Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Youth exchange (YE)
Venue: Offenbach, Germany
Dates: 23 – 31 October 2018
Participants: Magdaléna Zvonková, Michael Navrátil, Petr Jančář, Thuy Linh Tran (Linda), Tereza Havlíčková
Participating countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Palestine, Turkey, Kosovo, Czech Republic, Germany
Hosting organisation: Intercultural Club-Goethe Uni
Participants’ fee: €20/participant
Guten Tag! #HumanRightsNOW!
Let me tell you about this wonderful project called Human Rights NOW! that just took place in Walldorf-Mörfelden near Frankfurt. I became a part of it with four other participants from the Czech Republic. We were hosted by a German organisation called Intercultural Club-Uni whose members became our awesome organizators. Said and Esad prepared a really interactive welcoming evening (and a very detailed and productive schedule) for all of the 36 participants from 6 countries – Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Palestine and Turkey.
Through a variety of teambuilding activities, icebreakers and fun games, we step by step became closer to each other as we were learning new things about other countries and broke the old prejudices and stereotypes. During the first two days, we were encouraged to work together to achieve some simple tasks such as interviewing local Germans on the topics of migration crisis and Erasmus plus. These activities helped us with finding more information about Human rights in a very entertaining and engaging way. We not only were able to deepen our knowledge on various violations of Human rights around the world (LGBTQ in Africa, etc.) but also developed a lot of skills and attitudes which will help us in future. For example, there were activities like Oxford debate forcing us to use our critical thinking and to stand for our beliefs, opinions and facts. We were also able to empathize with refugees and minorites facing oppressions as we tried some role playing to put ourselves into their shoes.
The project was very well organized into sessions with some coffee breaks in between. I think all of us enjoyed the sessions at the hotel but it was nice to make a visit of the city of Frankfurt and the Parliament of Hessen State in Wiesbaden. Everyone had a chance to walk around the city centre a couple of times to shop, have fun and explore more of the German culture. Our second trip to the city at night was the one to remember because no one really understood how the transportation works there. We all arrived safe by the taxi and got to know each other even better while waiting at the train station playing UNO late at night.
Overall, this project has changed lives of each and every one of us. I had never thought about the difficulties refugees from Syria might face or how difficult it is for Palestinians to travel both within and out of their country. This project created a sense of responsibility of all of us to spread the awareness of Human rights violations in different countries in Europe and around the world. As the youth, we have the power to become the leaders and to make changes in our local communities and beyond. In the end also created a meaningful video with an important message in it. Everyone came up with different ideas of how to spread our message, learned about Erasmus plus programs and the last night, on the October 31, we made a little Halloween party (for some it was for the first time that they celebrated this day)!!!
Without EYCB, all the Czech participants including me would not gain SO MUCH in just a week. I came back with new connections, a strong motivation and ideas to help the world through action. It was such a pleasure to be a part of this experience.
Together, we can make a change. So keep it up!
Thuy Linh Tran (Linda)