Under One Roof
The participation of the representatives of Assistance and Programs for Sustainable Development – Agenda 21 Organization in the international study visit “Youth Participation and Critical Consumption: sharing ideas for a responsible life-style” (Youth project that took place during the period 29th of May – 5th of June 2006 in Chieti, region Abruzzo, Italy) brought on behalf of the Polish organization „Motyka” the invitation to participate in a new Youth project : „Under one roof”.
Therefore, during the period 18th– 28th of September 2006, the Stowarzyszenie Inicjatyw Niemozliwych „Motyka” organization planned the project „Pod jednym dachem” („Under one roof”),located in Gorzo, a city in Poland. The main theme of the 10 days-exchange was the use of stereotypes, the intercultural differences, while the project was trying to ease the understanding of other nations’ culture, to practice the cooperation and the opinion confrontation among the youngsters.
The 24 participants represented their non-governmental organizations from 4 countries: Stowarzyszenie Inicjatyw Niemozliwych „Motyka” (Poland) – main coordinator of the project - Pawel Chrustowski, Europa-Direkt e.V. Dresden (Germany)- coordinator Jana Schiffner, the Zilina Group– Ziku (Slovakia) – coordinator Juraj Bardy and Assistance and Programs for Sustainable Development – Agenda 21 (Romania) - coordinator Ioana Craescu. Assistance and Programs for Sustainable Development – Agenda 21 was represented by 6 young persons: Ruxandra Copaceanu, Ioana Ţica-Horvath, Andrei Boeru, Andra- Mirona Dragotesc, Sorina Slusarec and Ioana Craescu, all full of energy and creative spirit.
The main task of the youth exchange was to respond to the questions: what are the stereotypes and how often do we apply them? What are the differences between the culture of my country the other countries’ cultures and how could I understand them better? What does being tolerant mean?
Attempting to solve these dilemmas constituted the daily challenge of the project. The trainers organized role plays, icebreakers, exercises of confrontation and discussion, workshops of creation and debate, games that not only simulated, but also applied team work and the competition-characteristic concentration. The participants worked according to a very well organized schedule that clearly programmed each activity.
The participants also included in the work seminars the meeting of the teenage students of the high school in Gorzno – the location of the project. The youngsters visited the institution to discuss the theme of the project also outside the training camp – for this visit the teenagers prepared drawings to illustrate one representative person from the countries invited (Romania, Slovakia and Germany). This exercise spotlighted how easy it is to use the stereotypes when describing other nationalities besides yours.
In 4 out of the 10 days of the project all the representatives of the invited countries and Poland, the organizer, were asked to prepare a cultural evening, through which they could present their own national characteristics, so that the participants from the other areas of Europe would understand how life is beyond their borders, what are he local traditions, what one could visit, etc.
The final requirement of the project was the making of a movie, a newspaper and a theatre play. To accomplish these, the whole group was divided in the second day of the project in 3 different heterogeneous groups, made up of representatives mixed up from all the participant countries. Each team had, from that moment on, a daily time schedule deciding when to gather and to work for the individual requirement of the group. This thing did not stop the general cooperation of the entire 24 member-team, because the numerous seminars, games, creative competitions, daily debates were accomplished having all the 3 groups united.
The last day presentation of the materials realized by the teams from the beginning of the camp (the movie, the theatre play and the newspaper) was held in from of the teenagers from the Gorzo high school, who already got used to the presence of the youth exchange participants in their community.
The project ““Under one roof” successfully reached its objectives and facilitated the connection between the participants, who proposed to apply for new projects during 2007 at the European Commission or the European Council. The future host, proposed by most of the participants to this project, was Romania.