Last month we became participants of our first international youth exchange and right the harder one – training course with interesting title The Power of Human Rights. It took place at unique woody surroundings of the international youth meeting centre House Across Borders in Lommel, Belgium. The project involved 2 youth workers from 13 European countries, such as Greece, Portugal, Moldova, Lithuania or Romania.
First evening we struggled with remembering our names following by a series of activities aimed to get to know each other and we definitely broke the ice with laughing yoga session the day after. We have an amazing time on our intercultural evening, where each country brought or prepared tasty and most known traditional dishes, shared some interesting facts and afterwards clarified the organizational background they were coming from. As representatives from Slovakia it could not be missing Horalky, Mila or circle waffles from Slovakian spa on our table. Fortunately, people were really delighted tasting them and soon there was nothing left.
However, it was not only about fun. Our main motivation for this course was to step out of our comfort zone and get in touch with people across the different countries and cultural backgrounds. And of course, to be forced to speak English and improve it as much as possible. And we did it all! During the course we visited local refugee centre in Lommel, experienced its infrastructure, kindly spoke with some refugees who liked to share their life stories and learned something about Belgian asylum system set in European Refugee policy.
We have gained a lot of knowledge in the topic of human rights via unforgettable retold stories of fallen soldiers as we visited the biggest German War Grave Cemetery in Eastern Europe situated right next to our House. Through varied debates with our new friends we got closer to the basic idea of universal right to life, health care, freedom of expression or movement and strengthened our natural attitude against racism. Our final outcome consisted of creating own workshop based on human rights problematics to present single aspects before invited laymen as interactively as possible. In a nutshell we have learnt to respectfully listen to words of others, improved our patience and organizational skills as we tried to manage our time and correct mutually different opinions to create the best workshop plan we could.
Furthermore, my younger sister reached her birthday during the last project day, so we kept in secret our plan we put together to celebrate it after the official programme finished. It was an amazing party with multiple voice “happy birthday” singing, where no one could stay untouched… We wished her all the best and enjoyed delicious chocolate cake voluntarily baked by one of our ladies participants husband. No words were needed, tears of happiness were falling and impressive moments with these beautiful people – friends and colleague, and all the memories or lovely experience will remain in our minds very long after as well as a new desire to experience something similar soon!
Therefore, we would like to thank you, Youth for Equality, for this stunning opportunity and strongly recommend it to any youngster – it is worth all the effort!
Ajka & Emka