Between the 6th and the 17th of October 2023, our volunteers Victor, Bri, Andrian, Ale, Iulia and Jose participated in the youth exchange Sounds & Voices of the Exodus. The project took place in San Giorgio del Sannio & Fragneto Monforte, Italy and it was organized by YMCA Parthenope ONLUS, co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Program.
“Sounds & Voices of the Exodus” expressed the willingness of the project partnership to get to know and explore cultures, knowledge and migration realities of the participating countries & people representing respectively Germany, Italy, the Republic of North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain & Turkey.
The participants were able to get to know on a daily basis all the cultures in the partnership by exchanging their migration experiences and realizing the intercultural evenings dedicated to each country and organization with games, videos, activities who can shed light on stereotypes and prejudices.
The Objectives of this youth exchange were:
- Take care of participants through workshops of art & culture;
- Break stereo-types and shed light on the participating countries & people;
- Offer participants the opportunity to prepare, lead and evaluate group activities also while keeping in mind potential work occupations;
- Inform participants about further opportunities provided by the Erasmus+ Sub- Programs: YOUTH (intercultural exchanges, volunteering, training courses), VET vocational working training abroad; UNIVERSITY study abroad;
- Spread healthy values such diversity, brotherhood, inclusion, sharing, well-being;
- Promote non formal education, very functional for youth activation;
- Invest in the follow-up activities brainstormed and structured by participants.
Here are the testimonials of our volunteers:
“I am really grateful for the opportunity I was given. This program helped me grow both socially and personally. I met so many amazing and talented people who helped me view the world a little different, maybe with a little more compassion. It really helped me getting out of my comfort zone, while doing what I love. During the program I choose to be part of the dancing group, which I absolutely adored. My teachers were so patient with everyone and never rushed us into learning. The working environment was really safe and even when we made mistakes everybody was so eager to help you out. I felt really heard and seen. Besides our group, there were two more, but when we got together everybody became one big family. I learned how to be a better listener and how to express myself better so everyone can hear and understand me. All the workshops we had together strengthen us as a community, making us even closer.
Overall, I am so happy that I had the courage to sign myself up for this because it will always have a special place in my heart. I learned a lot, I had fun, I cried and it helped me become a better version of myself. I would go back right now, if I could.” – Iulia
“I’m so grateful that I was able to take part in this project because it helped me develop my English level, and my communication skills.
This project was perfect for me because firstly, I learnt about the human rights, which is a topic that I’m really interested in, and secondly, I had the opportunity to increase my photography & video skills. I met a lot of new friends, people that I know I can count. I made a bunch of memories, because we went to the “Mongolfiere festival” in Fragneto Monforte (which is an hot air balloon festival) and we took part of the parade, where everyone was so happy and enthusiastic about it. It’s incredible how many interesting things you can make with the right people!
I’m really, really happy that I had this amazing opportunity to go to a different country and somehow, feel like home!” – Bri
“For me this was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. We did a lot of team workshops that involved stepping out of our comfort zone. This project helped me grow as a person, both socially and personally. I met amazing people and shared our life and perspectives on it. I took part of media team. The group and the teacher were amazing. I discovered new photo and edit abilities. I love that we had the chance to be free and express ourselves trough art. The activities taught me to be better at listening other people and be more patient. We learned about the human rights, a topic that it’s very important in our society and I think that it should be more discussed. I made a lot of memories with beautiful and amazing people and we formed new connections.
I’m beyond grateful that I took part of this project and I encourage other people to do the same. This adventure will always have a special place in my heart.” – Ale
“I can proudly say that this was such a life-changing experience for me from many points of view. I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to travel to Italy, to meet a lot of different people with various backgrounds and also learning about the cultures and the entire idea of human rights was really appealing for me. Aside from the cultural nights, all the time spent together and other activities that we had, going to Fragneto Monforte for the “Mongolfiere festival” was one of the best things I have ever experienced. I took part in the Visibility Group, taking pictures of the whole festival, which I enjoyed a lot.
Overall, I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and the people involved. Also, I’m looking forward for future projects like this one.” – Andrian
“I wanted to take a moment to express how much this recent exchange experience has changed me. The connections I made, the friendships I forged and the unforgettable memories we created together have made stepping out of my comfort zone one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did this project reignite my passion for music through the captivating workshops we attended, the intercultural exchanges I had the privilege of being a part of opened my eyes to a deeper understanding of others. It showed me how vast and diverse our world is and how important it is not to limit ourselves to one place. Although I wish I had more time to strengthen my relationship with other participants on this journey, I am incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of such an enlightening project. It’s impact on me has been immeasurable.
Looking forward I hold onto hope that next year I’ll get another chance to relive this experience because it truly transformed me in so many positive ways.” – José
“I couldn’t be happier that I had the privilege of participating in this project. I’ve never done something remotely similar before, and now, I’m looking forward to try to get myself involved in other projects as well. Everyone I got to meet there was absolutely amazing. Everybody got along, which was really surprising, considering that we were so many people all bunched up in a relatively small environment. I got to meet and make friends with a bunch of interesting individuals from all walks of life, some of whom I’m still in touch with.
The organizers were the cherry on top. They were really warm and always eager to help us with whatever problems we encountered. From the little things, like somehow managing to get us toilet paper in the evening when all stores were closed, to going out of their way to help us out with the materials for an activity that already started after we made some changes on the spot. I would like to mention Antonio, (if I can, idk how formal/informal this testimony is supposed to be) who proved to be extremely helpful and always reliable whenever I needed an extra hand or some more info.
Regarding my experience as a group leader, I would have never imagined it going as it did. Prior to starting the project, I thought that I was the wrong person to be the group leader. I didn’t think that I couldn’t necessarily make do, but I felt that there were plenty of other people who would’ve filled that role better. I’ve never done any sort of leading before. However, despite that, everything went swimmingly. The fact that it put me so far out of my comfort zone, and nothing bad happened, got me to be a lot more comfortable. That, combined with the knowledge I gained during the group leader meetings, made me more inclined into taking the initiative. So much so that, during the project, when we were left alone to organize ourselves and prepare an activity for the following day, I ended up directing and supplying everyone with whatever they needed for the activity. We did a quick brainstorming session, and then we split us into teams, each with their own task, after I chose the team leaders based on their willingness to be the team leader and based on their skills regarding the task they were given. Now, (again, I don’t know how formal I’m supposed to be) I never did that before, not even when I had ample opportunities to do it, because I always thought that others wouldn’t be ok with it.
Overall, great character development and a thoroughly enjoyable experience” – Victor