Monday, February 6, 2017

Inclusion with Disadvantage Youth with Art Youth Exchange - INTERVIEW WITH REILI LEHIS

Name of the project: “Inclusion with Disadvantage Youth with Art”
Date: 23rd until 30th January 2017
Country/City: Usak, Turkey

What was the main topic of the event?

The main topic of the youth exchange was “Inclusion with Disadvantage Youth with Art”. The aims of the project were:
- create awareness among young people about inclusion and discrimination;
- promote art and use as a tool of participation young people:
- to increase the participation of young people with using their creativity;
- increasing the visibility of Eramus+ program in Ušak and increasing the participation of local youth to such programs.
During the project we were supposed to implement workshops on the topic of inclusion and do outside activities related to art (painting, music and dance) and flashmobs to create local awareness.

Estonian group had to admit that the actions and workshops promised in the schedule were not fully arranged. During the first days we focused on getting to know one another and made a few interesting group works and assignments about the topics of inclusion, empowerment, disadvantages and discrimination. Getting to know each other is always fascinating - participants from Estonia, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, United Kingdom and Greece bonded quickly and this was the basis of the group works being interesting, fulfilling and fun. 

Unfortunately we did not focus on the methods and ideas of the inclusion through art nor did we implement the workshops for painting and creating flashmobs outside. Fortunately we had some very talented people among the participants who entertained us and helped our whole group to include each other with their singing, dancing and playing an instrument.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

The biggest learning moment was to learn patience and the art of going with the flow. In Estonia we are so used to everything happening on time and according to the schedule. Since there were many uncertainties and change of plans throughout the weeklong project, instead of giving up or being frustrated we chose to have fun, accept the changes and go with the flow. Sometimes letting go can help you to make the best of something.

Another learning moment is about people – even if we did not fully focus on the project topic, it was still so much fun and we could learn plenty from other participants’ ideas, country, culture and talents.

In conclusion, being open-minded, accepting surprises and uncertainty, and going with the flow helps us to be more creative, learn more and connect to people. 

With not many tourists visiting, local people in Usak mostly do not speak English, so shopping in the bazaars and little shops helped us develop the skills of body language and being more creative for understanding each other.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

In this case the plan to continue in the field should be introducing ourselves the theories of inclusion of disadvantaged youth with art. 

Brief introduction to the theory of inclusion and discrimination was interesting and made us think that art, in its different variations, really is a good and effective way to include young people to social activities and show themselves in the community.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

I would definitely recommend taking part of Erasmus+ projects. Participating in projects is a perfect opportunity to share ideas, find friends from around Europe, introduce your own country in the best way possible to get people interested in coming to Estonia and learn or practice language skills.

Another interesting thing is that these projects can take place in any city and this is how you can visit a place you would otherwise never visit  – for example this project took place in Ušak, Turkey, which is about 500 km from Istanbul – for Turks it is a small city, with 500 000 people. For us it was a way to walk in this city as locals and observe the everyday life of local people.

During the project you can find out more about the mindsets, customs and talents because all the participants spend their time together doing group works and assignments during the daytime and having fun, dancing and singing in the evening. 

After the project, our hearts are filled with joy and admiration – how lucky are we do meet all these inspiring and amazing people. Together we experienced interesting and chaotic days that will be in our memories forever.

The group was composed by Reili Lehis, Hedi Teidearu, Renata Lukk, Kadi Käsner and Kristel Sarapuu. 

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

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