Between 18th and 25th of November 2019 twenty-seven youth workers gathered together in the charming city of Braga, Portugal to take part in the seminar “Let them be heard”. Participants were from the following countries: Portugal, Poland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia and North Macedonia – but some of them were native from USA, Brazil, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Finland, so diversity was on tap. The project was hosted by CONEXAO JOVEM and implemented in cooperation with Euromuevete, System and G, TDM2000, TDM 2000 Polska, ICDET, Interaktiva, KKA, LLG, CET Skopje, CET Hellas, ICDET BG.
Thanks to our host Henrique and our trainers Michal and Aga we spent amazing time there, gaining new skills and competences, exchanging knowledge and experience. The main objective was participants to get acquainted with complex knowledge about diversity and social exclusion/inclusion of minority groups in Europe, problems of young migrants and refugees. Thus, methodology was based on the principal of non-formal education, using presentations, discussions, team-work, analyses of documents and different games and simulations. Emphasis was placed on the theatre related methodology – used for expressing problems, better understanding of situations, used as a tool for simulation, discussion and solving conflicts, also for self-discovery. The first day we got to know each other better, using energizers, ice-breakers, having team building, sharing expectations and fears and drawing our “house of cookie people”. The next day we did our countries profiles and we quickly set off for an exploration expedition of the city of Braga which was one of the most interesting tasks. Divided into small groups we had to complete tasks like finding and taking photos of churches, local people, sightseeing, gardens, looking for famous and old bars and cafeterias, discovering the meaning of names or symbols. Fourth day was about presenting migration policies at EU and national level and also differentiation of definitions. The next day we had some interesting simulations regarding the communication skills and understanding of others as well as we divided into groups and went out for a research, taking interviews from locals. Sixth day was devoted to theatre and was the most creative and artistic part that helped us to understand something about others and mostly about inner selves.
The last day was basically heartbreaking since we had to say goodbye to each other. We did the final evaluation and a beautiful “retrospection meditation exercise” which led most of us to tears. Not forget to mention the small goodbye letters which we put into others’ personal envelopes – with instruction to open them at least when we leave the territory of Portugal, which again melt our hearts and brought unforgettable memories, being already home.
In reference to intercultural parties – we got to know various cuisines and spent incredible time in enjoyable atmosphere.
And last, but not least – we won some deserved free time to enjoy the good weather, taking a walk through the city, visiting its fascinating places and the famous Bom Jesus cathedral, few minutes’ drive away from Braga.
by Silvia Plamenova
Seminar “Let them be heard” in Braga, Portugal