Marilou Albero came to Armenian Progressive Youth in Armenia from France to do a 6 months long European Voluntary Service (EVS). We have asked her about her experience with Armenia and her EVS life. Marilou says that she decided to participate in an EVS because she thinks it is a good way to be involved in a project and to discover a new country. “Concerning Armenia though”, she says, “I didn’t really choose to go to specifically Armenia, it was more the opportunity. But I guess I was really curious about this region of the world”.
Marilou’s role in the Armenian Progressive Youth organisation was focused on communication work. She was, among others, updating the website. During the training courses she was responsible for visibility at social medias, for an example to post information about the activities on Facebook. “I learnt many professional skills related to communication skills during my time with Armenian Progressive Youth, for an example how to take good pictures and how to write an article.” When coming to Armenia, she recalls, a big obstacle was the language, but the cultural shock was probably bigger than the language problems. “For me the main difficulties were some of the traditional values of this country. As a “french feminist girl” it was difficult to learn about the differences of rights for girls and LGBT people in Armenia, compared to what I was used to. I never realized that before. Maybe, I was a bit naive.”
Marilou explains that she did not know much about European programs before she came to Armenian Progressive Youth. Because of this, she says, it took her almost three months to understand that the organisation was doing and how it was working. “I think, if I could do one thing differently, I would have studies the organisation before arriving. In this way I maybe could have understood my role better, and have taken more initiatives”. Concerning support, she says that she had everything she needed. “Armenian Progressive Youth and Armenia was very welcoming; I am very thankful for that”. Marilou received language courses like all volunteers enrolled in the EVS programs do. She says though, that learning Armenian in 6 months is not very realistic.
As for coming back to visit Armenia, Marilou already did. “I came back to Armenia 6 months after my volunteering as a participant in one of the trainings organized by Armenian Progressive Youth.” If Marilou could advise a future volunteer coming to Armenia, she says it would be to bring books. “It is almost impossible to find books in foreign languages in Yerevan.”
Interviewed and written by Edith and Tamara, 2 APY volunteers
Starting date; December 5, 2016, or January 5, 2017.
Armenian Progressive Youth and Youth Information Centre Association are delighted to inform about volunteering opportunity for young people from Turkey , aged 18-30 to do EVS in Armenian capital Yerevan. We propose our volunteers EVS in intercultural youth atmosphere with youngsters from Armenia, Turkey, Sweden, France and Denmark. The volunteer will be proposed one of the above mentioned EVS vacancies.
Youth and Media Group
The volunteer will work as a member of Youth and Media Group (YM group) that is specialized in Movie making field covering topics of Anti-discrimination, Tolerance, Gender issues, LGBT issues, Healthy lifestyle, etc. EVS volunteer involved here implements three types of activities within the group.
Youth and Environment Group
EVS volunteer will act as a member of Youth and Environment Group (YE group) that is specialized in implementing eco-educative activities in schools, raising awareness of the need for recycling and etc. The volunteer implements three types of activities within the group.
The volunteer’s role will be supporting APY PR group activities in promoting anti-discrimination, tolerance campaigns and social cohesion activities. Furthermore, the volunteer will be involved in the PR and dissemination of activities of other working groups. EVS Volunteers tasks will be the promotion of the NGO activities in APY official website, writing posts and articles, supporting in organizing meetings and seminars for interested youth organizations in APY office, supporting in organizing flash-mobs and other youth activities aiming to raise public attention on various topics.
Local events organizing group (LE group) implements activities for the benefit of the particular community where APY office is situated. In a wider range, it also includes the whole city of Yerevan. The group implements educative activities having youngsters from 16-25 years old as a target group. Simultaneously LE group manages team-building activities for the local volunteers of APY.
Living and working in Yerevan
Situated on the Hrazdan River, the city is one of the worlds’ oldest, yet in recent times has undergone a major transformation, offering a great history combined with newly constructed retail shops, restaurants, and cafés. Moving to Yerevan means relocation to the capital and largest city of Armenia. Yerevan is a wonderful place to discover and a destination of contrast. Originating as a small town in the 8th century BC, today Yerevan is a large city with a population of over 1 million.
Accommodation: APY provides all the facilities to make your stay and work in Yerevan as smooth as possible. We provide a flat with all the facilities for a comfortable stay in Armenia. The flats are equipped with free Wi-Fi, a washing machine, and heating system. Each flat has its separate kitchen and all facilities needed for cooking; fridge, oven, kettle, gas panel and different types of dishes and kitchen facilities. The rooms are light and with large windows. There is also a common living room for volunteers for socializing and spending free time. The volunteers will be provided with single or twin rooms.
Location: The address of the flat is Nizami 13, Apartment 13, 0016, Yerevan, Armenia. The flat is situated in 5 minutes’ walk from the Metro station “Garegin Nzdeh”. The nearest bus station is 2 minutes walk from the flat. The route from the flat to the APY office takes around 30-35 minutes.
Financial conditions. The volunteer will receive 135 Euros monthly for the meal, pocket allowance, and transport.
Right now Armenian Progressive Youth hosts 3 volunteers from Turkey, Sweden, and France.
More information about the host organization; www.apy.am
If you are interested in any of the vacancies, please send your CV and motivation letter to [email protected] e-mail address till November 25, 2016 25:59. You can also send your questions to the mentioned e-mail address.
Last week a group of young human rights activists from Armenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Russia and the EU came together at the “Youth for Rights” Eastern Partnership Youth Conference 2016 to make stronger links between countries and participate in training and capacity-building activities. The EaP Youth Conference was organized by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) and held under the patronage of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union.
The “Youth for Rights” conference held on 27-28 October in Slovakian capital Bratislava has brought together 145 young people who advocate for democratic development in their societies. Armenian Progressive Youth NGO was also invited to the conference as a part of the Armenian delegation comprised of civil society organizations, human rights activists and active young people.
The main aim of the conference was to facilitate cooperation and contacts between the participants and to create stronger and trust-based links for the future. Besides the sessions in plenary, the
participants have participated in training and capacity-building activities and have worked together within the 5 sub-groups entitled “Youth for democracy”, “Youth for environment”, “Youth for inclusion and diversity”, “Youth for education” and “Youth at work”.
As Armenian Progressive Youth NGO mainly works in the area of non-formal and civic education in Armenia, it was represented in the “Youth for education” sub-group by our Vice-President, Mr. Grigor Yeritsyan. The sub-group has focused on the problems in the areas of higher education, non-formal education and civic education in the Eastern Partnership countries and have elaborated a list of recommendations that are addressed to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders responsible for education in each EaP country, including Armenia.
The results of the conference, including the above-mentioned recommendations and the resolution that has been approved by the conference, will be presented during the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Annual Assembly, which will take place on 28-30 November 2016 in Brussels. Armenian Progressive Youth NGO is will be the part of the national delegation at the annual conference in Brussels that will be gathering 200 representatives of civil society organisations from the EaP region and the EU.
Another aim of the event was to create synergies between the EaP Youth Conference and the next EaP Youth Forum 2017 (Budapest) that will gather youth representatives nominated by respective EaP governments, and the EU, contributing with policy recommendations to the Forum.
“Young generation fills me with the hope and optimism for the future. They are best suited to address the challenges in their countries and work with the communities at the local level” says Katarina Mathernova, the Deputy Director General of DG NEAR, European Commission.
“Young human rights activists, their organizations and civic initiatives should be encouraged. We should make their voices heard. They should become the shapers of the youth policy in the EU Member States and EaP countries,” commented Hovsep Khurshudyan, EaP CSF Steering Committee Member, Working Group 4 and main conference coordinator.
The idea of the conference was born during the EaP CSF Platform 4 meeting in Brussels on 14 December 2015, the event was consequently included into the EaP 2016 working plans, and stands out as a positive example of efficient cooperation with the civil society within the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership policy.
Please find below the Declaration and the Resolution adopted at the Conference:
The project “Stone age in us” gave me the opportunity to discover not only the habits and national character of other countries but also their deep routes coming from very ancient times. During the project we felt closer to the nature due to camping and hiking. The life in tents, evenings around the bonfire, preparing food on fire and different relevant workshops made us to feel the spirit of Stone Age. This helped us also to become a strong team by overcoming several challenges and difficulties. With this team we managed to take care of the ecology by organizing the habitat of rare species of butterflies.
As my first project it exceeded my expectations. Furthermore, I acquired a lot of new friends of different nationalities and I believe that due to our newly formed but enough strong friendship we will meet again and again somewhere in Europe and will ensure the success of other projects as well.
The idea of the project “Stone age in us” interested me from the beginning. It was informative to know the traditions of other countries and their problems. We understood that we have many things in common. I very much like the atmosphere of participant countries and acquired a lot of new friends, whom I hope I will see again. For me the best part of the project was the time that we spend in the woods. I learn a lot of things about camping. Also we did workshops. At the workshops we show each other what hand skills we know, so at the end of the project we learned a lot of new things. Most of all in this few days I liked participants of the project, and we spend a really good time together.
During the project ”Stone age in us” I learned lots of important and necessary thing which I’ll need in future. At first I was a little disappointing/shy, because everything was new for me: new people, unusual and not popular topic we should discuss and the idea that we are spending 2-3 nights in the forest. I always like the things or events which are connected with the nature, the environment.
This week was one of the most important and special in my life. I learned how to make a tent, to sleep inside it, to have a amazing expedition while hearing the birds voices, and doing every step with a great pleasure, with singing, dancing, and joking. I aquired lots of new friends from Portugal, Macedonia, Estonia, and Lithunania. Everything was unforgettable and every second I was enjoying my time. Thank you Lithuania.
For now I know one thing for sure. I could never imagine this very first project of mine could replenish my monotone life with so many amazing colors just in two weeks. Each participant from his/her own country added their own sweet taste to this project which I could never ever forget. Thanks to the participants open mindedness and passion concerning the theme, we created the best of the ancient human’s world with its culture and appropriate way of living. We created various handmade jewelries, wood cups. And the hiking we had and the festival we organized are the real proofs that we succeed in creating a brave “stone age” person in ourselves. Particularly, the camping spent in the village Mozuriškes gave us the chance to act and think differently. As it was in the ancient times, also in the camp too we did everything as a group and nothing prevented us from our resistant attitude. I really hope that it was the first, but not the last project with these kinds of lovely and bright people are.
The exchange project was developed and implemented in cooperation with the following partners: Armenian Progressive Youth, Volunteer’s Center Skopje, Continuous Action, AEVA, and the hosting organization: LOBIU DIRBTUVES.
My name is Hovhannes and very recently I have participated in a short term European Voluntary Service project, funded by the Erasmus + program in Gaziantep Turkey for one month. The theme was social work and volunteering for the environment. We were 12 volunteers from 6 countries in the project organized by Gaziantep Training and Youth Association.
Our EVS aimed at providing education to adults and young people, organize learning activities and workshops, planting trees, gardening, making campaigns etc. We realized that kids and youth have got many disadvantages in the field of social life, they had less information about human rights, gender equality and many other topics… So, we used to assist this target group to develop their personal and social skills.
We used to stay at the association’s building in the city centre of Gaziantep. Gaziantep is the province in south-central Turkey, it’s is not like Istanbul or Ankara, here is an original Anatolian city with unique culture and traditions. We had a well mixture dynamic group of volunteers from different cultures and countries.
Usually we had a schedule to meet on each Monday to decide who is going to do each of the activity of the week. My average day used to start at 10. I was supposed to meet the other volunteers and start preparing the activities. Usually my weekly activities were related to Syrian kids. Kids were quite lovely, welcoming, willing to learn and they used to bring me little drawings as gifts. I really enjoyed the time with them and I got so many positive vibes from them.
Aside of our formal activities we also had an opportunity to face a national festival or a holiday – “Bairam” which in Turkey is known as the sacrifice holiday and is a major event in the Islamic calendar. The significance relates to the occasion in the Quran when Abraham was ready to sacrifice his own son to the command of God. God interrupted the act and Abraham used a sheep instead, however, the celebration occurs to show the dedication of Abraham and his acknowledgement that God is everything.
Basically that’s a great holiday which falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic year, and falls on the tenth day of Thul-Hijjah and coincides with the Yauman-Nahr, “Day of the Sacrifices” in the Hajj Pilgrimage. Like other religious holidays, Bayram is a time when families and friends gather and spend time with one another, enjoying, eating and also feeding people in need are a large part of the festival’s traditions.
I had a great time enjoying classic Turkish cuisine, regional cooking and traditional family recipes with full course meal including a traditional Turkish soup to start, followed by the main course of meat and side dishes made with rice or bulghur.
Well, back to the experience, living and working abroad with cross-cultural team, outside of my comfort zone, I felt no great differences or culture shock.
It was an experience where I’ve received as a real pledge of emotions, loaded my mind and consciousness with tones of humanity and devotion, gratefulness and peace of mind, harmony and will-power to move on. One of the most precious moments for me was the activities with Syrian kids and that was the one I wanted to live. I wondered how happy, satisfied I am, how everything is crazy and unique in a new world of cultural reality.
Written by Hovhannes Sughyan, EVS volunteer in Turkey
The morning of 26th of October would have been as silent and grey as it mostly is at this time of the day and year in Kaunas, Lithuania, if it weren’t for the bright minds from Armenia, Georgia, Portugal, Slovenia and Lithuania gathering for an energizer and team building exercises which later became a routine for the next eight mornings.
Delegates from five countries were excited about a week-long experience, both regarding Lithuanian lifestyle and finances, and seemed ready for whatever was coming their way. Throughout the Be Strong on Finance project participants learned about taxes, loans, stock markets and cost of living in all countries, compared different countries’ economy, gathered information on digital tools to be more financially educated and aware.
With all of this knowledge members were asked to create a financially perfect country and to discuss what skills should all people possess in order to become financially independent. Simultaneously with the main topic of the project participant’s curiosity about Lithuania was satisfied when they marched through the streets of Kaunas searching for answers to questions about city’s budget, citizen’s average income and history, when listening to stories about Trakai castle or centuries-old churches in Vilnius. Many hugs and words of encouragement were exchanged during a farewell evening which left many emotionally moved and sad but at the same time happy to have made friends with such positive, open-minded and curious people.
Be Strong on Finance project aimed to stimulate the young and eager minds to discuss financial topics with their peers, to think of solutions rather than excuses for something that is happening in the world of economy and to feel stronger about their financial decisions. Organizers of the project are very grateful to the participants for their ideas and passion to learn.
On May 17th, 2016, Sergey and I started our journey to Latvia.
For me it was my second Training Course, but Sergey had never participated in a training before. But both of us were equally excited about the project and getting to visit Latvia: a country we had never been before. We decided to go a day earlier to be able to enjoy it on our own a bit and see around Riga. Besides, I already had a good friend from Latvia from my previous Training Course in Belarus (one of the perks of Erasmus+: making friends from all over the world). Linda, my friend from Latvia, greeted us and showed us the beautiful places of Riga.
We also met Angelina, another participant from Macedonia (FYROM) and had great time before the start of the TC.
After 3 hours of ride we finally arrived at Chill Inn, our TC venue. It immediately took our breaths away. It was the perfect place for a training about inner peace. Tall trees stood all around and sea was just 5 minutes away. The training was the second “Peace Way for Youth” training and it was concentrated on inner peace.
Our mornings started with a nice yoga session on the beach. After yoga we were hurrying back to Chill Inn to have our tasty vegetarian breakfast (actually, all meals were vegetarian). Immediately after breakfast we moved to our teambuilding and inner peace building activities. Our trainer, Ilze, made us go deep into ourselves and explore us to an extent which we didn’t know we could. It was a week of self-discovery. Our sessions were eye-opening and emotional. Most of the participants were sharing touching stories from their experiences during our storytelling sessions. Day by day our circle was becoming stronger. Through our activities we got to know ourselves and be at peace with who we are.
I learned from the TC that in order to create peace around you you must have a clear understanding of yourself and have peace within.
After the end of the project we left Latvia with inner peace, sweet memories, many friends, and an anticipation for the next stage of the project in Stockholm, Sweden.
The concept of gender equality is highly affected by the culture and the politics of the country where it is discussed. Consequently, the work on policies, norms and juridical systems in favor of gender equality differ greatly around the world. Thus, what do not differ around the world is the structural violence against women. This is a problem present in all societies regardless of development, culture, religion, policies and history. To gather different youth workers and leaders from all over the world to discuss these issues are therefore of highest importance, not only because the youth can bring a change, but because it is an international problem and should therefore be understood internationally.
From June 27 to 5th of July together with JUB International from Netherlands we hosted the international training ”Gender Perspectives in Europe: Challenge to Change” bringing together youth workers, youth leaders, experts, NGO workers, Civil Society Organization representatives working for the promotion of Gender Equality and women’s empowerment in the Eastern Partnership Countries and the European Union.
The project has involved 36 participants coming from such countries as the United Kingdom, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain and Armenia.
Since all participants came from different countries, backgrounds and gender experiences the discussions and exchanges were rich.
Nuard Minasian (Armenia)
I was actively involved in gender related issues before and after the training, but I should confess that the format of the training enriched my skills on how the gender topics should be represented for a mixed audience. The stimulation games and exercises were very useful for me and I’m going to practice it in my work as a trainer.
The main issue is the gender stereotypes which causes gender inequality in our society. Another big issue is the gender based violence which is common for developing countries not having legislative mechanisms to prevent the cases.
There were represented some mechanisms on how to combat against these stereotypes which can differ from country to country, but which still characteristic for every society in a specific way. The stronger the society is the higher will be its level of gender equality. That’s why we drafted some joint projects during the training aiming to engage more people in awareness rising process on gender equality and non-violence. I will address the teenage pupils who are the most target group for being educated on gender issues. This will give the opportunity to prevent gender inequality and domestic violence by educating the generation rather than working on the sad consequences of the absence of gender education. The training was held in a very friendly atmosphere keeping everyone energized and motivated to take part in each activity. We really enjoyed the training, made useful networks for the further cooperation and went back home with positive and unforgettable memories.
Alexei Croitor (Moldova)
The project has been focused on gender issues, mostly challenges and causes which lead to inequality between men and women. For me this training wasn’t the 1 st course in gender equality issues, as a lawyer I’ve participated in a lot of educational programs which has been based on equality and non-discrimination issues from the legal point of view. This course has specific that approach this theme not from legal but social and cultural aspect regarding countries involved in project. It shows how young people understand this issue and their individual or group attitude to this, the importance of topic in social life, how it can influence society. Due to the Course I much more understand how stereotypes are influence our life and can be powerful instruments which stop development and progress. Only by like these educational program especially for young generation we can eliminate stereotypes from society and clean it up.
Republic of Moldova has problems to solve with intolerance in society, inequality of women in all fields staring of decision making to enterprising. More problematical is non-realizing by the society of that problem which leads to discrimination, domestic violence. Despite of strong legal framework, in practical application of this Moldova is still fail. The situation with non-implementation of existing laws like in Moldova, or improvement of legislation with necessary framework, for states which aspiring for it must take in consideration that it needs not only legal and political approach. It necessary change and open minds of society especially with young generation. That is why the same Projects are strictly necessary, for showing positive examples, giving possibility to participants to come to the idea of equality by themselves, working together on the problem, generating new ideas.
Boba Markovich Baluchova (Czech Republic)
Very heterogeneous, but open-minded group of the participants (of different age, from different countries and with different educational background) learnt and talked about gender related topics and the need for gender equality in all areas of our lives. It was not only about equal job opportunities and equally paid salaries for women and men; this training was also about the understanding of the concepts of women’s rights protection, e.g. reproductive rights (which is very sensitive topic in Armenia – what we found out during the training). We also asked ourselves whether do we have an equivalent for “gender mainstreaming” term in our own languages.
I’ve been working as youth worker, journalist and lecturer at Palacky university, so gender related topics are not new to me. In past I conducted the research about the media (re)presentation of vulnerable groups (including women) from developed, as well as developing countries. During the training I was interested in the advocacy campaigns and gender related issues in countries from Eastern Partnership and Caucasus region. Therefore I appreciated the Study tours to local Armenian NGOs: Women’s Resource Center of Armenia, Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK). For example I learnt that Diana Abkar (an Armenian writer and diplomat) was the 1st female ambassador in the World (in 1920!).
I come from Slovakia, but I work in Czechia (these two countries used to be one big country: Czechoslovakia in past). I contributed to the international conference (as a part of this TC) with the presentation: “Portrayal of women in Czech and Slovak media (journalism and marketing products)”. I talked about a significant difference in portrayal of women and men. Sexual harassment and sexism are big issues in my region. I showed the examples of annual competition “Sexist pig” focused on the most sexist adverts in Czechia. As I understood (based on the discussion after the conference) there are very similar experiences and examples of gender insensitive language’s usage from other European countries.
I think the training courses and youth exchanges (using non-formal learning methods) can be always an opportunity to face our own stereotypes and work on their reduction. In my case study/research of portrayal of women in media: educational seminars for journalism students about gender related issues and topics would be helpful.
Even though the group participants had different age, educational background, cultural and religious values, together we created very safe space for the opinions sharing and open discussions about feminism, women’s reproductive rights or LGBTQI+ topic. I believe that was the most important outcome of the TC.
Florian Kleinhoven (The Netherlands)
I think what mostly changed for me is my view on different cultures. Not only was travelling to Armenia a great experience, such a project with so
many members partaking from numerous cultural backgrounds was also helpful. I learned to see how many European cultures regard the problem of gender inequality and anything related to it from a similar perspective, whereas Georgians or Armenians consider the situation radically different. I think the project mainly taught me to mitigate my opinions as to gender discrimination. As Freud indicated: human behaviors always have a source in society — I consider this very much to be the truth. I think in Western Europe, the problem of gender inequality is less tangible than anywhere else in the world. In a practical sense, there are the same opportunities for both counterparts. However, on a more microscopical scale, the differences are evident. Many people here are obsessed with equating statistical values: women have to make up 50% of all Physics students, and so forth. The course in Yerevan taught me that these goals are surreal and surpass the goal: the goal is to alter the public mentality, not statistics. Logically, the issue also consists of verbal discrimination, but to be honest, that falls into an entirely different category than ‘gender issues’ itself. The role of discrimination based on differences is a lot greater!
A resolution should be a legislative element implemented in society to meliorate a problematic situation. I think the solution many companies have adopted is the best, survey both what men and women want, and tailor your regulations to that — it’s all about democracy after all. I think an understanding of how to appease two or more parties in negotiations would be one of the most useful skills, as this also helps to rule out the problem of discrimination itself (on a small scale). I think the problem with public education in the field of gender issues in Western Europe is that it is focused mostly on the consequences for women. I, and many others, think the problem persists for both genders. Men can feel discriminated on the basis of their gender as well. The issue should be approached as something mutual/communal; not something merely problematic for women.
Gita Getaute Sveicare (Latvia)
For me the project was about kindness, tolerance, inner values and emotions. Before training I was confident about this topic. I was sure that I know all the indicators and signs that indicates belonging to specific groups or orientation (sexual or gender). In my region are a lot of situations about aggression and misunderstandings in case of difference (either way of thinking or sexual orientation and non-tolerant attitude). It was wonderful experience and opportunity to meet colleagues from different countries and sharing so big working range and categories. Thank you. Hope to have similar opportunity in future.
Roman Hajduk (United Kingdom)
A few months before I was attending another training course, where I needed to find and understand myself and that one became a good foundation for the training in Armenia. In Armenia I received more experience, created new contacts and my network is bigger now. I will be also back soon with my photography project.
From 2-nd to 10-th of October Armenian Progressive Youth NGO together in cooperation with MOJU – Associação Movimento Juvenil em Olhão from Portugal will be co-hosting the international Partnership Building Activity bringing together 30 youth workers in Yerevan to discuss the challenges young people face in the job market and the methods they can use to become a competitive job seeker and an employee.
At the same time the project is focused on supporting, inspiring and engaging young people from Europe to develop their social leadership skills, take up a civic responsibility and act as a change-maker in their own communities. During the project participants will share the best practices and success stories on combating youth unemployment in their own countries and communities as well as research and discover job opportunities accessible for all participant countries, receive the respective input from trainers and experts, make field visits and group discussions. In the end of the training course participants will create a contemporary method that will be used to empower young job seekers to find jobs in their own local communities.
The 7-day activity aims at supporting young people in Europe who face unprecedented difficulties in finding a job.
Among the participating countries are Portugal, Armenia, Belarus, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine, Spain, Austria, Georgia, Turkey, Netherlands, Moldova, Italy and Cyprus.It is our belief that youth workers from different EU and neighboring countries can change the situation locally and internationally. Thanks to mobility projects, youngsters can meet, discuss the problems of youth unemployment, share the best practices, raise the issues of unemployment, create networks and implement projects tackling the issue in their local communities and on an international level.
After several years of project experience and work with so-called difficult youngsters, adolescents with challenging behavior Armenian Progressive Youth NGO (Armenia) and Föreningen Framtidståget(Sweden) have recognized that often we speak about important world issues and try to influence global problems, but do not notice, that our relationship with the world very much depends on the relationship with our nearest people.
Santa Barbara is a Training Course aiming to show the importance of personal and family relationship in young people’s future by self-reflection
and making correlations between personal life and social and political engagement.
Among others, the training contained study visits to NGOs in Armenia working on women’s rights. The visits made a great opportunity for the international participants to learn more about gender based violence in Armenia, and to share the situations in their countries with the group. Another session was focused on non-violence communication, which were both practical and theoretical exercises. Naturally, the schedule also allowed to dive into Armenian culture such as visiting the Pagan temple in Garni, which was followed with a traditional dinner in an Armenian family.
One of the participants, Laura Reisele from Latvia, said that for her the training course was about self-development and self-awareness, getting deeper into one’s personal issues, unsolved problems and conflicts which we can see and observe mostly in the family. During this week in Armenia we tried not just to explore others, their cultures, but also ourselves. ”I enjoyed our gender related discussions in order to tackle the topic, life stories and the friendly atmosphere all around. It was a sincere place – cocoon – where from tears and happiness new butterflies learned to fly.”
Another participant, Iryna Azaranka from Sweden, said that her main impression was that the course was very good balanced from the beginning to the end. It was just right amount of knowledge and sightseeing. “Also”, she continues, “I liked the involvement with the locals, when we had to really start discussions to answer the city game questions. Some of the methods used were very interesting. For an example on patterns of communications, it has already been useful in my personal life”!
She described that the group contained different levels of gender awareness, which from time to time was difficult to relate to. Furthermore, she highlighted that the sightseeing to the Armenian countryside and mountains were a magnificent experience. “For me it was a calming time and also time of insights”, she adds.
Mihai Lovu from Moldova says that the training course tought him about the differences between Moldova and Armenia in stereotypes and gender issues. He also adds that he will definitely remember the people from the training. Pedro Soares from Portugal also emphasizes that he will remember the participants and that the group was a very good experience.