Date: 3rd– 11th September and 15th – 22nd October 2017
Country/City:Vilnius, Lithuania and Yerevan, Armenia
What was the main topic of the event?
Mirjam Ait:The main topic was migration challenges in Europe and tackling the integration process of refugees. The project was organized by the Youth To Youth Initiative and the aim was to share good practices and tools on refugees and migrants integration processes, to build the capacity of youth workers to combat hate speech towards migrants, misinformation about refugees and xenophobic discourse. The project involved about 30 participants from 16 European countries: Lithuania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Armenia, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine.
What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?
Mirjam Ait:This project was quite diverse in offering different activities. The first part took place in Lithuania and consisted mostly of lectures and workshops about refugee and migration issues in Europe. The biggest learning moment was definitely hearing what the researchers on this topic had to say. The lecturers included lawyers, scientists, different people who had worked with ex-extremists etc. So when they put down the facts and numbers, we could see really clearly how the media portrays a completely different picture and spears false information. So that was really an eye-opener for everybody.
The second part took place in Armenia. It was basically a study visit, which means that during the week we visited different organisations working with migrants and refugees, starting from youth organisations and ending with UNHCR. I never knew how much hard work and effort Armenians put into helping the migrants. So during this part I definitely learned a lot about the warm-heartedness of the people of this nation. But it also made me realize how much we could learn from the example of Armenia.
Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?
Mirjam Ait:As I am currently not active in social or youth work, it is difficult to say whether I’ll wok in this field sometime in the future. But on the other hand this project had so much to offer knowledge-wise so that it’s not just information that only youth workers come across. The migration issue is a hot topic all around Europe these days so sharing my experience and knowledge and letting people know the dangers of media illiteracy is already a big step from my part into making Europe a more inclusive place for everybody.
Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?
Mirjam Ait:Definitely recommend! The organizers from Y2Y are super professional and inspiring people that really know how to motivate young people into becoming more active and voicing their opinions. They offered the participants immense knowledge and practical skills in so many different fields: youth work, but also project developing, social media and marketing etc. Y2Y connects a whole network of active people all around the globe so it is definitely worth looking into more of their projects.
More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!
Mirjam Ait:Firstly, I would thank NÜH for sharing these great project participating opportunities with young people in Estonia. And secondly, I would encourage you to take part in all sorts of different projects even though you might be hesitant in choosing the right one. I entered the Inclusive Europe project with not too many expectations, but in the end I gained more knowledge and skills than I would have imagined.
It is also a great way to learn about different cultures and meet different people. The more you see the world, the more tolerant and understanding you become about others!
This Project was financed by European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme