27 July 2019

Youth Exchange: [PL-262] European stage, 11.07.2019-18.07.2019, Poronin, Poland

Finding ways to effectively tackle the subject of discrimination and xenophobia towards refugees and migrants is, indeed, challenging but possible. Between 11 and 18 July 2019, Poronin, Poland, young people from 5 European countries (Romania, Portugal, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Poland) took part in the youth exchange “European stage”. Serban, Constantin-Andrei, Andrei George, Ana-Diana, Bianca Stefania, Carmen, Ana Maria, and Călin had the chance to develop the knowledge and skills to respond appropriately to these issues. 

Expanding knowledge and awareness in the field of native and European cultural heritage, based on oral, written and artistic expression (theater, literature) and cultivating empathy and respect towards other cultures or religions were only some goals of this project.

Other objectives of the project: 

  • Reducing the level of radicalization, discrimination, xenophobic attitudes, exclusion among young people from 5 communities through the use of creating a theatrical performance based on current problems, young people based on versions of traditional literary works from 5 countries
  • Conveying the fundamental values of an open European society, tolerance, respect, anti-radicalism attitudes and inclusion through creative, artistic forms of expression (literature, storytelling, theater)

Participants putting on a play

“Last week our youth exchange ended in the picturesque small town Poronin, situated in the heart of the Tatra Mountains in Poland. The Romanian team was represented by eight motivated young people who contributed actively throughout the week during the workshops. They took part in the activities alongside other 8 participants per each country, namely Italy, The North Republic of Macedonia, Portugal and one participant from Poland. During the intense 8 days of workshops and theater exercises, everybody shared their own experience and contributed to the activities. 

Participants taking part in activities

The name of the project was European Stage and its main purpose was to create a final theater play addressing pressing issues like racism, xenophobia, war, hate and their effects on humankind and its relationships. The two Polish trainers, Filip and Mateusz, guided us through the whole process, in the first days starting with get-to-know-each-other and warm-up games, improvisation and theatrical acts, also debates on the main topics which sparked intense and meaningful conversations. All of this, helped us to understand the importance of our work, and most importantly, starting to create our play and put all the pieces together. We were divided into 5 groups and each one of them had to come up with a scene expressing one issue, such as war or social immorality. In the end, we put together all of the 5 scenes and created the final play which took place on a small stage in one park in Zakopane. 

Participants during the youth exchange' activities

During the week and after the whole play, we were tired but happy that we succeeded to achieve this. We worked in a multicultural environment, learned from each other experience and personal cultural situation, shared stories and practices in order to improve our work and create meaningful friendship bonds. In the middle of the week, the organizers took us to a visit to Zakopane to see the stage before the play and have some free time in order to visit another Polish mountain city. Also, we organized the multicultural night where each country shared their own traditions, national beverages, and food and having a great time together. 

All in all, we developed useful skills in the theater field, we explored the Polish culture, and we engaged in meaningful discussions and, last but not least, created long-lasting bonds. Many thanks to Fundacja Active Kids for this experience!”

As an outcome of the project, the participants created a YouTube video available here

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