From Europe with Love
Start date: May 1, 2015,
End date: Sep 30, 2015
The project “From Europe with Love” took place in Belgium, from the 03/07/2015 until the 11/07/2015. Participating countries were: Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Spain, Bulgaria, Estonia, Turkey and Belgium. 48 participants + 10 leaders were involved in this project. Youngsters living in more difficult financial/ political – religious situations were involved, allowing them to have a rich intercultural experience and letting them sharing their stories and opinions.
The project took place in Brussels for the first days and then the youngsters stayed in a campsite in the Ardens (Chassepierre). Therefore they discovered different parts of Belgium, from a more developed and noisy city to a more quiet and rural area.
Being the 2015 the “European Year of Development Cooperation”, the main topic was Solidarity: all together we tried to understand that solidarity is a must because we are not alone in this world and we need to help each other for a better development, both in small and bigger scale. Participants were “educated” to solidarity (local, national, international), that is to say to a way of life and a way of thinking and doing that is open to the dialogue, to the pluralism. Next to this, we raised awareness about another main topic: EU & social awareness - which supported the first topic. Debates, outdoor activities, workshops, national evenings, visit to the European Parliament in Brussels, sports, evaluation moments and and lots of energizers were done in order to reach our objectives. Mainly non-formal methods were used, but also more informal moments contributed to the achievement of our goals, for example singing around the campfire. In the end, the Manifest of Chassepierre (=of Solidarity) was issued. Participants learned to be tolerant, to foster solidarity and to respect social and cultural differences. An important epiphany was that thanks to solidarity, not only what is around us develops better/ faster, but there is also a personal development that make us better people. Participants also improved their ability to work in a group, their creativity and their sense of being a European citizen. Undoubtedly, the soft-skills they acquired and/or improved may have a significant impact on their private, school and future work life, since they will start to come out from their comfort zone and try to be more flexible. We are sure that such a positive experience may even influence them to travel more abroad, to learn a foreign language or to take part in an Erasmus or EVS in the future.
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