Eastern Europe is marked by deep social inequalities. Simultaneously, young people are developing a sense of civic duty and are interested in becoming active citizens, but they are often not aware of how they can contribute to improving the situation. We aim to deliver active citizenship workshops and connect young people from urban areas with youth from underdeveloped areas, creating new connections and opportunities that would spark a change for the better and reduce inequalities.
South of Romania: Dambovita, Ialomita, West Bulgaria: Kyustendil, Pernik, Pazardjik
Disadvantaged areas in Romania and Bulgaria have very little infrastructure, which leaves young people with very few opportunities to ever improve their current social and economic status and become radicalised and an easy target to xenophobic and nationalistic discourses that threaten the peace and prosperity present in Europe.
Many young people in more urban areas are looking for ways to be active citizens and improve the situation in their countries. However, they are often enclosed in their social bubble and are not aware of the concerning situation happening in less developed areas and how much their help is needed there. They are completely unaware of the great impact they could have in the lives of their peers who have less opportunities and therefore less chances to advance.
We believe there is a great potential in bringing these 2 target groups together and provide the space for them to learn from each other, and grow together, as the peer-to-peer learning experience have a great impact on young people.
By having them interact, attending workshops, trainings and other activities together, they will empower each other. The young people from disadvantaged areas will tap into the knowledge of their peers from the urban area. They will learn different important skills like non-violent communication, community organising and using online tools for visibility which will empower them to become active citizens and help their region.
Furthermore, this idea will create strong connections between these young people which will lead to more projects, initiatives.
We will involve young people from both developed and underdeveloped backgrounds, with ages between 15 and 30 years old.
Our idea aims to involve:
At least 250 Young people (15-30 years old) from the disadvantaged regions in Romania and Bulgaria, who will be mainly the recipients of our activities, but will also be encouraged to become multipliers and continue organising activities after the project
At least 50 Young people (15-30 years old) from developed regions who wish to make an impactful contribution to society.
stakeholders in Romania and Bulgaria, who can improve the situation in underdeveloped areas and provide more opportunities for young people (Representatives of the Ministry of Education)
Possible sponsors who can support young people in need
The work will be structured in 4 work packages:
WP 1.Project management:YFU Romania will lead the project, YFU Bulgaria will support. We will engage our already established networks of volunteers and our partners. 2 Project coordinators will be responsible for the administration of the resources in the 2 countries.
WP 2.Communication:We will develop communication materials to promote our work and reach more people. We will use social media to raise awareness. We will organise visibility events to show the situation in the areas we go and encourage support.
WP 3.Facilitators trainings:Before delivering workshops, young people will go through a training.
WP 4.Coloured Glasses workshops:Workshops will be delivered in schools and young clubs, to tear down barriers between young people
In one year, we envision that we have a permanent contact in all the schools we visit. Some of the participants of the workshops we will deliver will become inspired by the possibilities of this methodology and will begin organising engaging activities in their community. Young people from urban areas become involved and support these activities as well, long after the end of the project.
Many of the workshop participants learn the value of volunteering and being active in the society, become initiative driven, and seek out opportunities for themselves and get help through the friendships they make through this project.
The testimonials we gather through this project reach important actors in Romania and Bulgaria, and they mobilize more resources for improving infrastructure.
This initiative focuses on creating active citizens in the underdeveloped areas of Romania and Bulgaria, by bridging together young people from different backgrounds and creating new connections and opportunities that would spark innovation and involvement.
By bringing our activities at the underdeveloped level, we will manage to include groups of young people that would normally not have access to these type of activities (social inclusion). We want young people to realise that no matter their background, they strive for the same things and they can work together to achieve it, and at the same time, reduce the risk of them becoming radicalised and developing nationalistic and xenophobic tendencies, which we are already seeing starting to rise in Europe due to strong inequalities.
The mission of YFU is to advance intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect, and social responsibility. We do so by organising long-term pupil exchanges, who live one year in a voluntary host family and learn about a new culture.
The pupils who come back from these exchanges are profoundly impacted by this experience and have a strong desire to get back to the community. They do so by continuing to promote intercultural education, civic engagement and active citizenship in their countries.
We want to give the volunteers in Romania and Bulgaria the resources to access also disadvantaged areas and in this way engage with young people that do not have as many opportunities as the ones living in urban areas.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 2 STAFF (YFU RO + YFU BG) X 1000 EURO/MONTH (part-time salary, including taxes) X 12 months = 24.000 EUR - these costs are the most important to ensure we can facilitate the access to disadvantaged areas to the volunteers who want to conduct activities.
Workshops costs (venue rental, materials, snacks etc): 50 EUR X 200 workshops = 10.000
Travel and accommodation to access remote areas : 6.000 EUR
Trainings for volunteers: 7.000 EUR
Communication costs: 3.000 EUR
We would like to get feedback on how we can better reach disadvantaged youth and share our best practices with them, while at the same time help them grow and become active citizens who contribute to their community.