„Culture crash: celebrate diversity“ is the name of the youth exchange project we took part in Rakičan (Murska Sobota) in the Slovenian region of Pomurje, from 2nd to 11th of September 2019. The project included 37 young participants from Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Greece and Italy, from 17 to 30 years old and it was funded by the European Commission programme „Youth in Action“, which is part of Erasmus¬+, the official programme for youth, training, education and sport.
The aim of the project was to make us more aware of the existence and role of minorities, to banish stereotypes that are steered towards them and to increase tolerance between each other. We got to know the Roma and Hungarian minorities in the region of Prekmurje in Slovenia, life near the borders and the cultures that inhabit the same space. At the end of the project, we were expected to familiarize ourselves with minorities in our countries, to be encouraged to participate in similar projects and to spread tolerance and knowledge of human rights.
As usual within youth exchanges, the working methods were icebreakers, energizers, team/group work, interactive and creative workshops, open space workshops, discussions, evaluation, role playing, informal gatherings, local visits, guest visits, etc.
Among the many activities we have taken part in, there were presentations about minorities (ethnic, cultural, sexual, etc.) in each country, visits to Lendava, Roma village in Pušća and to the intergenerational house Hiša sadeži družbe and also to the host city of Murska Sobota.
The participants of each group did a presentation about the most important minorities in their country. The aim was to acknowledge the different attitude of society and government towards minorities, how they adapt in their hometowns and to think about diversity and stereotypes
Martina and Annamaria (Italy): „There are so many differences between countries. Italy is really different than Slovenia; Roma community is homeless, jobless and sometimes illegal and they dont speak Italian at all. In Slovenia they live like other people and society recognize their need to live a normal life.“
The most interesting part of the project were the activities. First night we organised international cuisine market. Every team showed and shared their most known local dishes and drinks.
Ema (Lithuania): „It was a really good idea to compare each countrys national food. I loved that Romanians were so good prepared and i liked their food a lot. It was a great way to start our project and to get to know each other.“
We had different energizers and exciting team work every day. Also, we visited many interesting places. Lendava, which is the most multicultural town in the region, was the first trip we made. The Municipality of Lendava hosted us and showed us a short presentation about their city and their work. Next trip was to Roma village Pušća, where we spent a day with local kids in their community center. We had the chance to listen about the villages history and the first people who lived there. It was a great experience to interact with Roma kids through creative, sport and cooking workshops.
Dafni (Greece): „I think that was the best experience I had so far because I was given the opportunity to learn things about Roma people in Slovenia and also compare the living conditions they have here to our countrys. The activities with kids inspired me to be a better person and to understand that our origin is not that important because after all, we are all people with the same rights and needs.“
At the end of each day, every national team had the opportunity to present their country in their own personal way. Besides the history, geography and other serious facts, we saw many traditional dances, played games and sang popular songs.
Sara (Croatia): „I think people really tried to introduce their countries to other participants with colorful presentations, national dances and games. Lithuanian traditional wedding intrigued me the most. It was very funny.“
After these ten days, we lived so many experiences together that we felt like one big family. We have learned a lot of things from each other and enjoyed every single moment of the Youth Exchange. This project widened our horizons and many of us have plans to keep applying to similar projects. Our perspective towards minorities changed a lot and we will have a more active role in the empowerment of these communities in each of our countries.
Tim (Slovenia). „I think the project was very inspiring and I have learned a lot of new things about all the minorities in Slovenia and other countries. I would recommend to people of my age a project like this, especially if it is the first the time for them: they would meet new people, cultures and maybe gain new lifetime friends.“
Več informacij o mladinskih izmenjavah: http://www.movit.si/erasmus-mladi-v-akciji/mladinske-izmenjave/
RIS DVOREC RAKIČAN
Asociatia SUPER TINERI (ASIRYS) - Romania
Asociacija TAVO EUROPE - Lithuania
Udruga za razvoj civilnog društva "EU korak" - Croatia
UNITED SOCIETIES OF BALKANS ASTIKI ETAIREIA - Greece
CESIE - Italy