ABCDEFGH: After and Before. Create Digital Equality For Great Habitat
Training Course, 1 – 9 July 2022
The project under the title ‘’ABCDEFGH’’ took place in a small town of Bulgaria, called Dobrinishte, on 1/7/2022-9/7/2022 hosted by the Bulgarian Association ‘’Via Civic’’.
28 youth workers from Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Cyprus, Romania, Belgium and Greece, united in a beautiful place in nature in order to experience and learn more through non-formal activities about presentation skills, storytelling and self-empowerment.
Aims & objectives:
- Aiding NGO teams and youth workers in overcoming the negative impact of the pandemic, rethink the new reality and rediscover their own mission
- Increasing the knowledge and skills for implementing innovative approaches and practices for personal development of youths in a specific situation and effective strategies for (digital) communication (storytelling) and engaging.
- Creating an environment (off- and online) for exchanging experience and good practices for quality youth work, digital instruments, approbating the innovative training model in a local context and in regard to different groups and problems
- Promoting intercultural cooperation and working in a network when looking for solutions for motivating and supporting youths from risk groups and their digital inclusion.
The journey started with activities that helped in getting to know each other and sharing the reason that brought each participant into this project. The group was creating a safe place in which each one would feel confident expressing feelings and thoughts and sharing personal stories while receiving all the respect from the others.
At the same time, impro-theater activities helped everyone open up and feel more comfortable in the small society that was being constructed.
After all these introductory activities, it was time for the ‘’Intercultural night’’. All national groups had to improvise and present a small act, funny cultural facts, songs or dances coming from their countries.
During the first part of the second day, the participants were more focused on theatrical sessions that aimed on developing public speaking, presentation skills, but also self-empowerment. At the end of the session, each one stood in the circle starting his/her speech with the sentence: ‘’I am passionate about..’’.
The second part of the day was about self-care activities, mostly in couples, that managed to make the participants more honest with themselves and the others, but also better active listeners.
The highlight of the project and probably one of the most intense and unique experiences was the ‘’SOLO’’ experience. It all started with a hike in the mountains enjoying the beauty and the sounds of nature, but at the same time having activities-like the silent walk and the Socrates walk- that helped in reflecting on a big personal question that would preoccupy each participant during the ‘’SOLO’’. But what was this about? Staying one night totally alone in the mountains, without any supplies or distractions(like mobile phones), only with a sleeping bag. It was a night of reflection under the starry sky in a beautiful mountainous landscape. It was a night of peace and freedom.
After the sunrise, the participants reunited around the fire and a bit later they started hiking back to the hotel.
The rest of the day was dedicated to the participants sharing in a circle the brave experiences of the ‘’SOLO’’ night and receiving kind comments from the others.
It was the morning during which the participants took the lead in the ‘’Knowledge café’’, a market place on which they exchanged ideas, methods and tools through workshops organized by themselves.
In the afternoon, they had the opportunity to learn more about storytelling, the ‘’Hero’s journey’’ and other methods. It was a preparation for an activity that would take place on the last day of the project.
The day started with the participants taking a train in the beautiful mountains of Rhodope.
It was all about hiking, having deep discussions, picnicking in nature and after all these enjoying Smolevo and the warm welcome of its villagers.
The end of this excursion found the participants going back by train, while they were dancing in the wagons.
The final curtain fell in the most unique way: TedTalk. Each participant shared his/her own easy or more difficult life story in front of the circle. It was one of the most emotional moments which made the storytellers connect even more with each other, but at the same time become more self-confident on a personal level.
It was a 7-day life experience in nature in which the participants learnt new things and realized their inner self through interacting with each other.
As EKO, we are very grateful and we thank Deiana & Plamena from Via Civic for making this project happen and offering all participants an amazing educational experience and lots of wonderful memories! Special thanks to the trainers Vihra, Nasko, Zlatin for making this project so special and for giving all their amazing energy and calmness into every session.
Last but not least, a big thank you to EKO team – Lydia, Zeta, Sotiris, Konstantina and Virginia – for being so open-minded, motivated, passionate and active and for giving the project’s backbone a heart!