From the 6th to the 14th of April, Rodolfo, Mireia and Josué traveled to Petrohand, one hour from Sofia (Bulgaria) accompanied by Lola, the technician from the Ramon Noguera Foundation who accompanied them on this experience, in the framework of a meeting within the Erasmus + SEIS project on entrepreneurship and innovative solutions .
They moved into a house where they met young people from other organizations in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Belgium, Chile and Bulgaria, the latter being the host organization and coordinated the activities. which took place during those days, a total of about 30 people living together for a few days.
Every day, they had an agenda of activities from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. They did many activities of knowledge, self-knowledge, building relationships, trust, reflections on values, skills, group activities such as debates, conflict resolution, entrepreneurship activities, and so on. In addition, each person was randomly assigned a buddy, that is, a colleague from another entity who had to be on the lookout for responsibility. Finally, in the evenings, each day a group gave a presentation about their country to the other participants. They also had time for sightseeing, to get to know the city of Sofia and its culture and history.
On the last day they did a dynamic by which each person chose an illustration from a letter from among many and explained what it meant to them. Rodolfo, Mireia and Josué tell us their answer:
- Rodolfo: “I chose a letter where there was an open door and you could see a landscape outside, a field. I chose it because for me it meant leaving home, going to another place, getting to know another country, another culture. Although I have traveled extensively in Argentina, my home country, this has been my first trip to Europe, and for me it has meant stepping out of my comfort zone. ”
- Mireia: “I chose a big panda bear hugging a small one, and I shared that for me it represented the experience of knowing other countries and cultures. The image conveyed to me my way of being, as I am very affectionate and close, and for me it is a pleasure to meet other people, work as a team and get to know the world.
- Josué: “I chose a letter with the drawing of a theater. I enjoyed meeting people from different places, we did a lot of solo dynamics, and teamwork, and for me it was like doing a play, or like doing a performance.
From the experience, each of the three protagonists tells us what has been positive:
Mireia: “I have learned to be independent, to have a responsibility and to have patience. The benefit of the experience is to know the world, people from other cultures, and have respect for it. Before that, I had a hard time working as a team, I had a hard time fitting in. And now I've learned to listen, because before I only thought about my opinion and didn't listen. Now I know you may or may not agree with the other, but you have to listen to him. I loved it and would repeat it. It was my first trip and my first time on a plane. ”
Joshua: “I loved the trip, and this is the first time I have left the country. I enjoyed meeting people from different countries and, above all, I was very interested in a project we met to make pots without plastic, made with soil substrate. I am not very sociable and with this experience I have learned to be more open to people. “
Rodolfo: “It has been an amazing experience, I had never imagined traveling to Bulgaria and thanks to the foundation I have had this opportunity. I have taken it as a journey of personal knowledge, to see how I am, what I lack, and to value what I have. I realized I could start speaking English and there I was embarrassed to do it and practiced it. I was amazed that I let go of speaking English! They always say how important it is to know English, and until you find it, you are not aware of it, especially considering that we were in a country where the alphabet is different and difficult to understand. ”
Lola, the foundation's technician, explains that, from her point of view, she saw the boys as very integrated and barriers were broken at all levels: linguistic, cultural, in fact, the word "disability" did not exist and the inclusion was real in all contexts, highlighting all the reflections and opinions of the different participants. According to Lola, it was very beautiful how they lived it, how they enjoyed it and how autonomous and realized they were with the new lived experiences. They managed to connect on an emotional level and suddenly found similarities with people from another country or culture. It was like being with family.
The final thought is that living this experience with such different people opens your mind and makes you believe that anything can be done and everything is possible. A wonderful experience.
SEIS, a social entrepreneurship project and innovative solutions
SEIS is a project of which our organization is part, co-financed by the EU ERASMUS + program which involves a partnership of 8 organizations from Europe and Latin America (Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay), led by the Bulgarian entity “Know and Can Association” and which will take place in 23 months (from December 2018 to November 2020).
All project activities focus on entrepreneurship education for young people, with special emphasis on social entrepreneurship, non-formal and experiential learning (ie training of trainers, exchange of talent between participating entities, local training ), together with specific knowledge, using ICTs to ensure a comprehensive approach to the personal development of young people (ie e-hub, mobile app), including young people with fewer opportunities.
The partners of this consortium believe that social entrepreneurship is a way to achieve sustainable development, positive changes in society, social inclusion and cohesion, inclusive growth, through the participation of marginal and vulnerable groups of young people, that they could also contribute to the development of their communities, if they have the right tools and skills and if they are trained and motivated.
In a broader sense, the project aims to help solve the problems related to youth unemployment and the marginalization of certain groups in society who face difficulties in integrating into the labor market. Through its planned activities, it aims to make a valuable contribution to Europe's 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to create cross-synergies across transnational levels between participants and participating organizations.