The unforgettable journey of iNotice
We have just concluded our youth exchange “iNotice”, which took part in Oradea between 19-25 May, where 28 youngsters have participated from Poland, Greece, Italy and Romania. The main topic of the project was Human Rights. It was a week full of passionate discussions, debates, idea-sharing, and emotions. It is not often, that the youngsters are so personally involved in a project’s topic, but it was definitely the case in this one.
We have begun with introductions – introduction of participants, introduction of the topic of human rights, and of the concepts of prejudices and stereotypes. We then dove deeper into the subject, by exploring some of the most common types of discrimination, with the aim of trying to understand them better, in order to be able to recognize them in our daily lives and furthermore, to prevent them. Participants have also interacted with the locals of Oradea during a street action, where they have asked them about their opinion on human rights, its importance and how they see our current times in terms of discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes. The final result of our project has been the iNotice blog, on which participants have gathered what they have learned during the week, they highlighted some thoughtful testimonies from the local community, and shared some great materials for those wishing to further explore this topic.
If we were to highlight the most memorable and significant activity of the whole program, it would have to be the Living Library. Since at that point in the project, we already had a very cohesive, well-working group, instead of inviting ”outside” people to come and share their stories with the group, we decided to ask the participants, trying to set up 4 stations based on the ”books” who would be willing to share a personal story regarding discrimination from their lives. To our surprise, 8 people have signed up, who were eager to share their experience with the others, so the whole hotel has been set up for various stations. Each ”book” has given a title to their story, so the others could choose from the list, which ones they were interested to hear and discuss. Since everybody wanted to hear everyone’s story, we had a time limit for each storytelling, and then participants had to move on to the next one. The stories included various types of bullying in school, based on appearances, stereotypes and prejudices present in the military, but it involved positive experiences as well, for example about a group of eager youngsters preparing and giving out food for the homeless. All the stories have been inspirational, they have started some very deep and personal discussions, some of them leading to tears and a newfound support and encouragement given to each other, making it a beautiful experience to witness.
Other activities included creative workshops, interactive presentations, role-playing exercises, Action Cafe, sketches, intercultural evenings and evaluation sessions.
All in all, it was one of our favorite projects until now, so thank you all for participating, for being present and active, for sharing all of your personal stories and experiences and for making this week truly memorable!