Programme: ERASMUS+: Youth, Key Action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Moravske Toplice, Slovenia
Dates: 9—19 August 2021
Please read the info-pack.
Participating countries: Slovenia, Portugal, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Bulgaria and Poland
Hosting organisation: Association Connect
Czech team: Tomáš Kabát, Martin Samek, Šárka Krejsová, Lukáš Radovanský, Kristýna Filipová
Youth Exchange Rise For Your Rights took place from 9.8 to 19.8. nearby small village Hodos in Slovenia (By the way the only country in the world with sLOVEnia in its name). Suppose, you were travelling through Austria, you could have visited gorgeous historic city Maribor, the closest bigger city in this particular region. Accommodation was not expensive. It was something like a house for youngsters with bungalows, in German: Jugendherberge. On the other hand, the place where this house was located was terrific. We spent ten days surrounded only by deep Hungarian forests from the North and mellowing corn fields from the South. Hodos, the village I mentioned above, has only a few buildings and isolation from the light pollution has been almost perfect. Perhaps thanks to this complete isolation our group made a very unique and strong bond. When we were staring at falling stars one evening I had a feeling that we have known each other ever since.
The topic of the project (one could have guessed from the name) has been human rights. For those who might be interested in a very quick recap on this topic I recommend this link to the official website of the United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal declaration-of-human-rights.
You might be still living in the illusion of the European world of the twenty-first century that human rights are protected. However, do not forget it was Europe where the cruel genocide Holocaust happened. And it was not long ago! Human rights are endangered all the time in all places and it is our duty to stand out of the crowd and fight to protect them. Thanks to diversity in our group, discussions have been so unique. Rao, Italian student of technical university from Pakistan, Jane, girl from Nigeria currently living in Italy, Duygu, Kurdish girls whose father is being haunted in Turkey because of his political opinions, Asma from Somalia, girls from Poland, Portuguese, Italiens, Czechs, Slovenians. All of us have such different roots, however, all of us were at the end of the day the same.
I would like to share with you a very touching story. Asma, a twenty one years old tiny girl, always laughing, modest and always willing to help. Not even in dreams would I guess what she has come through. When she was 16, she should have gone to female genitial mutilation in her village. More than half of the girls who underwent this surgery died. Her parents helped her to escape to Libya, where she had to cross the desert hiding from terrorists trying to survive freezing nights and unbearably hot days. After a year she finally crossed the sea to Europe and now she studies in Italy. She is only 21, one year younger than me and most likely than you and she came through more horror than any other person.
I am sorry for writing more about stories than the project itself. But this project was about stories of life. Most of the time we discussed and shared our points of view. In Poland for example there is a problem with hate against LGBT community. There are some villages which have signs LGBT free zones prohibiting people from this community from entering. Again against the human rights agreement and yet the current Polish president won elections
because of this. In Poland! In 2015! In middle Europe! In Pakistan homosexuality is classified as a disease and you go to hospital if they find out. In Somalia they might even kill you.
I would like to write something positive at the end. The project was awesome, I have been on some before and this one was very unique. The only thing which was not perfect were the organisators. They did not prepare anything and they did not want to spend money on us. However, maybe this was the reason why we made such a strong friendships. We proved that we can solve the situation and most of the workshops we did by ourselves. And that was terrific! Even if the organisation fails remember, the project is not the organisation, projects are the people!
Kristýna Filipová and Lukáš Radovanský