti Smith!
Nothing more fitting than this song and 40 young people together, with the hope that something can still be done by each one, to make the world we live in a little bit better.
Mission: Our Equality
Youth Exchange – Mission: Our Equality
5th-12th July, 2019 – Poland