Valeria from Moldova shares her impressions of MANDALA

Diverse! Energetic! Inspiring!

Those were the three words Valeria used to describe the Seminar in Dilijan.

From October 10 to October 17, more than 35 youngsters from 12 different countries gathered in Dilijan, Armenia, in the scope of “Managing Diversity for a more inclusive youth work” (Mandala) seminar to enhance their knowledge of the implementation of diverse and inclusive youth work.

Valeria was one of the participants from Moldova and has been volunteering at the Organisation “Youth Center for Cooperation”. This was one of the reasons why the topic of diversity and inclusion in Youth Work interested her and she decided to apply to come to Armenia. This was an amazing opportunity for her to network with people from different countries who shared her interests.

“Only by experiencing diversity, we get to acknowledge how to manage it, which is exactly what we did in Dilijan and which I couldn’t have learned on my own. Besides widening my knowledge on the topic, which I achieved in the first part of the project, I could learn more about the other participants and their cultures. That was not only relatable but profound as well.”

Furthermore, her understanding of diversity and inclusive actions “improved step by step and fact by the fact”. “I learned a bunch of new methods and techniques of how to encourage young people to participate and to engage in activities. I also learned how to properly facilitate a reflection and how important it is to debrief activities and to acknowledge objective facts.”

She also says that the impact will have a positive effect on how she approaches future activities and her work in general: “I will from now on work with people, trying to create an equal and open space for sharing and expressing. Being impressed with how the facilitators managed to do every activity with patience and guidance, I got inspired to use the same methods, pieces of advice and working techniques, so that I will have the same effect on the people that I will be working with. She says she valued the Seminar week because “it again opened her eyes to facts and realities behind cultures, behind stereotypes and of course behind people. It contained the perfect place, the perfect atmosphere, and the perfect people from which to learn, to have fun with, and to open up in a trusting way.”

“It was more than informative, it was comforting, it was a breath of fresh air, and it felt like home for 7 wonderful days! Thank you all!”

The project was implemented by Armenian Progressive Youth in collaboration with Jongeren voor Uitwisseling en Begrip (JUB). The project is funded under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.