In the beginning of December 2015, 31 youth workers from 12 different countries took part of the “FUND” training, organized by the Cherry Group, at Olde Vechte Foundation , in Ommen, Netherlands. For 7 days they had the chance to live together, learn how to shape their ideas into projects and explore the different aspects of fundraising.
This program was financially supported by Erasmus Plus Program.

YMCA Romania is partner in this project, our representatives in the training being Peter Buju and Abigail Dan.

Check out their testimonials regarding this mobility:

12003281_935256289851392_7371795436615124010_n – Abigail Dan

“Hello! I’m Abigail , I am from the town called  Sighetu-Marmatiei, Romania.I had a wonderful experience in the Netherlands through YMCA. I met young people and their culture from 12 countries through this European training.  which lasted a week. We were accommodated  in a house (mansion) in the town of  Ommen at Olde vechte Foundation. We, as participants, got close to live together as a family , the capacity of the house being around 40 people with all the necessary equipments. The grant supported all expenses (transportation, accommodation and food) .I liked very much the house architecture,  very tiny with a warm design (decorated for holidays) are like in fairytales. The Dutch people are organized and eco-friendly, it’s impressive how many bicycles are.
I’m glad I experienced different cultures, which widen my  horizon.
The organizers, Tahira and Eddie are exceptional people. Through dicferent activities nd exercises they taught us how  to raise funds for our humanitarian projects . The methods used were also practical ones, one day we fundraised in the community for  Syrian refugees . Thanks to all for making possible this experience! It’s nice to know people and new places, gain new knowledge. Build bridges, not walls!” .

11103147_1785439441683346_2842263868816964703_o – Peter Buju

“The experience of participating to the FUND training in Ommen, organized by Olde Vechte, has been a period of learning the theory and practice of putting together a project and going about the theory behind funding and the actual process of gaining the trust and approaching potential donors and sponsors.

One of the most used terms in this training would be the SMART goals, which would apply in setting goals for the project, having specific rules in order to guide the project workers in what they are trying to achieve on a defined deadline.

Every term and lesson would be discussed in theory and then applied to a personal idea and/ or project, in order for the participant to relate this knowledge to a concrete idea. For example, when the trainers would give information about different types of sponsors and their potential motivation to their actions, based on this structure, we had to individually spot the fitting types of sponsors that would most likely be interested in our project.

Albert Einstein’s quote, “if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, it means you don’t understand it well enough” was mentioned through-out this training, when the participants had 30 seconds to describe their project in front of the others. This was a great way of filtering the important information regarding this project and the way we can briefly describe our project.

The participants also had to go out on the streets of Ommen to raise funds and awareness about the refugees in a nearby camp. They had 3 hours to come up with a plain and apply it in order to set these goals. The campaign was targeted to children, therefore a great amount of toys, games and sweets were collected, as well as a little amount of money (around 100euros).

Following this experience, participants were put in groups, given some words that would be strategically purchased and made fictional projects that would relate those words. The following day, the groups were assigned to various cities around Ommen for the whole day, where they had to approach people and businesses that would in some way benefit the project and see whether they would be interested in helping. Some groups were so successful in getting people and small businesses to help that they felt bad about the project only being fictional and contact details were redirected to OldeVechte.

The days after this activity were all about recapitulation and sharing the experiences each group had. There were individual workshops made by participants and the trainers made themselves available for any questions and confusions any of us had.

All in all, an active and productive training that balanced theory with practice, with its dose of ‘craziness’ in putting their participants ‘out there’ and a good amount of recapitulation and enough time to reflect on these things”.