Spring seminar 21-27 May 2017
I am Livia and back again in Budapest after a great second experience in Durres.
This time I attended the Phiren Amenca’s Spring Seminar, which took place in Albania from 21th to 27th of May, and gathered 35 Roma and non-Roma youths from 8 different European countries. The group was great, each participant had a very different background and interesting experiences to share, and at the end of the week we became really close.
As the first time in Durres, also in this seminar I covered the role of “junior facilitator” and I was quite involved in the planning of the program. That was a very interesting moment for me, because I felt motivated and engaged in this activity and I had fun trying to combine all the workshops of the week according to the different topics that we wanted to face. It was also very interesting to deal with the logistic staff and I realize better how does an organization of a seminar work. We spent many hours for the planning activity and at the end, the day of the flight came and, with my coordinator and the other facilitator, we went to Tirana! Before to move to the venue of the seminar, we stayed two days in the capital, in order to finalized all the preparation, and we really enjoyed the city and its atmosphere! Tirana has a really interesting history, and its environment makes feel happy everybody! So it was with a little bit of sadness that we left the city and we moved to Durres. The venue was a quite fancy hotel, very close to the beach, but we suited there very well. We waited for the arrival of the participants and in the evening we decided to go out. We ended up in a Balkan style disco! It was really funny all the situations! We dance a little and then I decide to go home in order to beginning the seminar with the proper strengths.
The first day arrived and we started the seminar with great enthusiasm: we were very motivated and the participants were great and very committed to the topic. On the first day we started with some “getting to know each other exercises” and then we moved to human rights exercises. This was a good occasion to discuss once more about them, and to go deeper. After this exercise we talk about the history of antigypsyism and the situation of Roma in different European countries. Was very interesting and at the same time sad, seeing that the problems are spread and almost the same in each country.
The first night we had the “Welcome party”, where each participant brought some food and sweets from their home and we shared all together at the rhythm of the music (the song “Despacito” became the soundtrack of our seminar!). We opened the second day again with human rights, and then we moved to other topic, as “facilitation skills” or “4 steps to action”. The latter one, was a very interesting exercise, divided into four parts, which explained the different steps we have to take in order to start and action and to assume the role of change-makers. Another exercise I really liked was the “Forum theatre”, a kind of theatre where a group of participants had to mime some situations of discriminations while the audience had the opportunity to stop the performance and to take a role in order to change it. This was a very intense day, but the youths were not tired and they kept the atmosphere happy until very late at night.
The day after we had the “world café”, and the hosting organization invited different NGO active in the Roma rights field. It was very interesting to talk with so motivated and active people. The afternoon was free and all the participants decided to go all together to the beach and then to the city. I stayed at the hotel with my coordinator and the other facilitator, in order to finish all the planning. I was less busy than them, so, after few hours I decided to jump in the swimming pool of the hotel and enjoy.
The fourth day was very interesting. We divided the participants into two groups, one focused on “facilitation skills” and the other one related to inter-cultural learning and gender topic. I led the first one with the other facilitator, Astrid, while my coordinator Anna led the other one. The workshop I led was at first based on the learning styles and then we moved to a second exercise, which was based on the developing of a story by the imagination of the participants. The game gave interesting results and four participants had the occasion to cover the role of facilitators in the two following session, by using the same exercise. In the evening we went to the town, where we had a dinner in a local restaurant. There was almost only meat and I am vegetarian, but the others were very happy and satisfied about the food, so it was fine also for me.
The time flew in those days and the end arrived very soon. We spent the last day organizing an action against a very awful event just happened in Ukraine, and one again, was so motivating see how the guys were engaged and willing to make some changes! They organized two petitions, one through a video an one written. Let us see what will happen!
The seminar finished on 27th of May, but my flight was on 28th. That gave me the occasion to spend one day in Tirana and I was very happy about that. I slept in a very nice hostel and I visited the city by myself, doing as much as I could! I went to some museums and I wandered around, reaching also the top of a strange monument.