jueves, 28 de noviembre de 2019


By Jakob Sußmann

“Strike a Pose” was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange program from the 18. until the 24. November of 2019. This time the Organiser, South European Youth Exchange, brought different young people from around Europe together to rise awareness about
 youth employment and the use of social media. 
Ilewasi provided the Spanish team that got infiltrated by two Germans and consisted of:

After some long travelling we arrived on Monday night in the beautiful town of Lecce in the south of Italy. There we met the other groups, consisting out of young people from Greece, Ireland, Poland and Italy. The cultural differences between these groups began soon to abolish, as we started to exchange the different stories of the struggle to come to this place. Also, the first round of “Jungle Speed” was played, a game that can be very frustrating, especially for Polish people 😉. After all everybody made it to Lecce and was happy to go to sleep after a long day.
A collection of the art pieces
The first day of Activities started with activities to get to know each other. Sandro, the organiser of the local NGO “South European Youth Forum”, started a round of introduction and everybody struggled for some time with the Greek names. After that it got easier as we did rounds of “speed-dating” and a more or less successful joint effort to potrait each other. A more challenging task in form of a treasure hunt through Lecce was set for the evening. The challenge did not rise from the chase after the treasure itself, but more from the inhuman weather conditions outside. Even though the tough challengers got equipped with umbrellas, soon they were soaked from head to toe in water. Only one resilient group of young Europeans managed to finish the final task and interview an Italian Barista how to make the typical Coffee in Lecce. At night every group presented their nationality with regional food and drinks in the context of an intercultural night.
Getting comfortable with each other
After successfully waking up, the group was even more bounded together, as the experience of the last night (a lot of beer) forged them into one entity. But that did not mean that the teambuilding activities of this day would come too easy. Figuring out how to fit more than 20 people into a square which has the size as a shower was harder than it looked at the first glance. Nonetheless everybody tried to work together, as different groups tried to save suicidal eggs from cracking on the ground or to solve a riddle through the existing language barriers. At the end of the day, as people figured out which position they can take within the team, all of us saved the nation through carrying some “nuclear waste” to a disposal station (With the help of some people who sacrificed their arms)
The third day started with sessions about the actual topic of the programme, employment. We tried to think about the term and the different implications of unemployment and how you actually could make benefits out of such a position. Further we simulated job interviews and tried to replicate tough situations for employees, in which they have been in one or another way handicapped. This brought up the realisation that it can be very hard for certain people to get jobs, because most employers cannot be blamed for not wanting to work with “difficult” people. The evening started to get creative with tasks about video making. The outcome was a compilation of random and cringy, but undoubtedly funny and entertaining videos.
Disappointment at a job interview
As the next day started, we tried, while still having a buzz in our heads, to visualize our dreams. As I can imagine some of us just dreamed of their cosy bed, in which they spent way to less time the night before. Regardless we proudly showed our ambitious dreams to the world. We got to know a future renowned chef and who is going to be the president of Poland in 20 years. Later we started to work on the final project. After a brainstorm, which tried to include everybody’s thoughts and ideas, the groups started to work on a social campaign to educate the young generation about the issue of unemployment. This included videos about the perfect job interview and CV and, furthermore, the accompanying social media representation. Another group created a digital diary about our experience in Lecce.

The outcome, which was concluded in the last day, was more than presentable. Every group managed to work successfully together and was proud of the results. The last days did not seem to feel like a week has passed, but the time of goodbyes came. Young hearts got broken and promises to see each other again were passed. But everybody carried something precious to his or her home country:
Sharing ideas
Not only did we learn something through the project itself, the more profound thing everybody felt has been the genuine connections between such young but different people. After that week everybody’s view of the world consisted out of far more different perspectives. As we learned how to insult each other in nice ways through a foreign language, sought shelter from the Italian monsoon while searching a penis shaped window and almost died from a Greek homebrew liquor, we not only had an unforgettable experience, we also learned to build trust, communicate and to be united in diversity. After all everybody of us is a European.

Group hugging to say goodbye

domingo, 24 de noviembre de 2019


By Ethan Mills

‘RESISTANCE’ was an 8 day youth exchange in the beautiful town of Specchia in Italy’s Puglia region, bringing together young people from across europe to exchange ideas and foster intercultural relationships. This was the first of two exchanges under the RESISTANCE theme with this mobility focused on fighting extremism and radicalisation using the power of media literacy. 

My Spanish team: Shadi, Colomer, Belén, Raquel, Cristina, Alex y Celia.

The project included participants from Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria, which meant there were a lot of cultural differences to deal with and lots to learn about each other. Additionally some of the groups varied greatly in ages, from 15 or 16 in some teams to 27 or 28 in another. Regardless, everyone went into the week very excited for the challenges that lay ahead. 

Specchia is a very small and beautiful town in the south of Italy, however it is very hard to reach, as a result the teams were scheduled to meet in the closest city of the region, Lecce. As part of the Spanish team we had roughly 4 hours to wait for the private bus that would take us to Specchia so we decided to explore the city and get some lunch. This is where the adventure began after spotting another group of young people hauling their little travel bags behind them, we had bumped into the Greeks. From there the conversations were flying and introductions were made, little by little more teams joined us and eventually we were a full 40 europeans who had taken over the little bus station of Lecce.

The first night consisted mainly of introductions and getting to know people over our first meal and subsequently our first few drinks. In the morning we began the programme which started, like every morning, with an energiser. This was designed to get us up and moving and excited for the challenges if we weren't already.

DAY 1:
Icebreakers and introductions. 
Day 1 was very chaotic and fast paced as we had to try and learn the names of 39 other people in the group (which included our own groups) using a variety of games, conversation tactics and name shouting. One of the first things we did was head to the centre of Specchia to the main square where we formed two parallel lines facing one another, much to the bemusement of the locals. The task was ‘Speed Dating’, we were given 1 minute to talk to the person opposite about a topic that was given to us, after 1 minute one line shuffled along to talk to a new person. After half an hour we had 30 conversations and had learned (almost) everyone's names. 

After lunch was a visit to the local municipality where we were given a brief talk on the history of Specchia and its role in combating extremism. Following this we were back in the main square listening to a local historian elaborate further on the history of the town whilst walking through the main sights. This included the underground olive mills, the local church and a lucky visit to the roof of the main building were we could see Specchia in all its glory. 

DAY 2: 

Team Building and Communication

On day 2 we were randomly split into teams to begin working on the first group task, the egg drop. This involved designing and making a ‘nest’ to drop your egg into using only 5 sheets of paper, 3 balloons, some tissue and some masking tape. Unfortunately the majority of the groups missed their nest during the drop and so no one was able to protect their egg. Next up was the spaghetti tower. Each team had to build the tallest tower using spaghetti, marshmallows and small gummy sweets, the tower had to be able to support a balloon on top. We were judged on, height, ability to support a balloon and our use of resources (the fewer the better). Both tasks were very fun and brought together all nationalities regardless of their level of english or their confidence. It also gave us a chance to interact with some people in the group we had not spoken to before. 

After lunch we spent a lot of our time preparing for the intercultural night which took place that evening. Each country made and brought traditional food and drink from their country, which gave us a chance to try things we’ve never heard of before and learn more about each other. I will never forget drinking a famous Polish ‘hangover cure’ which was just a full glass of pickle juice! Following this we danced to songs from all over the world and taught each other our traditional dances, it was truly an incredible experience. Although I don’t believe I will ever be able to dance like a Spaniard with my English hips, nor move like a Greek with my two left feet. 

DAY 3:
Day 3 was our rest day where we had the morning off so we could relax and enjoy the local area. The first task of the afternoon was designed to highlight the idea of misunderstandings and misinterpretation. We were split into teams and lined up one behind the other so we couldn't see what was happening behind us. The task was to relay a message to the other end in different ways, first was a drawing on eachothers backs, then performing an action and then retelling a story. This was very eye opening and also very funny experience to see the change in through the challenge. Our final challenge of the day was to guide blindfolded ‘sheep’ into a ‘pen’ without talking, this had to be done by the ‘shepherd’ who was elected by every team member. The teams had to design a system of signals to guide the sheep home in the quickest time possible. Again this was a very funny challenge which involved lots of misunderstandings! 

DAY 4:
We began the morning in the beautiful Italian sunshine with an outdoor activity to highlight privilege. All of us were given a ‘character’ and had to take a step each time we would answer ‘yes’ to a question. In the end we revealed our ‘characters’ to highlight how some unchosen aspect of life can set you at a disadvantage. In the afternoon we had one of the funniest tasks of the trip where we were all given a ‘culture’ with different conflicting characteristics. The challenge was to build a shelter together while maintaining our culture and being unable to explain it to others. The result was a terrible shelter but a lesson about cultural differences that I will never forget. 

DAY 5:
This is where we started our campaigns for the project, after being split into groups and given four media platforms: video, photography, instagram stories and a flash mob. We brainstormed ideas for how to do a campaign to fight extremism and radicalisation which we would continue on day 6. In the afternoon we did a very emotional task which helped us to empathise with refugees and people who had lost a lot in their lives. This evoked a very emotional response from many people, highlighting how tough life can be especially for those less fortunate than ourselves. In the evening we were treated by the locals to a lesson on making pasta! We also were given food and drinks famous from the area and listened to local music. 

DAY 6:
We spent all of day 6 doing our campaigns, taking ideas from the brainstorming we had done on day 5. My group was part of the video group which meant lots of awkward moments in front of the camera! In the evening we went to the centre again to see a local band that was playing in the square. It was a night that everyone started to realise how close we had all become in the past week and that our journey was almost over. 

DAY 7: 

Our final day! We spent the morning finalising our campaigns as best we could and trying not to think about going home. Most of the group left on day 8 as planned but a small group of the Spanish team had to leave that evening to catch an early flight the following morning. There were lots of hugs, kisses and tears as we spent the last hour saying goodbye to everyone we met, who now felt like a big family. The time had come and the first group, including me, made an emotional farewell to a truly unforgettable and fantastic week. 

The friends I have made on this trip I truly believe will be friends for life, the experiences we shared together, laughing, joking, eating, drinking, dancing, crying, is something I will hold onto forever. 

I finished this week a new person, with new experiences and a fresh perspective on what it means to be european and to be human. If you gave me the opportunity to do this again I would already be waiting at the airport ready to go. 

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2019


Por Jana Blahová


Everything has started at the end of the training course Replay in Rumania (http://ilewasi.blogspot.com/2019/09/seguimos-con-erasmus-rumania-re-play.html?m=1). One of the trainers, Sipi, told us about the training course Coach Your Team by Coaching Yourself (CYTCY) in Bulgaria. Immediately, I started to think about to go. It has passed some days and I asked Sipi about the info pack. It did not take a long time and I was on the board. 

The training course was in Ravnogor, one of the Bulgarian villages. All week was such nice and sunny weather. 

There were 30 participants and 17 nationalities (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Izrael, Lithuania, Nord Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Ukraine).

Arrival day (21.10. Monday)

My adventure started on Sunday the 20th. It was the first time after a long time I have traveled alone. It means, I was so excited, in stress, and happy at the same time. My journey included way from the Castellón de la Plana to Barcelona and flight from Barcelona to Sofia. And because my flight was later evening I had to go to Barcelona earlier. The flight had delay one hour and a half because of the weather. So I came to Sofia at about 3 am. I did not know where to go. I slept a little bit at the airport but most of the time I was waiting and waiting until I decided to take a free shuttle service from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 which is a modern one.

After a long night, I drank coffee. I changed the money. And I found the metro station. I took the metro to the city center. I explored the city. I met my friend from the training course Replay. And I found the people who went to the training course CYTCY. 

Around 4 pm we went by bus to a lovely village Ravnogor. It took about 3 hours to reach our goal. We chose the room, roommate, we had dinner, and the first meeting as a group in the training course. We dealt with practical information, rules, norms, logistic part of the project (part of the reimbursement process, etc.). An
d after a long day, we went finally to bed.

The second day (22.10. Tuesday)

After breakfast, we started with the introduction of the daily program. The program continued by mingling - free movement of every person at the training room with the card in the hand. When we stopped we found a person and we needed to answer each other to the question we had on the card.

The next activity was a quick interview about our coaching experiences. One person was a coach, the second coachee.

Then we were standing up in the circle and the task was to choose a person who will be our buddy. It was the person with which we shared our feelings, emotions, issues. Also, we had an agreement about the help of each other. 

Next, we started with the official coaching. The first activity was called a Reality check. And as the name of the tool says the reality check is about to check reality. The person answers the questions: how is s/he feeling, what does s/he do in her/his life, where does s/he live, what does s/he do in free time? etc. 

After the break, there was introduced the De Galan method. We practiced the method. And then after dinner, we watched short movies.

The third day (23.10. Wednesday)

After breakfast, there was an activity called Phenomena. It means, we walked in the silence for one hour. We did not know how long we will go but it had magical moments. Then we shared experiences and talk about the differences between "I am sad" and "I feel sad". 

Later there was a perceptual position presented to us. Again, we practiced and after dinner, there was a short body movement exercise.

On this day, there were started the first coaching meeting groups. We divided into 6 groups for 5 people. And of course, it would not be me if I kept the name of the coaching group. I have immediately changed it to the couching group. 

The fourth day (24.10. Thursday)

This day there was presented the Communication Style Method. In this method, there are 4 groups of people according to their characteristics and needs. Some people have on the first place Quality, other ones Support, Control or Enthusiasm. Also, people from the group of Quality and Control take care more about the tasks, others about the people. Enthusiasm and Control are more dominant and the others more reserve. 

Then there was an activity about the concept of politeness about the lies, excuses, and the games we play in our lives. The talk included images, pretense, masks to protect us because of fears, worries, comfort zone...the practicing involved to write lies, excuse and games we play, 15 items per each one, and talk about it with the buddy. 

This day we also practiced another technique, The TimeLine. The technique is focused to see the goal and the steps we need to do to reach it. 

The fifth day (25.10. Friday)

The morning was concentrated on the next method, The Radical Honesty. This method includes 6 steps: Environment, Behavior, Skills/Capabilities, Beliefs/Values, Identity and Purpose/Mission/Vision. After the demonstration of the method, we could practice in pairs. Afternoon we were outside to do the slackline. It included overcoming our fears and trust in people. 

The sixth day (26.10. Saturday)

The leadership activity called The Flock of the birds was the target of the Saturday morning. At first, we practiced walking as a flock in the silence. Then there was the followed task: division into 3 groups, choosing the shape we will walk in 2 meters from each other 2 kilometers from the hotel, and to stay quiet. 

Afternoon we practice the next method, The Systematic Work, called also Constellation. The method involves 4 principles Acknowledge, Time, Place, and Exchange. 

After dinner, we met in the training room to talk about Coaching Day, how it will work, what is necessary to do as a coach, etc. Everyone also needed to choose the coach and coachee.

The seventh day (27.10. Sunday)

Coaching day 

The half-day we spent with our coach and the rest of the day with the coachee. The day had the following structure: breakfast, interview with the coach/coachee, preparation (thinking about which method to use), coaching session, break, clearing (conclusion of the coaching session, agreement, feedback), lunch, supervision (sharing with the trainers). And afternoon the same structure with coach/coachee, dinner, and coaching group (sharing/reflection with 5 people).

The eighth day (28.10. Monday)

Morning: sharing and evaluation of the previous day. The activity Sources of success we did after, contains result, action (planned we did/hesitated and did), insight (AHA moment), new understanding, identified mistake, question). The task was for 5 minutes to write as many items as possible about what we have learned, discovered during the training course, to say one the most important thing, and jump from the chair to the air, and talk with the buddy about every item. 

During the following energizer, we played we are ducks. The ducks without space, need to squeeze more and more, try to dance on the small place on the music. And suddenly there was rhythmic, energetic music and we can dance as people. It was funny and crazy.
All afternoon there was an open space where we could do activities we would like to share with others, or we could only participate. It was really interesting. 

The ninth day (29.10. Thursday)

There was talk about the administration's things, future opportunities, Youthpass, dissemination, incompletions and also, the slackline activity. During the afternoon, there was closing and saying goodbye time to our coaching (couching) groups, and then the thanking route. Everybody could find the person would like to say thank you. Later, we wrote a letter for ourselves, we changed it with our buddy, we asked him/her to send it to us a specific day/month, and we made an agreement with him/her about our future relationship, too. 

Before dinner, we came to the training room. Everyone took one of the parts of the game Jenga and needed to write there what does s/he is thankful for or what did s/he learn during the training. We shared it and listened to the goodbye song. To dinner, we should bring our dinner date. During the dinner, we received the YouthPass and certificate from the Smonkinya Foundation. After dinner, there was a disco and we danced and said goodbye to the hotel, to friends, to everyone, and everything. 

The tenth day (30.20. Wednesday)

The departure day. We left around 7 am to reach Sofia around 10 am to catch the flights. The rest of the people who had not the morning flight spent time together. And that is. It is over. 

It was a really interesting experience. I have learned many things about myself. One of them and maybe the most important one is the finding I can be calm down and listen to somebody who has the problem. Do not talk about myself and also do not interrupt the person, just listen, and be present for him/her.

It was incredible. I did not expect the course will be concentrated more on ourselves. It has spread my comfort zone, it has shown me the games I play, it has helped me to start to work and to concentrate more on myself. 

I have realized many things about myself, I have started with the healing process.
Thank you very much Smonkinya Foundation and Erasmus + I could participate in and to be present during the training course.

 Take the action!

lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2019


Por Bárbara Cortés Martínez

Voluntariado de arqueología (ERASMUS+Volunteering) organizado por la ONG Open Space Foundation en Bulgaria, bajo el proyecto Not Just History de la EU, con la colaboración de la ONGD ILEWASI, que se llevó a cabo del 24 de julio al 6 de septiembre de 2019

Me impactó Preslav desde el primer momento por su paisaje verde y frondoso. Las actividades que realizamos durante la primera semana tuvieron la finalidad de conocernos todos (participantes y tutores), teniendo en cuenta que procedíamos de varios países, de situarnos en la ciudad y alrededores y de empezar a relacionarnos con sus gentes. Después comenzamos a trabajar en el yacimiento arqueológico. Fue un trabajo agradable y muy interesante. Aprovechamos los fines de semana para conocer la ciudad misma y hacer excursiones a ciudades cercanas como Veliko Tarnovo.

Cuando a través de la ONGD ILEWASI, como entidad de coordinación, envío y recepción del Programa de Voluntariado Europeo Erasmus +, se me ofreció la oportunidad de viajar a Bulgaria para participar en un voluntariado arqueológico en la localidad de Preslav, situada en la comarca de Shumen, capital de la provincia homónima y situada en el noreste del país, no sabia la gran aventura que me esperaba. Aún con el miedo de irme sola lejos de casa y por bastante tiempo, añadiendo que era novata en los voluntariados, me encaminé en este viaje. Al llegar al aeropuerto de Sofía nos recogió un micro bus de la ONGD Open Space Foundation que nos llevó a Veliki Preslav, sede de nuestra estancia.

Este voluntariado me ha enriquecido tanto culturalmente como de conocimientos, ya que he podido ampliar mis estudios sobre Arqueología e Historia de manera práctica y entretenida. A la vez he podido convivir con otra cultura, otras costumbres, su comida típica y experimentar en primera persona las diferencias de un país a otro. A esto se suma la convivencia directa con los demás voluntarios/as procedentes de otros países como Croacia, Eslovenia o Italia, obligándome a salir de mi zona personal de confort hacia lo desconocido en cuanto a tradiciones y costumbres y valorar y reconocer lo distinto y lo que tenemos todos/as en común, que es mucho. En definitiva, siendo esto lo que más valoro: la Interculturalidad.

Así mismo, otro beneficio de este voluntariado es el reconocimiento de las prácticas realizadas para mi  currículum gracias al certificado YouthPass, validadas por la Comisión Europe

En conclusión: ha sido un viaje que me ha ofrecido la posibilidad de ampliar conocimientos tanto académicos-prácticos, como personales, ayudándome a abrirme a otros mundos, a gestionar mi dinero, a madurar y a salir de mi burbuja. Animo a otros jóvenes a participar en este voluntariado, que seguro, que se convertirá en un viaje del que guardaran muchos y agradables recuerdos y anécdotas para contar.

Y ...agradecer muchísimo a la ONGD ILEWASI y a la ONGD Open Space Foundation por haberme concedido la oportunidad de participar en este proyecto, así como por su apoyo y seguimiento, sin lo que no hubiera sido posible esta maravillosa aventura.

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2019


Por Génesis S. Sira

Este pasado mes de octubre nos hemos iniciado por tercer año consecutivo con nuestro Programa Escuelita Emocional. 

Este año articulado con los/as pececitos/as.  Nuestros/as pececitos son niños, niñas y adolescentes que participan en actividades socio- educativas, deportivas y de ocio con el objetivo de fortalecer su desarrollo integral y a su vez que se conviertan en actores/as de sus derechos. 

La escuelita emocional  trabaja la educación emocional y opera a través de un equipo de profesionales y voluntarios/as interdisciplinares y de un amplio rango de edad, que realiza talleres, concretamente talleres con un enfoque terapéutico expresivo (se utilizan el juego y las artes como herramienta transformadora, sanadora y de aprendizaje).

Estos talleres están divididos en 4 módulos:

- Conocimiento de las emociones

- Regulación de las emociones,  

- autoconocimiento, autocuidados 

- cuidados al otro/a (naturaleza e iguales) y habilidades sociales. 

Teniendo en cuenta que la expresión se encuentra presente en todos los talleres de forma trasversal. 

Creamos espacios de exploración, palabra, movimiento y aceptación, donde ninguna emoción es buena o mala, donde los niños, niñas y jóvenes aprenden que cada emoción tiene una función y que podemos convivir con ellas de forma equilibrada y armónica para una convivencia pacífica, tolerante e intercultural.

En la Escuelita emocional hemos realizado juegos cooperativos en cada una de nuestras sesiones, para aprender todos y todas a trabajar en grupo, ejerciendo de apoyo y divirtiendonos. Por otro lado, hemos realizado actividades de introspección y conocimiento de las emociones, como la mímica de emociones, el reconocimiento de “emoticonos” y la realización de historias imaginarias donde hablamos de las emociones de forma libre. 

Como suceso especial durante este mes, destacar que hemos compartido con el Voluntariado Social de la Caixa que año tras año realiza actividades con nosotros/as, desde que nos hemos iniciado con Escuelita El Voluntariado de la Caixa nos ha ido viendo crecer a la Escuelita Emocional y a Pececitos donde también realizan actividad social con nosotros/as en la ejecución de talleres, realización de refuerzo escolar y acompañamiento en nuestras meriendas saludables.

Una vez más damos las gracias a la Caixa y su comprometido equipo de Voluntarios/as que aprenden con nosotros/as y aportan de su tiempo y cariño.

!Os seguiremos contando!