The Training of Trainers for Peace, part of the Educators for Peace project, took place from 16 until 23 November 2023 in Koniz, near Bern in Switzerland. 30 participants from 12 countries in Europe and the Middle East attended and Lilly Dakova was one of them. We are happy to share her notes from the training.

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Find your bubble, they say. Fill it with warm human beings who make you feel safe and special and empower you to believe in your abilities to make a change.

Let me tell you more about mine, a.k.a. Nostalgic post-impressions about the Training Course “Training of Trainers for Peace” in K?niz, Switzerland.

Learning can be a plethora of things. A maze, a lamp, an umbrella; imagination, reflection, unlocking your potential; running together, running from someone, running towards yourself. It all depends on your perspective and your willingness to open your mind and feel, explore, ask, share, and create.


The ToT training course encompassed facilitation fears and techniques, steps in developing a workshop, dealing with challenging situations, evaluation and measurement of impact, and digital tools. It made us waltz – both in the vast hall of the house and in the corners of our minds – in order to think of personal examples and investigate what we could have done a bit better. Regret is rarely a perfect option, but improvement can always be.

You are the owner of your well-being and you are responsible for your education. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as a change-maker. Paraphrase the astonishment provided by others, make space for different paces and mistakes, and balance the wheel of your emotions.

We live in a world that is full of beauty. Let’s help more people feel it.

******************************

This project is financially supported by Movetia. Movetia promotes exchange, mobility and cooperation within the fields of education, training and youth work – in Switzerland, Europe and worldwide. 

 Posted by Natalie at 12:05 Comments Off on Nostalgic post-impressions about the Training Course “Training of Trainers for Peace” in Koniz, Switzerland
 

We are happy to share the story of Bashak Sarah Yoney, who was a short-term ESC volunteer in Croatia this autumn (2023), part of the project “Green Fingers” of our partner organisation Udruga O.A.ZA. – Odr?iva Alternativa ZAjednici. The project is financed under the European Solidarity Corps program.

*********************************************************************************************************

Ever since I’ve known myself, I’ve always felt deeply upset about all the bad and unjust in the world, and truly appreciated every single kind act.

With the guidance of these feelings I’ve had, I decided I wanted to do volunteering to give back to the society and to earth.

After I graduated college, I started looking for volunteering opportunities, both in my home country and abroad. In the process, I remembered about European Solidarity Corps, of which I learnt about thanks to a youth exchange I did previously. At that moment I realized this could be the perfect chance for me.

On European Youth Portal, while looking through volunteering opportunities, I came across Green Fingers, and I was instantly captivated! I’ve always been someone who not only appreciates, but also tries to nurture, protect, and connect with mother nature. So, I applied and heard back from Jasmina soon. After we got in contact we scheduled an interview, where Jasmina interviewed me and helped me with all my questions and concerns regarding the project. She also put me in contact with a sending organization since I didn’t have one (shoutout to Natalie as well, she was the best person I could ask for in a supporting organization!). With all the arrangements finished, I was ready for my journey!

After my bus ride, I arrived at Zagreb, where Jasmina picked me up and took me to our hostel, the accommodation. When I went there, all the other volunteers were outside since they arrived a day earlier than me and started exploring the city already! Realizing they’d already made friends with each other, I couldn’t help but feeling anxious: I was scared I couldn’t be friends with them, or that I’d miss my home, friends, and family. However, after I woke up from my nap, they were back at the hostel, and as soon as I met them, I realized I wouldn’t be too lonely. They were all very friendly and welcoming: they even made grocery shopping from the first day, and started cooking and eating meals together 🙂

Within less than a week, we started being friends as a group. Of course, not all of us got along with each other instantly, but over time, we discovered all the amazing sides of each other that made us unique, and we all became this crowded family! In the meantime, the activities and work started as well. We were so surprised and happy when we saw the office for the first time: it was in the middle of Zagreb, with a beautiful terrace, and over a hundred plants!

Soon we started working in school gardens. At first, we were focusing on the maintenance of the gardens, while also learning about the tools and plants. Additionally, since it was Day of European Languages shortly after we arrived, Mile thought it would be a nice idea to prepare a workshop for the students at the schools about our languages and cultures. Just like that, we begin preparing and executing workshops for the kids as well. In this first workshop we planned, we played games with the kids which were revolving around the kids guessing things about our cultures, and then proceeded with teaching them basic phrases and words in our languages. It was very encouraging and sweet to see them engage in the workshops and be interested about our cultures and languages.

Throughout our project we went to four different primary schools, in which we did our gardening activities and workshops. In one of the schools, we planted new flowers and little trees, while in another we were building composter boxes or raised beds out of wood. In one we were working with the children, while in others we were alone, focusing on the job we were doing. I must say, those times even felt like meditation: I would give all my attention, focus and care to the plant I was working with, and would have the chance to let go of my thoughts.

I learnt a lot during the time I spent in Zagreb. I learnt about gardening, about the types of plants, about how to care for them, how nature works and what it needs. While building in the gardens, I learnt how to use a drill and a hammer. I learnt how to have a good time with a group of kids, and what’s the best way to communicate with them in a healthy way. I learnt about Croatian language and culture, about their food and habits, and about Zagreb.

Furthermore, I learnt how to better work in a team. How to organize, take responsibility, participate in civil life, be more open minded, take initiative, be patient, and much, much more…

But there was one thing I learnt, which I could not have learnt anywhere else: I learnt how a random group of young people, from different ages and countries, could become family ?

Hvala to my family away from home and to green fingers for teaching me so much, and helping me on my journey to discover who I truly am 🙂

Can’t wait to see you again someday…

Bashak Sarah Yoney

 Posted by Natalie at 15:48 Comments Off on A story of Green Fingers project
 

Our partners from Tudatos Ifjusagert Alapitvany are organising Jump’IN training course from 15 to 22 October in Holloko, Hungary

About the project: 

The training course Jump’IN is designed for newcomers in Erasmus+ project realisation, beginners in project planning and management in youth work and also for those who would like to get on board with Erasmus+ Programme, especially with youth exchange activities. The training activity is especially designed for members of organisation, who have accreditation in the field of Erasmus+ in order to develop and lead quality youth exchange events connected to any of the 11 European Youth Goals.

This training course is focusing on exploring and understanding the project management cycle within the youth field. The main aim is to provide youth workers with space and tools to discover Erasmus+ youth projects and to equip them with practical tools and methods to develop their own project ideas and understand how they become capable to manage a successful youth projects within the framework of Erasmus+ Programme.
The programme is designed to enable youth workers to develop and realise their youth exchange projects to be able to implement them after the course.

Participants profile:
The training activity is especially designed for members of organisation, who have
accreditation in the field of Erasmus+ in order to develop and lead quality youth exchange events connected to any of the 11 European Youth Goals.

Costs:

Costs will be covered accrding to the rules of the Erasmus+ Programme. A participation contribution of €60 (€10/working day) per participant is expected to be paid as contribution.

Application:

Application deadline is 15th September 2023 for the participants. 

Application can be done throught this online form.

The call is available here:  http://trainings.salto-youth.net/11574

The detailed call for participants is available on SALTO, as well as here

 Posted by Kathy at 15:19 Comments Off on Jump’IN training course is looking for paticipants
 

The Master’s of Arts (MA) Programme Peace and Conflict Studies provides scholarly education in areas of international peacebuilding, conflict transformation, development policy, diplomacy, human rights, security, and disaster management. It also provides action-oriented training in teamwork and development, diversity and identity, inclusion, capacity development, and intercultural communication. 

Duration/ECTS: 4 semesters /120 ECTS

Mode of Study: Full time

Language of instruction: English

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any discipline

Application period for 2023/24 intake: March 1 to May 15, 2023. 

MA Programme Peace and Conflict Studies info: https://www.uibk.ac.at/en/programmes/ma-peace-and-conflict-studies/

Admissions procedure: https://www.uibk.ac.at/studium/anmeldung-zulassung/aufnahmeverfahren-ma-peace-and-conflict-studies/

Cost structure: for EU-students and students that have the same legal status as EU residents, the MA Programme is completely free of charge except for a minor Austrian Student Union tuition fee of currently 21.70 EUR/semester. For non-EU-students the costs are currently 726.72 EUR/semester.

For specific questions candidates can directly contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Oberprantacher, MA at Andreas.Oberprantacher@uibk.ac.at

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 Posted by Kathy at 18:38 Comments Off on Master’s of Arts (MA) Programme Peace and Conflict Studies in Innsbruck University
May 072023
 

The right for self-determination in gender

International Activity for youth and social workers, activists and volunteers

05.-14. June 2023 in Berlin – Weissensee, Germany

(Call for applications)

Gender is a socially constructed phenomenon that is often understood as only binary, and therefore excludes other forms of gender expression in our society. Cis-normativity and cis-sexism leave little if any space for gender diversity, self-determination and other forms of sexual identity.

As peace and volunteer organisations, we want to support a large number of young people who are exposed daily to discrimination, structural violence, human rights violations and exclusion in society due to their gender or sexual orientation. In many regions, these problems are denied or, worse, those affected are verbally harassed or physically attacked. It affects different areas of their life such as family, school, work, personal development. In some countries, these problems go beyond customs, stereotypes and norms, where LGBTQIA+ communities are still criminalised and legally denied their rights and freedoms. 

It is equally important to gather and share experiences – whether common or different – to build stronger connections and unity among LGBTQIA + activists. In many countries, the situation has been stale or almost unchanged, hence a breakthrough is needed. Our project will provide an opportunity to establish contacts, learn from each other, and share knowledge in activism and advocacy and thus impact directly on local communities.

The Venue

The activity will take place at Tagungswerk im KuBiZ, Berlin – Wei?ensee

Aims of the Project

  • Support and advocate for the rights of LGBTQIA + people.
  • Acquire skills and competences to more effectively do so and to strengthen the concerns of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities.
  • Learn how to raise awareness among others and how to share knowledge, to advocate and campaign for gender justice.
  • Contribute to more visibility for LGBTQIA + communities through creating visual and informative materials e.g. videos, flyers, magazines, posters and social media campaigns.  

Living in a Group

We will spend one week together in a group of almost 30 people with different backgrounds and experiences. For us it is very important to take time to create a safer space to live and work together. For this we will set up a group agreement all together at the beginning. Please be aware that inclusion, anti-discrimination and reduction of stereotypes is nothing very easy and might be challenging for people. We invite you to come openly to the seminar and to be open to learn, reflect, and on the same side be mistake – friendly!

Outcomes

  • Participants create their own zine / booklet with personal stories from interviewed persons;

Everyone who comes to this seminar should…

… be actively involved in their sending organisation, in youth or voluntary work or in activism

… ideally have experience in international peace work or activism

… participate actively in the activity and in the production of the outputs

… be comfortable with speaking and writing in English

… ideally be committed to come to the activities by overland route (public transport, no flying)

Eligible Partner Organisations/Countries: 

Please note that there will be opportunities to spend free time in Berlin, but that this is not a „getting to know the city” project. On some days, the seminar also foresees evening sessions.

Logistics, Financial Conditions and Sustainability

  • Simple life: The seminar will take place in a seminar house with simple living conditions. You will sleep in a room shared with few other people.
  • Costs: We cover all essential costs of the program (including vegetarian/vegan food, travel costs up to a maximum amount per distance (maximum travel reimbursement amounts: 10-99 km = 20 Euro, 100-499 km = 180 Euro, 500-1999 km = 275 Euro, 2000 -2999 km = 360 Euro) visa costs, accommodation, and seminar) through an Erasmus+ European project grant. We will reimburse your costs some weeks after project completion, after you have submitted a complete expenditure summary with original receipts. Your sending organisation might ask for a small participation fee. These fees are, apart from excessive travel costs, the only costs you need to cover yourself.
  • Sustainable food: You will prepare meals in small teams and shifts for the whole group. Food will be simple and preferably vegetarian or vegan to support climate justice.
  • Sustainable travels: Please use sustainable means of transport rather than flying. We will give you more guidance on how you can reach the venue once you have been accepted to the seminar.

How to apply:

Please send your application for Breaking Through with the filled Application Form to cvs.katerina@gmail.com and breakingthrough@sci-d.de. After we accept your application, you will receive a detailed Infosheet. 

Detailed call for participants

 Posted by Kathy at 16:17 Comments Off on Breaking Through
 

TC “Y.D.E.A.” Youth Development through Emotional Awareness”
9th-16th  June 2023
Emen village, Veliko Tarnovo region, Bulgaria
(Call for participants)

Are you intrigued by Emotional Intelligence? Do you want to know more about Social and Emotional Learning? Do you want to improve your emotional competences to boost inclusion in youth work? Then…we have a great Y.D.E.A.! Join our Erasmus+ project and you will:

  • get to know and learn more about the international participants and their organisations, through team-building and interactive sessions;
  • increase your knowledge on Emotional Intelligence, Social Emotional Learning, Emotional Awareness, social psychology, mental health and how to apply this knowledge to youth work to boost social inclusion and impact;
  • through “learning-by-playing” sessions, develop non-formal educational methods, tools, models and practice based on SEL and EI, and focused on the current needs of young people;
  • develop and consolidate sensitivity and the expertise concerning mental health issues within the organisations, the networks, the International Voluntary Service movement and in youth work in general;
  • share ideas and inspirations on how to create synergies with formal and non-formal education bodies, to reach-out and include young people with fewer opportunities.

We will offer you an excellent learning opportunity that will support you to increase the quality of non-formal education activities you and your organisation are doing, and also a unique networking experience with fellow-minded people from across Europe. Please read the following points to check if you are eligible to apply!

The ideal participants are educators and trainers (also to-be trainers), workcamp coordinators, volunteers, NGOs staff and board members and youth workers with an interest in emotional intelligence, mental-health, non-formal education, social inclusion and its applications in      their work with young people.   

There are a few formal requirements you need to satisfy to join the training course:

  1. You need to be a resident of one of the 14 project countries mentioned on the cover page.
  2. You must be able to communicate in English (the working language of the course).
  3. You must be at least 18 years of age.
  4. You need to attend the whole course duration (there is no possibility to make exceptions).
  5. You commit yourself to take part in the preparatory and in the follow-up phase of the project.

We explicitly encourage participants of all genders, abilities and ethnic backgrounds to apply!

The provisional training programme and details about logistics can be found in the detailed Call for participants below! 

Deatailed information can be found in the Call for participants

If you consider yourself a suitable candidate for the course, please fill in the application form   by 16.05.2023, 23:59 CEST.

Before submitting your application, please contact the partner who will act as sending organization (click on the organization name to consult its website):

CountryOrganisation
AustriaSCI Austria
BulgariaCVS Bulgaria
Czech RepublicEYCB
EstoniaEstYES
GermanySCI Germany
IrelandVSI
ItalySCI Italy
North MacedoniaCID
PolandSCI Poland
PortugalAssociao Para Onde
SlovakiaYouth for Equality
SloveniaZavod Voluntariat
SpainXeracion Valencia
TurkeySystem & Generation

You will be notified of the selection results by 20.05.2023.

All those accepted will receive a detailed infosheet (including how to get to the venue, how to book your travel, what to bring, more information about the agenda of the project and details about the preparatory tasks). We will support you in the pre-departure phase together with our project Partner Organisations. Please do not start booking tickets before receiving the official confirmation of approval by CVS-Bulgaria!

If you have further questions regarding the project, you can write to us at trainings@cvs-bg.org

We are looking forward to your application!

Stela, Kat & Mauro (The coordination team)

The project “Y.D.E.A.-Youth Development through Emotional Awareness”, 2022-3-BG01-KA153-YOU-000100089 is supported by Erasmus+ Programme, under KA1, Youth workers mobility

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

 Posted by Kathy at 19:05 Comments Off on Let’s learn together about emotional inteligence! We are ready to invite you to join a one-week training course “Y.D.E.A.”
 

My name is Silvi and from January to August 2022 I was volunteering in a Montessori school in Telfs, which has made me ponder a lot about what is important for one’s education and nurture. During my volunteering I had discovered a lot about education and nurture. How fruitful it is for a child to thrive as a part of more than a system, but a community: taking part in each aspect of school life and voicing what is dear to them as an individual. Teaching, learning and relishing the beauty of the Alps, I spent a year in InfoEck – Jugendinfo Tirol looking for the greater meaning. I share with you some photos which illustrate this amazing journey!

#EuSCVolunteeringTyrol2022

28 April 2022 – Meeting with other volunteers to exchange with each other and discuss the “Sustainable Development Goals” and the “EU Youth Goals”.
20 may 2022 – our volunteering team is meeting to discuss solidarity, non-formal learning and reflection on learning processes. Our host was the amazing space of Die Bаckerei
“Cooking for Solidarity” 6 may 2022 – Our volunteering team was cooking for a good cause and welcomed many guests! The donations collected went to “Nachbar in Not – Help for Ukraine”. We presented the European Solidarity Corps and our project. Check out the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/3166487790239693

From the autumn of 2022 our ESC group has been hosting a radio show “Talking Europe” – spoiling the audience you with fine music and exciting topics. Website of Radio FREIRAD: FREIRAD 105.9 Freies Radio Innsbruck
5 July – Time flies! This photo was taken at our last hiking together! The project was over but tyhe journey just begins!
26 September 2022 – Back in Bulgaria I was able to share my experience with local volunteers and inspire them to volunteer abroad within the European Solidarity Corps program!

Volunteering Projects under European Solidarity Corps/2021-2-AT01-ESC51-VTJ-000044972

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 Posted by Kathy at 12:32 Comments Off on Volunteering in Tyrol – photostory
 

“Volunteering Circles II” is a long-term initiative of the organization CVS-Bulgaria, which includes 11 motilities in 4 circles (Volunteering, Social Inclusion and Integration, Human Rights and Art and Culture) as well as a number of complementary activities to improve the quality of the project results achieved in Bulgaria with international participation.

More information about the project and its goals you can find below:

The project consists of several circles: Volunteering, Social Inclusion and Integration, Human Rights and Art and Culture. Each circle has its main focus but the volunteers will work as a team and will be included in all the tasks and events provisioned within the project. Along with the regular activities the volunteers will be included in several complimentary activities envisaged in the project. The organization is always open for suggestions coming from the volunteers and answering the current needs of the target groups we work with. Below is a galary of photos from some of our past activities and events.

Detailed description of the regular and complimentary activities within the project you can find here:

The practicalities of the project are arranged according to the European Solidarity Corps guidelines, allowing the volunteers to enjoy a free participation. All necessary costs for the implementation of the project are covered, including food and pocket money, international, local transport and insurance, accommodation and utilities (when applicable). Detailed information can be found here:

The information about the positions and available vacancies you can find below. Please note that this information will be updated regularly. According to the rules of the funding program, the volunteers must be 18 to 30 years old (volunteers who have not reached the age of 31 upon applying are welcome). Moreover they should not have been a part of long-term EVS/ESC project in the past. In addition to these formal requirements, we are looking for young people who:
– would like to work in the field, spirit of activism and initiative
– have a strong motivation to support communities in need
– are eager to get to know different cultures
– have the motivation to develop their own ideas and initiatives
– desire to improve language skills
– have the motivation for learning, development of personal competences and creation of new friendships

Eligible countries: Participants must be legally resided in one of the following countries: EU countries, Turkey, North Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine,Syria, Tunisia
Venue of placement: Sofia, Bulgaria (some of the activities may require living/travelling within Bulgaria)
Working language of the activities: English, Bulgarian(Bulgarian online language courses will be provided)


Placement positions and vacancies: 
VOLUNTEERING CIRCLE
Number of positions: 2, Vacancies: 2, Type: Bulgarian volunteers, Duration: 6 months, Start date: flexible, but no later than June 2023
Number of positions: 1, Vacancies: 1, Type: International volunteers, Duration: 12 months, Start date: January/February 2023 *
(* let us know when you can start in January or if not possible what would be the earliest date when you are available)

SOCIAL INCLUSION AND INTEGRATION
Number of positions: 1, Vacancies: 0, Type: International volunteers, Duration: 12 months, Start date: December 2022
Number of positions: 2, Vacancies: 0, Type: International volunteers, Duration: 12 months, Start date: January/February 2023 *
(* let us know when you can start in January or if not possible what would be the earliest date when you are available)

HUMAN RIGHTS
Number of positions: 2, Vacancies: 1, Type: International volunteers, Duration: 12 months, Start date: January 2023 *
(* let us know when you can start in January or if not possible what would be the earliest date when you are avauilable)

ART AND CULTURE
Number of positions: 1, Vacancies: 0, Type: Bulgarian volunteers, Duration: 12 months, Start date: January 2022
Number of positions: 2, Vacancies: 2, Type: Bulgarian volunteers, Duration: 6 months, Start date: February/March 2023

We asked our volunteers to share their experience and help you choose CVS-Bulgaria as your future hosting organisation:

If you think this is your dream volunteering project and you are ready to join The Volunteering Circles II, please send us an e-mail with title the circle you wish to join and your name (example: Refugee Circle_Marina Costa) at cvs.katerina@gmail.com your CV and motivation letter.

Please follow the update in the number of vacancies and apply as soon as possible. All shortlisted candidates will be invited for an online interview. 

For any further questions, please contact us at cvs.kаterina@gmail.com

CVS-Bulgaria is a non-governmental organisation that has been working in the field of international volunteer exchange since 1998 and was officially registered in 2002 as an organisation working in public benefit. CVS-Bulgaria is a branch of the international peace and volunteer-exchange network of Service Civil International (SCI – www.sci.ngo) and a full member of South Eastern European Youth Network (SEEYN – www.seeyn.org). In 2019, the organisation also became a member of the civil association “Ravni BG”, which brings together 30 civil organizations that believe in democratic values and work in the field of human rights protection, vulnerable groups, sustainable development, advocacy, etc.

More information about our aims, approaches and activities you can find here:

Volunteering Circles II project /2020-3-BG01-ESC11-094933/ is co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps program of the European Union, operated by the Human Resourse Development Centre in Bulgaria.

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 Posted by Kathy at 16:38 Comments Off on Volunteering circles II – call for long-term volunteers
 

SCI cares about the high quality of our educational activities! We want to offer only the best experiences to our volunteers and the youth we work with, and we also keenly share our expertise in non-formal education with other organisations.

One such example was the Learning Lab(oratory) Pro training course which has been recently organized by our Polish branch in Pozna? in the period of 27.10-3.11.2022.

As many as 28 participants from 9 countries got more in-depth on the topics of inclusion and new tools and trends in learning and development in online and in-person settings, under the guidance of Natalie Jivkova and Goska Tur.

The training was a part of the ‘Learning Lab(oratory): quality non-formal education in the digital world’ project and co-funded by the European Union. You can find more information about the project here.

Here you can find the impressions from the participants from Bulgaria who explain what the training course was like for them in their own words… and graphics and drawings!!

Impressions from Hinka Stanimirova:
I was part of the lucky group, who had already gone through the wonderful experience of the first Learning Lab training course in Emen, Bulgaria this July. So, you can imagine that my expectations were high, to begin with. Still, our lovely trainers Natalie and Goska managed to meet and exceed them by gathering a vibrant group of 28 people from more than 10 different nationalities and leading us through a full week of discussions, games, role plays, digital tools and more. We had the chance to go out of our comfort zone and experiment in a safe zone. We learned and got inspired by each other, met new friends and made memories together.
For me, the beauty of such a well-organised international training course is that learning happens on many different levels. It is not just the tools that your trainers try to teach you. You learn with the new methods you try out, with the new people you meet, the new perspectives you encounter and the new culture you are immersed in for a whole week. It is so intensive and passes so quickly, that it takes time and reflection afterwards until you become fully aware of all the things you’ve brought back with you in your “backpack”.
So, looking back at my “backpack”, I want to give special thanks to our trainers and the organisers of SCI Poland, who made this learning journey possible. I would also like to encourage our readers, who haven’t yet experienced the magic of non-formal education to get their backpacks ready and jump into this adventure without a second thought.

Impressions from Ralitsa Drumeva:

Throwing back at the Learning Lab(oratory) Pro Training, full of inspiration and a shade of sadness and trying to reflect on all the emotions, lights of inspiring ideas and everything that I had the opportunity to learn, maybe the most distinguishing thought that comes at the forefront of everything is: “This was by far sure the most diverse group of people I have ever had the chance to interact and work with”.
Being myself an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion and working as a Co-Leader of the DEI initiative at the local division of an international IT company, I have had many occasions to see the importance of creating a space for people from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and innovate together.
Still, I have always had the feeling that something really important was… missing. And stepping into the circle of the Learning Lab, the missing part came to fill the space in my puzzle of what the power of diversity really was about. And as long as it is very difficult to express a feeling with words, the nearly best try would be to say that it is about creating a space for people from diverse backgrounds to explore the environment and themselves through art in all of its forms – digital, vocal, physical, written and hand-made, spoken and acted, danced and sang. Putting art in the toolbox boosts the potential and self-confidence of everyone to be able to be inspired and become inspirational for others as well, removing any limit or border.
The LARP play and conducted group singing experiences may be taken back to any country and any situation, folk dancing activities are a wonderful way of extending a hand to someone who has been through the trauma of war or violence, even if they do not speak the language of the country in which I am volunteering, thus giving both them and me the rope to feeling safe, the digital tools may remove barriers in front of people with limited mobility, audio or visual abilities, thus giving them the platform to be included and the feeling that they equally belong to a group.
And setting a safe space always starts and carries on with openness and sharing, it goes as far as walking through the dark forest of the holy night of 1st November to the cemetery, telling stories – the personal ones, family, related to city history, dating back to the full of horror times of past wars with a portion of humour to reveal a different, peaceful and mindful way of perceiving eternity.
Because being an international trainer, a facilitator, a youth worker, and a volunteer is always being an ambassador of the best virtues and values of your culture and an interpreter and ally for the best virtues and values of the cultures of the people you work with.

Impressions from Eliza Pankova:
For me “learning equals behaviour change”, so even though I am eager to talk plenty about my experience from the training time – how much I enjoyed the amazing nature of the accommodation place, the connection with the people in the group, the stimulating and entertaining workshops and the presence of the trainers with their dedication and care – I would rather share my learnings and inspirations

A lot of the things that I learned I have yet to put into practice, especially those for leading a group of participants through a multi-day experience. But some I have already started implementing – like making a warm and cosy atmosphere even for a working meeting, lighting candles and small lights and having pleasant things to eat.
The biggest learning and inspiration for me though was the introduction of digital tools. Me and a couple of others from the training group started working together to create an online calendar with simple challenges for people to be mindful and act toward creating a deeper sense of inner peace in their lives. We are experimenting with the digital tools that we learned in the training and also finding new ones to suit our project.
While working like this these few weeks after the training course in Pozna?, tons of new ideas came to my mind for new projects that can be realized with the help of these types of tools and for improvement of the current digital courses that I lead. I sparkle inside and can’t wait to continue exploring this field of possibilities that Goska and Natalie introduced to us in Learning Lab Pro.

Visual story by Vera Nikolova

Learning Lab visual story
 Posted by Natalie at 13:03 Comments Off on Learning Lab(oratory) Pro Training Course in Poland
 

A calendar for this December with small tasks to explore inner peace and exchange experiences with others

Hi there! If you would like to create more inner peace in your daily life, you are welcome to join the “Inner Peace Adventure”. On every day from 1st to 31st December, there will be a small surprise task to explore what brings us inner peace. By the end of the month, you will be enriched with various ideas for little things that you can incorporate into your life to promote (inner) peace. For some of the tasks there will be an opportunity to share your experience with the other participants from different corners of the world so we can inspire each other. Let’s go on this inner peace adventure together!

Link to join

The “Inner Peace Adventure” was created by Nora T. (Germany), Eliza P. (Bulgaria) and Dragan M. (North Macedonia). This autumn, they met in Poznan during the “Learning Lab(oratory) Pro” by SCI Poland, a training course on how to be a facilitator promoting high-quality non-formal activities, both offline and online. They also learned about how to use different digital tools and how to organise educational events more inclusively for people with disabilities. In October, Nora had also participated in the training course “Inner Peace and Peace with Nature” by SCI Switzerland. The sessions evolved around the topics of happiness, gratitude, mindfulness and connecting to Nature in the search for how to create and maintain inner peace on a daily basis. To put into action what they learned during both training courses and spread it to the world, the three of them developed a digital calendar on discovering the topic of inner peace while bringing like-minded people from different corners of the world together. Everybody is welcome to join!

 Posted by Natalie at 14:41 Comments Off on Inner Peace Adventure