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E-ntrepreneur” is a KA1 Youth Exchange project which took place from the 4th until the 12th of November 2019 in Agrigento, Italy under the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The topic of the project was youth entrepreneurship, unemployment, activism and development of personal skills and knowledge. 

Our delegation consisted of: MariaAngelikiThanosCharisMariaElena and Nikos. All these youngsters represented EN.O GREECE to the fullest, not only through their active participation, but also by creating an article about ”Youth Activism in Greece” and conducting a relevant workshop for the whole group of the project! 

Below you can read their full article! 

 

Youth Activism in Greece 

Activism, a concept closely connected with Volunteerism, is a philosophical theory which supports that the essence of the human is expressed through practical energy and its aim is to intervene in social, political, economic and environmental issues in order to make changes within the community. In other words, overcoming passive observation can lead to radical or gradual alterations of the opinions and behaviors. All in all, activist movements aim at retrofitting the present and the future for the planet and the people indiscriminately.

Activist groups use distinct means to commute their ideology or beliefs in the public and to encourage other people to take action. Most commonly encountered is the Internet or Cyber-activism that deploys the social media and knowledge of technology to represent the activist groups’ purposes, campaigns and useful information about their movement. On the other hand, physical or in-person activism can be presented as non-violent resistance, as protesting through parades, boycotting and art, or as strike action. Finally, activist ideas can be spread through established communities such as schools and universities. Student Activism is on the rise and proves that younger citizens care and are willing to improve political, economic, environmental and social matters. All the above sharing ideology methods can be combined for the purposes of an activist movement or organization.

The different social, political and economic waves created a variety of activist movements overtime in Greece. First of all, Social Activism is represented by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and by individual activists. Daily, activists offer all their strength and willingness to help minorities in need. A living example is the refugees that arrive at the Greek east coast every day, seeking for a better life. Activists offer food, clothes, education and any help that might be needed too. Secondly, Environmental Activism has raised the awareness of Greek society in a crucial time for our planet. This form has great appeal in younger people whose aim is to make progress through protesting for the protection of flora and fauna, cleaning landscapes (beaches, parks, neighborhoods) and deforesting burned lands. Moreover,  less famous in Greece but not less important is the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle such as vegetarianism, pescetarianism, and veganism. The above movements are mainly defending the animals’ rights. Lastly, Political Activism is trying to argue for equal human rights and decent living conditions for everyone. Protests against strict legislation are the main movements that engage a great part of the Greek society. Besides, the sensitization on the rights of LGBTQ+ community has led to the rise of the advocacy of equality via social media, via types of arts and via physical protesting. Common purpose of all these activist forms is the alteration of the status quo aiming at a better future for both our planet and our society.

The severe economic crisis in Greece ignited a flourishing movement of political and social activism. The most prominent were the waves of mass anti-austerity protests in the 2010s, coupled with numerous grassroots initiatives of social solidarity, such as citizen-run health clinics and food centers. Smaller independent movements also appeared, for instance the Initiative of Non-appointed Faculty Members, developed by elected university lecturers, whose recruitment has been frozen by the Greek government for at least four years. The 2018 Attica wildfires, the second most deadly in the 21st century, also found the Greeks supporting each other, through acts of traditional volunteering, but also new forms of cyber-activism. Likewise, Greek citizens participate in the work of world-renowned organizations, like Greenpeace, Amnesty International, or the Red Cross (the biggest humanitarian organization in Greece).

The diversity of the activist movements and the promoting means constitutes an ambiguous definition, especially for children. Education can cultivate the willingness of students to explore the contemporary social, political and environmental changes, and the active participation in them too. First of all, significant others, such as parents and teachers, who, generally, have a role model, should show to the children how to express their opinions on combustive issues, and how to take action. Also, students could get familiar with the activist movement by participating in campaigns, which are held by the school community, like cleaning of the nearby beach, forest, and gathering first need goods for fellow humans that are in lack. Furthermore, lessons which include discussions with experts about controversial  issues or writing essays on relative thematology could clarify the meaning and the importance of activism.

 

In the case of Greece, the educational system and the traditional family do not keenly support activism. The NGOs make great efforts to inform and attract younger and citizens in their attempts at improving the future. Although the number of Greek activist movements is faint, in comparison with other European countries, they have encouraged more people to actively support their beliefs in public during the continuous changes in society and the world. In conclusion, the arising support to activism brings hopeful messages and motivates people to exceed self-centeredness and find transcendent meaning in life.

Pavlos, Katerina, Stratos, Thanos, Elena and Katerina were the youngsters who traveled to Valmiera in Latvia, in order to take part and represent our organization in the Youth Exchange project titled ”B2B: Business to Business” . The project took place from the 22nd until the 29th of May 2019 and was organized by the NGO “Latvian Association for Youth Activists” , in the framework of Eramsus+, under the aegis of the European Commission.

For all of young people who participated it was a unique opportunity and below you can read their thoughts and experiences! 

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Imagine this: A forest, small wooden made huts to live inside, 30 youngsters from different countries and a whole week ahead. What can possibly go wrong? And so, it happened. The Erasmus + program Business to business was exactly the above. From fruitful dialogues to constructive activities, 30 young people, each with their on passion and pursuit, combined their powers and made the week unforgettable and profitable. Cultures, beliefs, traditions. This particular week had it all. In our modern times, business is an area where few people actually get the chance to participate in. Throughout the program, these youngsters learnt how to communicate, negotiate, and most importantly, how to execute a business plan. This was only the beginning.

Pavlos Addimando

It has been some weeks since we returned from beautiful Valmiera, Latvia but the experience and the memories we collected there are still alive. Besides the fact that we got more familiar with the concept of entrepreneurship and social businesses, we got close to people from 6 different countries. After spending eight days of training and hard work we, the participants, managed to promote our common goals and by using our backgrounds, our creativity and our innovative spirit we managed to develop not only business plans, but also ourselves. Moreover, we found ways to solve work problems, worked within a budget and most importantly shared our experience in an international group.

Κaterina Manika

The youth exchange in Latvia was an experience that taught us a lot about entrepreneurship and how to work with young people. Through energizers and team building activities we learned a lot about the different cultures and people involved in the exchange from 6 different countries. Also, team formation and pitching of ideas helped us to use our creativity and think of innovative business plans to form successful enterprises.

Stratos Rigas

The project was cool, I liked the idea of being alone in the forest as that made us, the participants, feel like a small community and get to know each other better. The workshops were very interesting!  At first, I was afraid that because of the theme, the sessions would have a lot of theory and we would be bored but instead, we had a lot of role-plays other creative ideas that kept us focused on the project the whole time. The accommodation and food were fine too.  This was an experience I won’t easily forget!

Thanos Karaiskos

On the 22nd of May a journey started in the Latvian forest. Before I went there, I had many thoughts and fears about this trip, but eventually these thoughts and fears turned into sweet memories and ambitions. The whole experience within this environment, the people and the topic of the exchange, altogether make one of the best experiences of my life. As for my social development, I’ve learned about 5 different cultures, not only as for their traditions but also as for the personalities of the people who represent them and the ways that culture has an effect on them. As for my academic development, I found the topic to be very interesting to me. Entrepreneurship drives my way of thinking, not only by helping me to be creative, but also by showing me how to be profitably creative. So here’s a big thank you to all of the people of the exchange and Erasmus+ program for the opportunity.

Elena Hini

Putting a 7-day experience into words doesn’t seem to be that difficult, right? Trust me though, it can be, and that’s exactly the case with the ‘B2B’ Erasmus+ program in Valmiera, Latvia. These days were fulfilling from every aspect. Coming from 6 different countries, the interaction that we developed with each other through our daily sessions and tasks helped as become internationally aware of the business circumstances and environments.  Coming from 30 different backgrounds, we managed to fight stereotypes and in the meantime share our common concerns as well as future plans and dreams. I hope that the spark that got into all of us will lead into a bigger pursuit of our personal growth and that the friendships we made will last as long as our memories. Thank you EnoGreece and LAYA for this chance!

Katerina Krypotou

Charilaos,Gerasimos, Maria, Stavros and Maria were the youngsters who represented our organization in the YE project ”Labour Up” in Spain! 

Here you can see some of their thoughts and experiences! 

In 30 of August, five people from Greece met for the first time in the airport of Madrid. The emotional contrast between them was intense. Some of them were feeling sad, some of them happy and some of them enthusiastic. After a long search they arrived at the meeting point. Unfortunately we weren’t able to enjoy the beauty of Madrid during the road because it was raining.

Later we arrived at Valladolid. We went to our rooms and then all together we went for a walk nearby to drink something.

The next day the first energizer game helped us to get know each other. From this moment   we didn’t stop laughing. The atmosphere was unique and from the first minute we knew that the goodbyes in the end would be painful.

The variety of the workshops were amazing (stand-up comedy, presentations, role play games) that helped us to learn more about how to make a CV, a video CV and present ourselves in a interview. We also learnt about the rights not only for the employs but also for the employers. The workshops were so beneficial for us and now are able to apply the things which we learnt during the whole project. In addition we also informed about hostels.

As for the intercultural nights they helped us to understand each other culture even more, for one week we felt like a big family.

Moreover, we had a free day and we traveled to Salamanca. It was beautiful, magical and unique city and we didn’t want to leave from there.

The days went by so quickly until the project ended… We didn’t want to say goodbye because one day we hope to see each other again. We will never forget this experience, those friendships, these feelings…

This was only the begging. Thank you for this amazing experience!

Melina, Konstantina, Markos, Giorgos and Alexandros were the young people who traveled to Allerod in Dermark, in order to take part and represent our organization in the Youth Exchange project titled ”It’s about Us!”. The project took place from the 17th until the 26th of July and was organized by the Danish NGO ”WAYS” , in the framework of Erasmus+, under the aegis of the European Commission. 

For all young people who participated it was a unique opportunity and below you can read their thoughts and experiences! 

9 days. 7 different countries. 35 participants. One small cabin in the quaint and quiet Allerød in Denmark. And countless memories about to made!

When we applied for this project, we thought it was going to be about religion. And, in a way, that was true. The project aimed to tackle various topics regarding religion, such as religious discrimination, stereotypes, customs and traditions. But, as it turns out, it was in fact much, much more than that. Throughout the days we spent together, and through various activities, we had the valuable opportunity for self-reflection, as well as to get to know each other on a deeper level.

In the close grounds of the cabin and the surrounding nature, we all shared intense emotions, we laughed, we cried, we became vulnerable and created lasting bonds with each other. During the days, we created our own religions, we went on treasure hunts, we played various roles, we learned how to manage conflicts, we learned about and shared love, we supported each other through both the easy and the tough moments. And during the nights, we had the chance to dive deeper into each other’s cultures, we attended a Croatian wedding, a Spanish New Year’s Eve and a Cyprus-hosted Eurovision contest; we enjoyed Turkish delicacies; we played Danish games; we witnessed multiple Polish traditions and we danced traditional Greek dances. But the moments that will stay forever in our minds and hearts are the ones where we shared laughter and jokes, engaged in deep conversations and debate, or stargazed while laying in a field of flowers.

We went into this project with varying degrees of experience. For some of us, it was our 4th or 5th project. For others, it was the first introduction to Erasmus+ youth exchanges. What is for sure, though, is that this experience will be remembered by all of us fondly for months to come. During these 9 days, not only did we gain knowledge and tools that facilitate dialogue among different cultures and religions, but we also got closer to understanding both other cultures, the people representing them and, most importantly, ourselves.

Below you can also find a link for the humorist video that was created by the participants during this project!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZklu5XeKd4&ab_channel=JasiekMolski