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Open Doors
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In many different ways, young people from all backgrounds live in precarious circumstances. Some face pronounced, extended and multiple challenges. All need some level of support, and support in strengthening their autonomy. While enjoying new opportunities enabled through new technologies and digital media, the expansion of educational opportunities, access to information and more, they also face risk and uncertainty. These include qualification inflation, rising unemployment, conflict and war, threats to mental and physical well-being, debt and poverty, social inequality and exclusion, and a lack of suitable housing. Youth work is about cultivating the imagination, initiative, integration, involvement and aspiration of young people. Its principles are that it is educative, empowering, participative, expressive and inclusive. Through activities, playing and having fun, campaigning, the information exchange, mobility, volunteering, association and conversation, it fosters their understanding of their place within, and critical engagement with their communities and societies. Youth work helps young people to discover their talents, and develop the capacities and capabilities to navigate an ever more complex and challenging social, cultural and political environment. Youth work supports and encourages young people to explore new experiences and opportunities; it also enables them to recognise and manage the many risks they are likely to encounter.With the “Open doors” project we would like to study one of the unique youth work examples in Europe: Aventura Marão Clube (AMC) who runs Casa de Juventude Amarante (CJ), a unique example of sustainable youth center and co-management system working at local level. CJ was initially opened as local youth center, and it is the first and the only example when NGO runs and develops a municipal property. At the moment CJ offers the following opportunities for young people: participation in the local activities for the benefit of the community, educational programmes for personal and professional development, promotes fair trade, and promotes a sustainable life style, for ex: all the food is eco, grown in the garden of CJ with the help of local and international volunteers, all electricity comes from solar batteries, almost everything is recycled together with the young people of Amarante. Apart from the local youthwork CJ is open for international cooperation, they host international events and work a lot under Erasmus + programme. Having such a youth center is a dream for many youth NGOs, as this not just a place for meetings of young people, but also a link between young people other stakeholders and a huge learning opprtunity. Two years ago, Case de Juventude got a quality label from Council of Europe. Apart from exploring CJ as a study case, their way of running and maintaining the youth center, we will also explore some of their projects such as sustainable garden, innovative ways of being transparent for all stakeholders and the community, street activities, fair trade projects etc. Particpants of this Study Visit will also get a chance for partnership-building and for planning common new initiative. Moreover, there will be an opportunity to learn from the local youth initiatives and street work, as well as to share other experience of successful youth engagement practices in Europe. As a result of this project we see empowerment of youth workers to implement the practices of CJ in their realities, that will lead to better quality of youth work and better relationships with authorities and institution and as a result to recognition of youth activities. In addition, other expected outcomes are developed follow up ideas and developing of new partnerships.Link to Erasmus + objectives:• improve the level of key competences and skills, with particular regard to their relevance for the labour market and their contribution to a cohesive society, in particular through increased opportunities for learning mobility and through strengthened cooperation between the world of education and training and the world of work; • foster quality improvements, innovation excellence and internationalisation at the level of education and training institutions, in particular through enhanced transnational cooperation between education and training providers and other stakeholders; • equipping youth workers with competences and methods needed for transferring the common fundamentalvalues of our society particularly to the hard to reach young people and preventing violent radicalisation of young people as well.
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