As our next event in Romania is coming very soon, we share with you a special story on engaging youth. On the 3rd project debate we will hear more success stories of associations in Bistrita.
RECYCLING FOR THE COMMUNITY
AN ERASMUS+, KA1 STORY
The story of the ERASMUS+ Recycling for the community project started in 2016 when Youth for the Community Association from Bistrita – Romania, Green Civril Youth Group from Turkey and Profilirana Gimnazia Hristo Botev from Bulgaria identified the need to train young people to protect the natural environment, to raise their awareness about ecological issues and to involve them in recycling activities that are attractive, creative, educational and that bring positive changes in the local communities. We sent our project proposal to the European Commission and we got the necessary financial support to implement it between August 2016 and January 2017 in Bistrita, Romania.
Thus, in August 2016 it started the preparation phase when we signed the contract with the Romanian National Agency, we selected the participants, we booked the flights of the Bulgarian and Turkish participants, we booked accommodation and local transport, we prepared the necessary materials and we established organizational details with the international and local partners. We were happy to notice that everybody was so enthusiastic and willing to help. In fact…almost everybody because incredibly as it may seem some of the Romanian teachers seemed not to understand the advantages of non formal learning and they hardly gave approval to their students to take part in our project. But eventually we managed to convince those teachers that non formal learning is still learning and that an ERAMSUS+ youth exchange is not about having fun or skipping Maths classes – it’s about developing skills, competences and knowledge.
Once the teams of participants were selected and trained we organized the mobility of 24 Romanian, Turkish and Bulgarian young people. The activities were implemented from 22nd of October to 1st of November 2016 in 3 rural areas of Bistrita Nasaud county as we wanted to stimulate the active participation of the rural youth, too. The main activities were 3 creative recycling workshops, namely: The first workshop was organized at Budacu de Jos secondary school and it had the main aim to create an ecological corner of the school from painted re-cycled tires. The second workshop was organized at Dumitrita secondary school and there the participants, the students and the teachers recycled paper in order to create paper clothes and accessories and organize a fashion presentation. The third workshop was organized at Sieu Magherus secondary school where the participants, the students and the teachers worked in groups in order to create plastic bottles ornaments.
Each recycling workshop lasted two days but the impact created is for the long term. First of all, all the participants, students, teachers, parents and other members of the local communities cooperated so well, they communicated incredibly well even though they didn’t speak the same language, they were involved in all the project activities and they managed to create wonderful products because they worked as a team. Moreover, it was amazing to notice that young people from different countries share the same needs, interests, dreams and they all want to live in a better world.
The project also included intercultural workshops with moments of music, dances, games and discussions that developed the cultural awareness of the participants and helped them better understand each other. But, despite they had different cultures they behaved like members of a big family and they developed tolerance and solidarity.
There were also discussions, team building activities, local visits as well as many moments of group work activities.
All in all, our project is an example of a positive story that had impact both on the direct participants and on the local communities. In our case ERASMUS+ managed to create connections, to build new friendships, to develop self confidence, competences, skills and knowledge.