Just show love and respect

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[This article is written by Kaloyan and Reni – the Bulgarian participants in the Training Course in Austria 12-19. August 2018 within the project ALL IN. It reflects their personal experience during the training. ]

In the summer of 2018 we were selected to participate in the All In project and spend a week in the town of Deutschlandsberg, Austria. Thanks to the Bulgarian Center for Lifelong Learning (BCLL) we have been pleased to be part of this exciting and challenging project. In our role as youth workers and volunteers, it has always been exciting for us to meet people from different countries and to find out more about their lives, culture and habits. We spent seven days in which we met with smiling, positive and friendly people from eight European countries.

The work during the project was a great pleasure but also a challenge. The four cutting edge modules which suit the requirements to the current trends in social inclusion were selected very precisely. Every day we had different workshops and tasks related to testing training modules for trainerswho work with young people excluded from society.

On the first day we met the participants in non-formal environment. Everyone had to present themselves and tell what they are doing and what interests they have. The second day we started our training with getting to know each other activities and presentation of our expectations, fears and contributions. This day we learned the key competences of the youthpass certificate with a very interesting and funny method. During this day in group work, we also created “our”working definitions for inclusive youth work, which we “revised” on the following days as we were progressing with the theory and practice during the week.

The next day, we went deeper into the theme of “Inclusive Youth Work”. We had different tasks on which we worked divided into several teams. In this way, we managed to get to know each other even more. We discussed concepts such as intersectionality and power. Using non-formal methods and workshops, we have been put on the place of people who are socially excluded for one reason or another. The privilege walk has shown us that we can not always control the things around us and that we are so fragile and that everything can happen to everyone.

One of the days was dedicated to the intercultural evening. It was organized very creative because everyone had to present something traditional to his country but also to state “3 reasons why you should not visit your country …. It was very interesting for us to present some typical Bulgarian products and to find out if the participants’ reactions when they try something new. It was interesting for us to learn some traditional Scottish dance and try the taste of Spanish snails in a spicy sauce and tasty Italian wine.

In the next few days, we practiced methods of working with various social groups – refugees, people with disabilities, poor people, homeless people, and others. Each group presented its work on a preferable topic. For all participants was unforgettable moment when the organizers surprised us by visiting a traditional Austrian dinner with beautiful view and a pleasant atmosphere – the Buschenschank wine bar.

The third module included even more in-depth work on the challenges and characteristics of youth workers. We became acquainted with the The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and we have widely discussed how much governments and local authorities around the world respect it and adhere it. This module has helped us as a youth workers to evaluate how inclusive our NGO is and how it can become more accessible to a wider audience?

The last module gave a logical conclusion to our work during the week. We developed specific strategies for more effective youth work at local level. The management of the resources at our disposal has also been affected both theoretically and in practice.The last day was dedicated to our personal reflection of what we have learned so far. We also made a final evaluation of the overall organization of the project and its activities. Very impressive and emotional was the featured video related to our stay in Austria. As part of the project, we had a farewell party that was very interesting and fun, but a little sad because we were about to go back home.

For us the days spent in Deutschlandsberg will remain unforgettable. New friendships and positive emotions too. We have learnt many things from the TC. What is the most important thing for us is that you only need to show love and respect. All people in Deutschlandsberg were so energetic, full of power, smiling and funny. If we have the opportunity to participate again in such well organized project and to learn new things about inclusive youth work, we would immediately go without even thinking about it. Thank you BCLL and YIP!

By KaloyanTsvetkov and Reni Stoyanova,

Sofia, 31.08.2018