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ECO HANDMADE: My Hobby, My Job, My Future!
Start date: Feb 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Between the 18th and 25th of April 2015, the Association of Farmers from Cristuru Secuiesc will carry out an 8 day youth exchange during which 36 unemployed youngsters from Romania, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Slovenia and Portugal, including youth coming from vulnerable backgrounds (orphans, former prisoners or drug consumers) will upcycle different objects from materials which are considered unuseful by their owners. In the planning phase of the exchange, we will divide each country for the following categories: 1. accessories (belts, bags, wallets, etc.), 2. indoor decorations, 3. outdoor decorations, 4. useful objects and 5. jewelry. They will then have to prepare at home for the exchange: experiment what kind of upcycled objects can be made in their category, how can those objects be decorated (putting on them the cultural stamp of the country), etc. The youth exchange has two main aims: help the unemployed youngsters to learn techniques and to make upcycled, handmade products which can be sold on the market, so to transform eco handmade from a hobby into an occupation, a source of income and also to promote the tutorials on the internet in order to motivate and help other youngsters to approach eco handmade as an opportunity which can bring them out from the futureless situation they are in (unemployment, poverty, marginalization) 2. to motivate the participants, the members of the local community, of the "virtual community"- the users of the internet to upcycle, to reuse the unwanted materials in order to avoid the waste of resources, the spread of artificial and enwironment damaging materials, the deterioaration of the quality of life and of the nature and to contribute to the protection of the environment and to the improvement of quality of life for the present and the future generations. In the first two days of the exchange, after getting to know one another and the theme of the project, the participants will collect used, unwanted materials from the locals. On the following 5 days the procedure will be the same: the group in charge will teach to the other groups how different jewelry, decoration or useful objects, accessories can be made from the collected materials. So in the mornings will be organized workshops during which the groups will make simple objects using upcycling as a method. Then in the afternoon each participant group (except the group of the day, which will guide and help the others) will make a tutorial on how different objects can be made step by step in the category of the day, which means that at the final of the youth exchange we will have 20 short tutorials. The participants will also share and discuss the situation of recycling in each country, will seek solutions related to how people can be motivated to recycle and practice upcycling, will run a warning campaign and an eco flash mob for the members of the local community and will hold an eco handmade workshop for local youths to motivate them to engage in handmade to get an income source and to protect the environment. During the exchange the young participants will also do language and culture exchanges so that they develop their intercultural knowledge and understanding. In the end, they will plan further cooperation in this or other topics and they will evaluate their exchange. The participants will also receive a Youthpass Certificate which will be a record of their learning achievement.
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