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Raise your V.O.I.C.E. 3 (Valorising, Objective, Investigation, of a Changing Europe)
Start date: Jun 1, 2016, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

It is high time for young people to take in their hands the initiative for media literacy and fair representation of the minority groups, as well as to become active citizens in promoting diversity and multiculturality. This is the reason why the youth exchange "Raise Your V.O.I.C.E. 3" strives to bring and connect together 36 young people from 6 European countries (Austria, Macedonia, Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Portugal), and give them the opportunity to focus on the ways media portrays the minorities across our communities and countries, especially in regard to ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, LGBT and people with disabilities. Through non-formal learning methods, 30 young people along with their 6 group leaders will examine what does it mean to be part of a certain minority through direct communication with the representatives concerned by recognizing how media builds the image of "the others" in our communities. Moreover, they will attempt using the methods of backpack and citizen journalism to try to develop stories representing the minorities and bringing them closer to youth around Europe.Together with the Mladiinfo Austria team as the hosting organization, the group of young media enthusiasts is to come in Vienna, Austria from 28th of October until 2nd of November, 2016 and explore the local environment in the city of Vienna. Austria in the last year presented an important station for the refugees, receiving around 70,000 asylum applications (Asylum information Database). As such, Vienna will present a destination where a lot of stories and views can be extracted, not only from the native inhabitants, but also from the newly granted citizens. In this environment, the participants will be able to experience and reflect on the multiculturalism as a really important European value. Vienna is the center of multiculturalism in Central Europe, a home for different minority groups, a crossroad of different cultures, ethnicities, religions and beliefs, and also a new home for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers out of our continent.The group armed with backpacks filled with simple journalistic equipments will talk with locals and representatives of minority organizations and see how this multicultural and multilingual region functions and works, and what are the stories of struggle or success of the different persons belonging to the different groups that are living here. Participants will as well have the hours where they can also discuss, share, compare and debate on what are the societal outlooks to minorities and their status as marginalized groups in their local communities, and gain the cognition and wisdom of objective reporting which they can use for promoting tolerance and inclusion. They will be encouraged to start reporting on minorities from their countries before the exchange and build a portfolio with materials for work as well as present the media scene in regard to minority issues to their peers from other countries. Further on, they are to produce a diverse set of photos, videos and audio materials which will be used for elaborating the concrete final products of the youth exchange, i.e. media products which will amplify the voice of the marginalized communities in Austria and partner countries. All produced articles will be featured as original web-contents to the webpage that reaches thousands of young people across Europe and beyond on monthly basis and these will stand as true food-for-thought and powerful enough to shift opinions and change hearts and minds. The impact created can be only enhanced with the sharing of the contents to the web-pages of run by our partner organization in Italy, as well as on the websites of our partners in Germany and Portugal, making a perfect on-line unity of contents towards social inclusion on minorities and positive attitude towards each and every person as equal in our contemporary world. The working methods that are planned for this youth exchange are aimed at both young people with some journalistic experience and those without. Participants will succeed as long as they are eager to face the challenge of being dropped into a new environment, working creatively with a team and using simple audio/photo/video devices or just their smartphones to interview locals. The techniques that participants will practice in Austria can easily be transferred back to their home countries resulting simultaneously in a higher level of social inclusion and dialog promoted by the youth for youth.
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