Hello, Cyprus calling! Interview with Eleni Michail

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Eleni Michail a project coordinator in YEU based in Cyprus is sharing her experiences in the field of youth work.

 

 

 

 

Hi, Eleni could you please talk a bit about yourself?
Hello! Talking about me is not something I tend to do! But this is a special occasion! I am a project coordinator in YEU since last February and I am based in Cyprus. I really enjoy my job! As we often say in YEU, “Our lives are never boring in youth work”!

How and why did you get engaged with youth work?
It all started when I went to Erasmus. At that time, it was not in youth work, but this experience was so strong that basically changed my life. Fascinated by intercultural learning, I started looking for other experiences to expand my horizons. This is when I found YEU Cyprus and started participating in different youth projects on local and international level. In the last couple of years, I found myself having two hats on my head. I was at the same time primary school teacher and youth worker! It was impossible to continue doing both of them and a decision needed to be taken. Obviously youth work won! And I have to admit that I haven’t regretted it at all!

What motivates you to keep being a part of the magic world of youth work?
I think here you said the right word “magic”. That is what motivates me to keep being part of youth work. There is a certain magic in youth work which you feel only when you are involved in it. I felt this magic the first time I participated in a youth project. The methods used, the people and the context create new perspectives in learning and self-development. Now, as a youth worker that feeling is even stronger. In my projects I see people learning, growing and changing. This is how we create the world we want to have.

How did you get involved in YEU International?
I started being involved in YEU International as soon as I became a member of YEU Cyprus. At the beginning I was participant in different YEU projects. After I was elected for YEU Cyprus’ Governing Board my involvement grew bigger. At the same time, I had the chance to be a facilitator in different YEU projects and then became also a member of the PET. After the crucial decision to decide youth work as my profession, I applied to be a project coordinator in YEU and here I am now!

In your opinion, what makes the YEU network attractive and unique?
There are different elements that make YEU network attractive and unique. Here I will focus only on one of them which I think is very important. YEU is an organization open, inclusive and accessible by every youth. YEU doesn’t target a particular group of youth and doesn’t focus on a particular topic. That makes the network wide open to ALL young people, no matter where they come from, their educational background, socio-economic status, abilities or political opinions. That also makes the network wide open to ANY topic, from social inclusion, to environmental sustainability. The network can track, comprehend and address the needs of all and every youth. Based on that, member organizations, governing board and administrative staff operate from a point of understanding and caring about youth and the society in general. That is what makes YEU unique!

Could you please tell us a bit about the project you are involved now?
This question couldn’t be more relevant! Actually, I am answering this question on the way to my next project! I am at the moment traveling to Istanbul for the project “GREEN LEADERS – active youth participation vs. global, environmental and climate change”. This is a long-term project which involves partners from Portugal, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain. Its aim is to gather experience, information and knowledge on sustainability from different stakeholders such as local NGOs, local municipalities and institutions, regional authorities and international organizations. The project involves different activities in different countries. For example, in Istanbul, TOG will host two activities; the training course “Sustainability- Advanced level” and the “Partnership Building Activity”. During these two activities, we intent to create an online tool which will raise information about the topic (especially to not-organized youth), develop personal and group plans for action, create a support network and develop a strategy to multiply the outcomes of the project.

What are your future plans?
I don’t really have long-term future plans. I just know that I like what I am doing and I would like to continue working in this field and develop my competences!

Thank you very much!

 

Maria Strati
NM Journalist, YEU Internaitonal

 

 

 

The interview was published on YEU INTERNATIONAL NEWSMAIL SEPTEMBER 2013″.

 

An EVS experience outside Europe-Interview with Michal Klopocki

michailEuropean Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people between 18-30 years old a unique opportunity to spend 3-12 months in another country and learn another language and culture by providing their voluntary service in an organization in the host country. The organization covers living expenses such as food, accommodation, language courses and pocket money. Michal, one of the previous editors of our Newsmail spent 10 months in Mexico and is talking about his experience with us. Moreover, Michal created a blog in which he is sharing his experience http://mexicoenuvole.wordpress.com.

 

Hi Michal and welcome back to Europe. EVS in Mexico sounds something quite intangible and at the same time feasible. Could you please give us a brief idea regarding the procedures you had followed in order to participate in an EVS project outside Europe (i.e. find a host organization and visa processes)?
I was looking for an EVS project outside Europe for a long time. I have already had an experience with NGOs around Europe so I wanted to explore opportunities outside our continent. Some of my friends have already done EVS in Latin America so I realized that is something possible and I came in contact with the organization in Mexico through the Polish organization “Youth Initiatives Centre HORIZONS” “HORIZONTY”. Regarding visa, if you stay in Mexico up to six months you do not need a visa. After the first six months, I went for a trip to Guatemala and then I went back to Mexico.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the project you have participated in. Which was the main topic, your daily tasks and finally which were the involved organizations (sending and host)?
The project is called Seed for Growth 2 (S4G 2). It involved the Italian organization “Associazione di Promozione Sociale Joint”, the Polish organization “Youth Initiatives Centre HORIZONS”, the Brazilian organization “Associação de Cooperação Técnicaparao Desenvolvimento Humano”, another Italian organization “PantaRei” and the Mexican organization “Fundación Alianzas Rosalico A.C”. Four of the volunteers have been hosted in Italy and two volunteers in Mexico. I provided my voluntary service in two different projects. In the first project I was working for the organization “Save the children” and I was organizing activities for children and I also participated in another recycling project in Puebla. During my EVS project, I had the chance to work with children, in a small village called San Mateo Ozolco and become aware of the dangers they are facing when they are trying to pass from Mexico to the USA. Generally, I was running different workshops based on non-formal education methodologies promoting the values of environment, identity building, rights and responsibilities, creativity etc. Moreover, I had the opportunity to inform them about the existing opportunities, intercultural learning, how to develop their own identity and organize their projects through art and other creative activities. The organization in Puebla deals with the topics of social exclusion and recycling. We were collecting used staffs, then we were recycling them and finally we were selling them in order to increase our resources and be able to finance the activities of the organization which were focused mainly on education. I was also coordinating the activities of the organization. Furthermore, I was responsible with the Facebook page and blog.

Regarding language, did you know Spanish before going to Mexico? If not, how was the communication with the locals in the beginning?
Well, with the language I did not have any serious problem. Before going there I had Spanish classes in Poland and after 3-4 months living in Mexico I was feeling more confident speaking in Spanish. Ok, I had language classes also in Mexico but since I was working with children learning Spanish was quite essential, I had no other alternative. Moreover, the interaction with the local community helped me learn the language. In Mexico they do not speak English very well so it is important to know the language.

At the beginning how did you get over language and cultural barriers?
I used to live with a girl from Italy who spoke Spanish better than me, at the beginning I was a bit depended on her but later on I learnt the language. My colleagues helped me a lot since they were hospitable. It was like a natural process every day I was learning something more. I was not shy to speak because if you have a basic knowledge of one language and you are afraid to speak then you will not develop your language skills. Of course, at the beginning speaking with the teachers at school was not easy; however, I found a way to cope with it. Regarding culture, Mexico has its own unique and profound culture with different customs and habits. On the other hand, Mexican culture has many similarities with the European culture because of the language, they speak Spanish, and religion, the majority are Catholics. Mexico was a strong intercultural experience for me but Mexican people who are very open and hospitable helped me deal with it. Living in Mexico is very different than being there as a tourist.

Let’s go back to the topic of your EVS. What is Global Education and how may contribute to democracy building, active participation, human rights awareness and conflict prevention?
Briefly, we are living in a global world so our actions have an impact on the everyday life in other countries around the world. Global Education helps us realize the influence of our action regarding the situation in other parts of the world. For example, if you consume products of large global corporate then you influence the reality in developing countries. Moreover, Global Education raises awareness about the limited resources, equality and human rights. In Europe we are well aware of the universal character of human rights but this does not mean that they are not violated. So basically global education is about showing people how it is to live in other parts of the world, what are the problems there, how people live, fest, love etc. that is first. And then to show the connections between our actions and how can we contribute or injure other communities.

How may the new media contribute to spread the main principles of global education?
Definitely, they are very useful tools. I created a blog in English about foundation’s activities, so my friends in Europe got an idea about the project. A lot of people have access to internet so they have access to a wide range of information. In Facebook I was posting photos from the activities. All in all, internet is a fast and practical way to get informed about different topics. I do not state that mainstream media are not good enough; I would just like to say that internet is another source of information. In addition, in the age of information ignorance is a choice.

 How are you planning to implement what you have learnt?
I have some plans regarding how to utilize effectively the experience I acquired. I am thinking to motivate even more other people to participate in an EVS project. Also, I am planning to work on the field of Global Education and contribute to awareness rising concerning the reality in other countries by cooperating with several NGOs.

  Thank you very much for the interview. The Newsmail team wishes you all the best.

Maria Strati
NM Journalist, YEU INTERNATIONAL.

The interview was published in the Newsmail August of the youth organization YEU INTERNATIONAL.

Social Networks and Youth

social media and youthSocial networks became an important dimension of our lives, especially if we refer to young people who could be characterized as “digital natives”. Generally speaking, social networks have a strong impact on the way we communicate and interact with each other; consequently they may play a key role in the thematic areas of education, social inclusion, active youth participation, information and employment. As a result, the users of social networks should develop a responsible attitude in the digital arena based on the values of respect, human rights and privacy.

It is more than obvious that the rational use of social networks provides young people a unique opportunity to express their opinions and also exchange views with people from all over the world. As a result, the voice of young people is raised even more which leads to the empowerment of youth organizations. On the other hand, the young people should be careful regarding the content they post, i.e. they should not reveal some details concerning their private lives or make comments that may offense someone.

According to some researches, nowadays employers tend to shape the profile of their future employee by searching him/her on facebook, twitter, linkedin etc. Furthermore, some HR professionals use linkedin even for the recruitment process. As a result, young people should be focused on which kind of information they reveal and also on what they post. It is said that some people got fired and some other did not get a certain job because of their “digital identity”. On the other hand, some people got the “job of their dreams” or a promotion due to the fact they created a professional profile in various social networks and also because they participated in discussions and groups.

To sum up, the rational use of social networks may improve the lives of young people in many areas. However, young people, youth workers, educators and other relevant stakeholders should be educated and get informed on the emerging opportunities and challenges of these social networks.

Maria Strati
YEU Journalist

Source: YEU INTERNATIONAL, NEWSMAIL MARCH

Συζήτηση με τη Youth Worker, Μαρία Στρατή

Youth Affairs journalism

Η νεαρή Μαρία Στρατή, μας εξηγάει τι πάει να πειο όρος Υοuth Worker και μας αναφέρει εμπειρίες της μέσα από την εμπλοκή της σε δράσεις νεολαίας, παροτρύνοντας μας να εμπλακούμε και εμείς..!

Chrysanthemum

Mαρία είσαι ΥοuthWorker. Tι ακριβώς κάνεις;

Δεν υπάρχει ακριβής ορολογία στα ελληνικά. Βασικά, με λίγα λόγια είναι η ενασχόληση με διάφορες δραστηριότητες νεολαίας τόσο σε επαγγελματικό όσο και σε εθελοντικό επίπεδο σε εθνικό και ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο. Ορισμένα παραδείγματα δραστηριοτήτων νεολαίας είναι οι ανταλλαγές νέων, διάφορα εργαστήρια κτλ. Η μεγαλύτερη εμπειρία που είχα μέχρι στιγμής είναι η συμμετοχή μου ως ”youth reporter” στην Ευρωπαϊκή Σύνοδο Νεολαίας η οποία πραγματοποιήθηκε στα πλαίσια της Κυπριακής Προεδρίας τον Σεπτέμβριο του 2012. Ως χειρίστρια του Eurodesk Κύπρου, παρείχα συνεχή ενημέρωση στους νέους μέσω των κοινωνικών μέσων δικτύωσης facebook, twitter, Google+ και blogspot. Επιπλέον, είχα την ευκαιρία να συλλέξω απόψεις νέων και αρμοδίων για χάραξη πολίτικής για την…

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European Youth Capital: Support Ganja!

Young people in Ganja are very excited nowadays… Why? Because they are the candidate city for being the European Youth Capital in 2016! A very active NGO, Bridge to the Future is just in the middle of this fascinating process. Aysun Zeynalova and Jeyhun Ashirov from Bridge to the Future… They both think that Ganja is ready to be recognized as European Youth Capital, what do you think?

Can you provide some information about the city and the role of the youth in Azerbaijan and specifically in Ganja. Why Ganja should be nominated as a youth capital?
Ganja is the second biggest city of Azerbaijan. There are 4 universities and 4 colleges in Ganja, that’s why we have lots of youth representatives here. There are 90 thousand young people in Ganja, so it represents the youth power of the city. Ganja has been chosen as the Azerbaijan Youth Capital of 2012, since there are lots of active NGOs and youth organizations located here. Now our city’s goal is to become the European Youth Capital of 2016. We believe we can achieve this goal, since Ganja has a great support from local NGOs, institutions, universities, colleges and youth centers. We consider our city as a good candidate for the European Youth Capital, since Ganja’s speed of development increases day by day.

What is going to be the contribution of “Bridge to the Future”?
Bridge to the Future Youth Public Union is the most active youth NGO in Ganja. It organizes lots of local and international projects. Bridge to the Future contributed a lot to support our city on the road to the European Youth Capital.

How will you promote the active participation of young people in the society?
The participation of young people in our society is very important for our city on the road to the European Youth Capital. We want to guarantee our youth participation by providing them with new projects where they can get involved and actively participate.

How will you promote multiculturalism or ethnic integration and international youth co-operation?
As we know, Azerbaijan is a multicultural country. As the second biggest city of the republic, Ganja city also contains different cultures in itself. The guests from other countries have a chance to see different cultures in one city. We consider it as an important cultural opportunity for them. It makes us believe that if Ganja becomes the European Youth Capital of 2016; it will provide our guests with that opportunity and will show the deepness of Azerbaijani culture. Ganja is already well-known for its amount of international projects. Different NGOs in the city organize different international projects where they convene the representatives of other countries. It provides our project participants and the citizens of the city with a chance to experience a cultural exchange. We know that if Ganja becomes the European Youth Capital of 2016, our city will host more foreign guests from all over the world and many more international projects will be organized.

How will you empower young people to engage?
The youth representatives of the city are already highly motivated to participate in the projects and contribute their skills. In order to motivate all the youth representatives, our committee will organize different movements, projects, workshops, events, campaigns and festivals for them. That will encourage them to be more active in the youth field.

Which other relevant stakeholders will you involve (i.e. municipalities, NGOs, public authorities etc.)?
Since our committee has a close partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we have already involved the governmental institutions into our campaign. But in order to involve the NGOs and public authorities, the committee will build a partnership with local institutions. We believe in the power of the future partnerships, because the local institutions have already shown us their support and desire to be a part of the campaign for European Youth Capital 2016.

How will you promote volunteerism?
Volunteerism is the field that is highly appreciated by our youth representatives. Youth in Ganja gets more and more into volunteerism. There are lots of volunteers in many NGOs of the city. If Ganja gets chosen as the European Youth Capital of 2016, new NGOs and new centers will be opened, so it will provide our youth with new places and opportunities for volunteering.

What kind of easily accessible communication channel will you use to provide information about the activities e.g. websites, social networks etc.
The local support committee already has a website and a facebook page for providing people with some information about our activities. Since Bridge to the Future has cooperated with the local TV channel, they will help us to promote our activities on TV. We will also have adverts in the local newspapers and websites.

Do you want to support them? Here you go: https://www.facebook.com/SupportGanja?fref=ts

Interviewed by Maria Strati
Newsmail Journalist, YEU International.

 

support gania

Support Ganja European Youth Capital 2016 in the Social Networks:

The interview was published in the February Newsmail of the YEU International.