29 April 2018

YE - “YOUth 4 Tolerance”, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy

The project “YOUth 4 Tolerance” was a youth exchange that included 44 young people aged 16 to 26 years from Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain. The main objectives of the project were to understand the migration processes, to promote a positive attitude, tolerance, solidarity and understanding towards refugees and migrants, to discover hate speech, its causes, roots and consequences and having the ability to distinguish it from freedom of expression, to inform youth about ways and channels for reporting cases of hate speech online, to promote the No hate speech movement among young people. 
Anda Botezatu: The permanent memories are set in our minds by emotions. Strong sentiments shape us every day and thus, they are the key element that gives birth to the highlights of our journey. "The initial goal was to open the eyes of those who were blinded by the negative media and to show them how irrational their fear really is. I was aiming towards an exterior change and in return I receive an inner, personal one. The environment, the cultural diversity and especially the moments spent in the company of some of the refugees living in Italy, reinforced my former beliefs. The hard exterior, the dreamy eyes, the sad story, the hopes, the shy movements, the hard work behind their talent and a lost tear were all part of the moment that will probably stay with me for a long time. In my mind the breathtaking view from the top of the Vesuvio, the neverending landscape and the treasures hidden deep underground, not visible to the naked eye, will always be associated with the talent, courage and compassion I felt when I looked in their eyes.

Alexandra Peca: They say that interacting with people from different cultures can really make you understand how everyone has their own place in the world and how we all can influence others’ thinking, but I truly understood that after my first experience in a youth exchange. Despite our very different cultural background, we were united by the same concept: tolerance. We talked about how young people can fight against racism, prejudice and hate speech and, at the end, I understood that we are the change, we are the generation that can make a difference.

Diana Dragos: The project was my first youth exchange and also this was my first time in Italy. I had a wonderful time with everyone I met during the project, and the subject had a great personal impact on myself. The activities in which I participated were an excellent opportunity for us to learn a lot about the topic of the project. All in all, the accommodation was good, the people were nice and friendly and the activities were really interesting. It was a great intercultural experience . Ioana Alexandra Cosma: The best experience that i had! It was very interesting to work with an intercultural group and to share our opinions about the topic ”tolerance for the refugees”. The organizers prepared a lot of activities to make us better understand the problem that Europe faces nowadays. We were taught which are the main concepts that define the problem (hate speech, prejudice, stereotypes, racism) and how to fight against acts that affects refugees in our societies. The most important and good thing about this project is that we can share what we learned in our comunities and to make people realize that refugees deserve to be respected.

Iulian Buga: I found about this project through Asociatia Geyc and i was very entusiastic when they gave me the big news that i was accepted. It was my 7th Erasmus+ project and the second one in Italy. The team was great from the first moment we met. Everybody wanted to comunicate, to share their experiences and knowledge. It was like a very big family with more than 40 members.All the activities were interesting and i learned very much during the project. This experience was one of the best things happened to me. Monica Lazar: : It was my first project so I did not know what to expect; I heard about this projects from my friends and I wanted to take part in, too. I loved the multicultural experience , I learned more about other countries, I discovered new cultures, I had interesting conversations which made me realize that we, as young people, have more opportunities than we think and the only limits that exist are only in our minds . The topic was another aspect that I liked, we discussed about tolerance and no hate speech movement which I think it is important considering the violent and extra nationalism movements that are growing in Europe because of the refugees. We learned throw workshops, debates how to combat the hate speech and promote tolerance and mutual understanding. Also, we had the chance to talk with some refugees from the nearest camp, a touching experience, and I realized how much they suffered and how little we do to help them to overcome their dramas. Last but not least, I enjoyed the city, Castellammare di Stabia which to be honest I have not heard about it before, a beautiful city situated on the Bay of Naples, near to Vesuvius and Pompeii which I had the chance to visit, one of the most amazing places I have seen. As I said, it was my first project, but for sure not my last one.

Anda, Alexandra, Diana, Ioana, Iulian and Monica