Between 15th and 23th of December the training course “Together against extremism and radicalism” gathered over 30 aspiring and active youth workers from Czech Republic, Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary Greece and Portugal. The project took place in a small snowy town of Topola, in the heart of Serbia. Everyone had a story to tell and expectations to fulfill. Our new volunteer Nastya is sharing her experience from this almost-Christmas week!
During the course the international team looked deeper into the issues of extremism, migration, discrimination, nationalism, intolerance and intercultural misunderstandings. Under the facilitators’ and organizers’ guidance participants learned about the ways of living together, accepting differences and fighting together against prejudice and xenophobia in these turbulent times.
The program was well organized and diverse. Each participant had a chance to show themselves in various activities such as photography, debates, video editing and many others.
First two days were devoted to teambuilding activities, getting familiar with the subject of the project and Erasmus+ program as a whole. Then we discussed Influence of media on islamophobia and violent extremism, vulnerabilities that make people become extremists and differences between extremism and radicalism. In the evening we watched a heartbreaking movie about a former extremist “A Heart of a Lion”
On the 5th day National teams presented their country’s reality, active radical movements and how their goverments deal with it. Together we analyzed today’s multicultural society in different countries. At the end of the day we enjoyed the intercultural night, that consisted of games, dances, singing and food tasting.
6th day was focused on role of youth work in combating extremism and getting familiar with European legislation and policies on the topic. Following that, each country team presented their NGO on the NGO market.
As the main outcome of the project after overviewing European programs, each team thought of their own project idea and made first steps to make it reality. The training course was finished off with participants’ presentation of dissemination strategies and evaluation. And, of course, evaluation, secret friend reveal and farewell party.
Agenda was not without surprises from facilitators. We had a mock debate about building a mosque, played educational games and wrote letters to our future selves. Thanks to everyone’s hard work we were a bit tired, but never bored. On this project people from all over Europe made new friends and acquired new knowledge about radicalism and how to fight it. Without doubt, this experience will be used to make a world a better place, if only a little bit.
I am sure everyone brought home warm memories and will look back on the time spent there with love and fondness.
Sincerest thanks to everyone who let this kind of projects happen, for their excellent implementation and preparation.