28 October 2022

RURAL HERITAGE WEEK, 19-25 OCTOBER 2022 in the frame of the KA2 Erasmus+ project PRHBYW

All over the world, rural areas reveal us the story of thousands of years of  long collaboration between human society and nature. Nowadays, they are facing economic, social and environmental problems, which results in unemployment, disengagement, depopulation, marginalization or loss of cultural and landscape diversity.

Rural Heritage Week was a one-week event, that took place between 19-25th of October, and Rural Heritage Day was a one day dedicated event, happening on the 22nd of October 2022, both events taking place in the frame of the Erasmus+ KA2 project Promote rural heritage by youth workers (PRHBYW).

Both events highlighted the good practices, the stories and the examples regarding how rural heritage is kept or brought back to life in the rural areas affected by depopulation, industrialization or the interest lost in preserving the traditions.

In Romania, through the ``Save the Water Mills`` project, Acasa in Banat Association gathers dozens of volunteers from the country to restore dozens of water mills in the Banat Mountains to their former glory. In addition to their economic role, they will also be tourist destinations and they will support the local communities where over 1,500 people live. In another Romanian village, Calafindești, located in Suceava county, at the edge of the willow plantation stands a young man in his twenties, his eyes fixated on this sturdy and flexible raw material. Ciobanu Călin and his father, Ciobanu Gheorghe, are the only basket makers still living from the art of weaving.

Also, the Romanian village, Arbore, is renowned not only for the old Romanian Orthodox monastery church, a fine example of church art with restored frescoes that date back hundreds of years, but also for its old handicraft and folklore. In a bid to preserve their cultural heritage and identity, two young men are determined to save the traditional craftsmanship. Millennial Vladimir Andrei has been performing loom weaving fabric, hand spinning, knitting ever since he was a child. Born in Bârlad, Vaslui County, he moved to the village of Arbore where he opened a textile weaving workshop with his partner, Mihai Hrincescu.

Silió stands out as the very example of a Spain that is slowly fading away due to the rapidly aging population and the generational disconnection, with youths who grow more uprooted every year. La Vijanera, a winter solstice tradition, performance, a hunting ritual deeply rooted in naturalistic and pagan cults, is the main bridge between the young and old generations. This connecting element is the key to the village's efforts to hold the community together, as so many youths leave for the cities.

Also, the transformation of the old rectory house into an exclusive hotel was only the starting point in Taramaundi – a small Spanish municipality. A whole economy based on natural resources has been built up around it, traditional crafts have been brought back. In Taramundi, locals have combined the accommodation with touristic activities, livestock farming or traditional food production. Knife making is one of the region’s distinguishing features. Taramundi is a leading enclave for the manufacture and sale of these artisan products.

In the last couple of years, in Italy, Apulia village successfully accomplished to combine local natural and cultural heritage with innovation and technology. Apulia has encountered an accelerated tourism. To accomplish the visitors’ demands and make food experiences more accessible, food clusters have been created. This aspect has also led to an increase in job opportunities, making it possible to regenerate and to flourish.

Sagre, Feste di paese, and how to keep italian villages alive? In the attempt of trying to save their village from abandonment, three young Italian men are tapping into its winemaking traditions based in simple wine cellars obtained from small, dark caves literally dug out of the rock under San Giovanni’s homes, with no electricity or running water. Each sagra works in its own, chaotic way. You might place your order at the cash register and wait for your beer and roast pork shank to magically appear on your white plastic table or you might enjoy a simple set menu served in the street out the backdoor of an osteria.


Promote rural heritage by youth workers (PRHBYW) addresses two of the six rural development priorities supported by ENRD (European Network for Rural Development, programming period 2014-2020): Knowledge Transfer and Innovation, and Social Inclusion and Economic Development. Nowadays, an increasing number of young people living in rural areas of Europe find themselves socially and civically marginalized, being also largely unaware of the international mobility opportunities offered by programs such as the European Solidarity Corps and Erasmus+ where resources are offered for their professional and personal development. 

The KA2 Erasmus+ project is an initiative of a consortium of four countries and five organizations: SER JOVENGEYC, JOINT, CANTABRURI and DIRAMARSI.


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