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De Karavaan
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The socio-artistic organisation Madam Fortuna from Antwerp, Belgium and the sociocultural organisation MIR from Skopje, Macedonia organize a youth exchange program for young Roma and non-Roma musicians. The program is situated in the socio-artistic project 'De Karavaan', which, through music and theatre, finds a way into the Roma community, on an interurban (Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels) and a European level (Skopje, R. Macedonia), and wants to stimulate the integration of and dialogue about the Roma community in Europe. The exchange program enrols 24 participants, all between the ages of 17 and 27 (half of them Roma, half of them non-Roma). They will dispose of a non-formal learning environment that wields a process-based socio-artistic work method. Given an adequate framework and accompaniment, provided by Roma and non-Roma coaches (3 social coaches, 3 artistic coaches, 1 coordinator), the practices of joint musicianship and theatre experiment connect communities and enhance intercultural awareness and social cohesion. During the program, moments of non-formal learning (through music and theatre) are combined with an amount of informal moments, sufficient to broaden dialogue, acquaintance, and mutual learning on a personal level. The participants work together towards a qualitative presentation for a live audience. Thus an emancipatory force grows, which can lead the participants to self-empowerment, and heighten their self-esteem. The presentation will depict and comment on the working process and its social challenges, tell a musical story (with theatrical interludes) about the meeting between Roma and non-Roma, and pose questions on European Citizenship. The exchange program takes place between 28/06/2015 and 12/07/2015, in the Ardennes of Wallonia, Belgium, in a residence with good accommodation and opportunities to peacefully extend a social, musical and theatrical trajectory, with surroundings that offer interesting extracurricular activities (prospection during Advance Planning Visit). The moments of presentation take place on 08/07 and 10/07 in the cities of Brussels and Antwerp, and are locally and nationally communicated, via several media, on the basis of a communication plan. After the youth exchange program, the lead organizes a final evaluation, focusing on method; socio-artistic as well as production and concerning dissemination. Attentions are put to use in the further co-operation. With this exchange program, MIR and Madam Fortuna want to make a durable connection between Roma and non-Roma, locally and internationally, between participants and organisations. The choice of building good practice between the Roma and non-Roma communities and organisations, gives 'De Karavaan' a clear voice in the international debate on Roma issues. In order to live up to this, MIR and Madam Fortuna join forces to achieve international dissemination of ideas and methods. Both organisations are dedicated to strengthen the European Citizenship of a vulnerable group by ways of meeting, creation and debate.

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