11th – 19th of February 2018
The training course Hugs 4 All addressed the topics of social inclusion and anti-discrimination. This being the main theme of our project reflected the needs of multiple European societies since all of them, due to different reasons, face social exclusion. It aimed to develop among participants active expression of civic participation which strengthened common European values such as solidarity, openness, understanding and liberty for combating poverty and marginalization through and in volunteering. It brought together 29 participants, including training
team, coming from 13 different countries: Ukraine, Italy, Romania, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia and Cyprus.
Through using non formal learning methods such as workshops, discussions, simulation games and forum theatre, we have provided participants the competencies, skills and knowledge about poverty, marginalization, sustainable peace, human rights, anti discrimination policies and social cohesion in order for them to take actions as multipliers for greater social and community involvement in the framework of Erasmus+ Programme.
From the first days of the project, participants took part in simulation games where they had the chance to raise awareness on poverty and experience how volunteering can work as a tool to make youth participation more effective and powerful in order to face social issues. Moving on, the project has provided participants with tools in order to use back to their countries to foster the social cohesion in their communities. Specifically, we spent almost three days working on two important tools: theater of Oppressed as a forum theater and online awareness campaign development.
The first tool was the theater of oppressed that helped the group to identify the oppressor and suggest solution to set the power of the situation in balance between the oppressor and the oppressed. Starting with smaller theatrical exercises and building tension, the group was split into four smaller groups and they developed their own theater using the appropriate tools to create a realistic scene that can happen in any family between an oppressor and an oppressed. Two of the teams had the opportunity to perform it in the city center of Nicosia using the method of the forum theater. It was very interesting to see pedestrians reactions and opinions on solving the oppressed’s problem that was played by the participants and random people who decided to become a part of the play.
Furthermore, participants had a session on campaign development, specifically an online campaign that helped them to increase their digital skills. Participants split again into three groups and they created their own campaign. They set the issue they want to face, they addressed their target group, they decides who they will depict the social problem and they started working on their online campaign. Within the three teams, participants got film making roles such as director, scenographer, camera operator etc. and they started filming their campaign. In the bottom of this article you can watch the three campaigns.
Moving on, participants had a study visit in Home of Co-operation in Ledra Palas check point. This way, participants experience the meeting point of the two communities and increase their knowledge and understanding of the problem that Cyprus is suffering for so many years and the social consequences that it is creating. However, we had the chance to hear some initiative that the Home offers to bring the two communities together and live in peace.
To sum up, the implementation of this project results in higher level of awareness about the importance of social inclusion in the communities involved which lead to greater effort in developing and implementing long term inclusion strategies, so we could all engage in making society a place where similarities are celebrated and differences are respected.