Youth For European Solidarity – YES, YOUTH EXCHANGE, 4 – 14 October 2021
EKO is happy to announce the successful completion of one more amazing youth exchange project in which its members participated with enthusiasm. The project under the title “’Youth for European Solidarity – YES” united 72 young participants from France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and the Netherlands. It has been coordinated by the French Organization NUWA GROUP and took place in Athens, Greece from October 4 to 13, 2021. The project aimed to equip young people coming from different EU countries and different socioeconomic & cultural backgrounds with the necessary knowledge, attitudes & skills to face challenges related to European Solidarity.
- To facilitate the creative interaction of young people from different EU countries that would lead to awareness of their common European values, common historical influences that shape their cultures, common goals and challenges they face as citizens of Europe, thus enhancing their sense of unity and solidarity.
- To provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions on important social issues affecting youth lives and the future, such as high unemployment rates and social inequalities, as well as the danger of a new socioeconomic crisis due to coronavirus.
- To reflect on the state of European solidarity among Member States, address the EU’s response to the current health crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, and explore ways to protect and reinvigorate the “union” in Europe.
- To trigger the development of a strong commitment to protecting European solidarity & stability, and active participation of youth-led efforts that aim to tackle current challenges.
During the 10 days of the project, the participants got the chance to take part in a series of interactive and creative activities, discussions, team building and role-play games, through non-formal education activities.
The first day was devoted to ice-breaking activities, enabling participants to get to know each other and feel comfortable and confident in the team.
Day 2 was dedicated to the presentation of the project and to building a strong bond among the participants. The French team facilitated a workshop on exploring our feelings. The day closed with the first intercultural evening where the teams of France, Lithuania and the Netherlands welcomed the participants with food, drinks games, music and dances specific from each country.
On day 3, the Italian team organized an activity focusing on the creativity of the participants expressing themselves through drawing. The participants worked together in a creative way discovering the EU and its values, the similarities and differences of these values among the different countries.
On Day 4, the participants had some free time to explore Athens and to feel the vibes of the Greek capital city.
During the fifth day, the Romanian team prepared activities on the knowledge of the European Union. Through art, theatre and words, the participants addressed the rights and the responsibilities of a European citizen and the big problems that Europe faces. They discovered the benefits of Youthpass. The day closed with one more intercultural evening where the teams of Romania, Italy and Greece invited participants to live unforgettable moments through food, dance, and good cheer.
On Day 6, participants planned the local activities, and then they learnt about the various available projects of Erasmus+ and of the European Solidarity Corps program, their benefits and opportunities.
On Day 7 a cultural visit took place in the Stavros Niarchos foundation/cultural center, where participants were invited to compare different elements of European culture and identities with the support of guided tours.
On Day 8, participants organized an outdoors activity in the city center on the importance of recycling and environmental protection. Participants were divided into 3 teams (an artistic team, a team of reporters and a cleaning team), to raise citizens’ environmental awareness.
On Day 9, participants worked outdoors to produce videos for the project dissemination, which were followed by a simulation game.
The last day was devoted to the evaluation of the project, where constructive feedback was processed by the participants followed by an open discussion on the benefits of the project and on a potential follow up.