Active Rainbow is a youth exchange organized by Olde Vechte Foundation from 15th to 24th February 2016 in Ommen (Netherlands) it involved more than 40 participants from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania and Spain in the development of personal awareness, competences related to the concept of gender and skills relevant for LGBTQIA+ activism. The project was implemented primarily through activities based on non-formal education and funded by Erasmus Plus program.
Look at the video of the exchange
During the project the participants created Active Rainbow Booklet: From Personal Roots to Local Actions a mannual on social inclusion, personal development and informal educational tools! It captures and documents the lessons learned and good practices for engaging young people in the promotion of human rights and social inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in societies.
In the Booklet you can find:
- the 10 unique workshops created by participants
- Articles & Testimonials by participants, who share their experience and raise their voices on LGBTQIA+ matters
- Graphic Facilitation of the Exchange
- Background of the Project: Social Inclusion vs Social Exclusion, Discrimination
- Video campaign Inter-active Love
- Follow-up activities
During the project some participants created an original song about freedom of love
Rainbow Day and post-exchange activities
On Saturday 7th May 2016 the Italian participants organized an event at Stranamore social club, in Pinerolo, the Rainbow Day, where they facilitated some workshops aimed to create emphathy towards LGBTQIA+ people and experiencing how diversity is excluded practically in society; about terminology and concepts that belongs to the area of gender and LGBTQIA+ world.
Also the other national groups organized activities to give a follow-up to the exchange in their local area and to multiply the impact of the project on the society.
Leggi il report sulle attività post-scambio
Share Your Colors is a youth exchange organized by Olde Vechte Foundation from 5th to 14th July 2016 in Ommen (Netherlands). The project was developed through non-formal education activities and it had as main goal to learn the use of media to create media campaigns to promote the inclusion of LGBTQIA+people in society. The project involved more than 40 young people from 8 European countries.
During the project the participants created a tookit aimed to spread the competences gained which is possible to download at this link.
The toolkit includes:
- Definitions of specific vocabulary related to gender and LGBTQIA+ issues
- Gender identity and use of pronouns
- Map of equal rights extension for LGBTQIA+ people in Europe
- Campaigns: what they are, how they are created, the main points of a successful campaign, problems and difficulties, examples of media campaigns, campaigns created during the exchange
- Photography: basic rules (rule of the third, image composition and focus)
- Video: basic tools, production, editing, tips and tricks
- Social Media: what they are, used in media campaigns, the power of social media
- Design: the impact of the design in conveying the message, examples
The following are the considerations that led Šárka Martínková, youth worker of the Czech organization Brno Connected to the development of the training Re-connection (16th to 23rd October 2016, Rychleby, Czech Republic). These are thoughts and insights emerging from a growth path based on the immersion in nature, on the solo journey, on the rediscovery of rhythms and lifestyles more humans oriented, on listening to oneself, on sharing, on trust towards the unknown.
“I am the blooming flower. I am the flow of the river. I am roots, trunk, branches and leaves of the tree. I am the wind playing with my hair. I am the dancing flame of the fire. I am the change as four seasons are. I am the ray of moon light. I am the mountain.
I am whole. I am nature. I am woman.
I started to write this article few days ago (and I got good A4), with the best intention to share in a truthful way, to don’t go into stories and to pass on the energy, the sparkle of inspiration from the path I have been walking, to serve you, for your journey of reconnection with yourself and with the nature. The more I was pushing it, the more I got stuck, paralyzed in no movement, in postponing, in waiting for the right mood, for the state when would be feeling purely reconnected, in flow with nature – trying to control everything and plan it.
Does water ask somebody where she could flow? Do wild seeds ask first if they could bloom in spring? Does lava from volcano spread only in a precise time, when she’s expected? No. Because it’s nature. Mother nature. It is Her. She is feminine. She is the creator of life. She is under continuous development. She loves. She is free. She is whole, made by lights and shadows. As women are.
I have been very well trained in functioning within masculine system, as our society is. In a way it definitely serves to master masculine part within each of us, to be able to set a goal, to manage, to plan, to control, to achieve, to organize, to have well managed life agenda with the high level of certainty... But women’s quality? Femininity? It is a whole different story. We are not made for thinking rationally about everything and mechanically do, do, do! We are able to navigate the World through our intuition, without need to know what is going to happen, we feel with heart and guts, what is the next step.
Nature carries incredible wisdom. Since childhood I’ve felt home in the nature, I’ve been through some transformations, when I was closer and further from her, but it’s a part of pathway. It is my home, I am safe there, I am held. The biggest time of disconnection from nature was for me in the period of life when I was trying to be someone else, than who am I in the core, comparing myself, trying to fit in, to do what others do. Not working. I am still walking the path, the path to coming home, coming to myself and reconnection with nature has been the biggest support.
I remember wonderful AHA moment, when 3 days straight after finishing my university and getting desired diploma, I left for volunteering in the Austrian mountains. Simple life. No electricity. No Internet. Going to the village on sledge. Helping with cooking, making fire, cleaning, baking, chopping wood. Spending afternoon snowshoeing in the middle of vast mountains on my own. Spending quality time with people there, being curious to deeply know each other and enjoy the time together. Simple being.
I rediscovered so much joy within me, it was incredible. It really took nothing!
It felt a bit strange that all my classmates were getting hired in big business companies and I was sledging and preparing cakes, but I loved it! I guess this experience brought me first time back to my core of who am I, what I desire from life, and what are my qualities, that are hard to sell on CV, and yet they are precious.
I established powerful connection with mountains, I’ve loved them since ever, but there I felt that I’m home wherever mountains are. It was the grounding power of the mountains, their stillness, ancient wisdom, big picture of the world, self-exposure and readiness to be seen. The solitude and humbleness. Wow. It all made so much sense for me, opened my heart and enabled small magic happen.
"Your vibe attracts your tribe” – heart opening, flowing, being in the simplicity and nothingness, feeling the freedom, love and joy, that has been happening since than, every time I travelled or volunteered somewhere abroad, when I was providing my soul with real food, as experiencing unique places, hiking mountains, walking barefoot in the river, lying in the grass field and enjoying sun, having deep soul to soul conversations with strangers who became to be friends, opening myself for unknown and unplanned, saying YES to things when I felt YES in my body, despite my rational mind was pulling the brake and saying NO, challenging myself and acting upon my crazy thoughts, which mostly appeared out of passion for someone or something... This is what for me feels to be alive, to enjoy, to be.
The most magic has been happening in my life when I had no clue what was going to happen, when I had no plan, and trusted intuition. I might be an extreme case, but plans create immediately some picture inside of me, some expectation, what is the beginning of the end.
I used to say to myself (and I heard it a lot from family and friends), that once I have to leave the life I loved so much, such as travelling and volunteering, and that I’d have to return to normal life - meaning back to city, to get a full time job, to settle down, as normal people do, after they finished their studies or when they are in my age. Interesting concept by the way! It took half year trial to return home to Czech Republic, 2 jobs – in both I felt something wasn’t working since beginning. In the first one I left after 8 days, after huge inner process and checking it with my values, in second one I was fired for what I was hired: for being a traveler by soul. It hit my ego very badly in that time, now I am deeply grateful it happened. Because of my own self-pressure and trying to fit in, I wasn’t able to make this clear choice and was trying to push, to stay and wait, if there was a wait to fit it.
Every time I make a pause in writing, I feel like rewriting the whole thing, as so much energies are moving through me each day. Connecting with nature triggers the old remembering, the wisdom we carry in our DNA, from our ancestors, from ancient communities, cultures... It’s an incredible journey, back to the roots, back to the wholeness. I’ve been raised up in touch with nature, summers spent in long summer camps without electricity, playing, being outdoors, go for wild camping, hiking the mountains, swimming in natural lakes, cooking on fire, drinking mountain water, picking berries and eating them in the middle of their fields, observing night skies, backpacking. These and much more remained as my favorite memory, as I remember the joy and love I felt experiencing it.
Coming back to autumn 2015. I simply felt that I have to go. To start another journey to come to myself, to go into unknown, where is it calling me. Out of all directions where I could go, where only mountains where element which mattered to me, Switzerland and magical oasis for Workaway volunteering found me, and I found them. I have never been more grateful for listening into intuition than in that time. Having almost no money, no commitments, no plan, I went fully open into this experience. What cracked my worrying-about-future and but-I-have-no-plan-panic pattern, what opened me widely for re-connection with myself, with natural spirits and simplicity of being, what enabled me to sink from head to the heart and fully get in touch with my soul path, my essence and inner peace, was experience of native sweat-lodge rituals.
In the oasis where I was living it was their world where they invited me in. Due to no possibility to understand by mind, as it was held in language I wasn’t speaking, it was for me an experience, when I naturally sank to my heart and listened with it. Gate into myself. Magic of the fire was working 100%. Drums, singing, moving as body feels, freeing mind from all “shouldn’t”, from shame and social concepts, welcoming whole self-expression and sharing it in a safe space of the circle of people, feeling in and remembering, where are we coming from, letting go all what doesn’t serve anymore and welcoming new powers, coming from inside out. It felt like an opening of a channel I haven’t been using since childhood.
Our mind is able to understand something between 4 – 8% of what is happening. Opening up for intuition, trust, wisdom of the nature and spirituality, inner guidance and own inner knowing, has been a huge step on my path.
Connecting with inner wisdom and energy of natural directions, elements and landscapes has unfolded whole range of colors within myself. Suddenly there is no need to decide if it is right or wrong. There is no need to know. To make a plan. It is much more about surrendering to what is and dancing with life, with lights and shadows. Tapping into spiritual realms of being, I have embraced and embodied full meaning of being a woman. Being a creative force of life. Express my vulnerability and sensuality. Connection with north, south, mountains, ground, water and fire, have empowered me to step fully into my feminine power and to live all colors I’ve been taming for a years.
North is teaching me how to be more clear, how to connect to simplicity, purity and how to follow callings of my soul path. Energy of North is bringing me day by day back to the truth, to the practice of authentic being. It reminds me how to stand as a tree, rooted, with the branches touching the skies and trunk holding it together.
South is my everlasting inner fire. It’s the passion, love, joy, aliveness, sensuality, healthy sexuality, wilderness, I am allowing myself to express and live. It’s a stillness I have inside and care I am sharing with world.
Mountains, oh my dear mountains. Living near by you is such an incredible gift. Connecting with the power of being exposed and see the world from a higher perspective, absorb and deal with all changes of environment, show up in the full greatness. Your vastness. Wisdom. Beauty. Shapes. Inner peace and call to go inside and reflect. Such an inspiration!
Ground, mother Earth, holding me, reminding me the belonging to the community, to the wholeness of the system. I am part of it. I give and take. You give and take. There’s such of abundance in you. Lying with my back down, feeling the ground, looking at the sky is pure moment of connection and being-ness. In those moments something moves, some energy starts to flow and healing is happening.
Water, I haven’t known how much is there for me to learn from you. Feeling in my body and soul, what does it mean to stop struggling and float, to give life, to show up powerfully and in so many different forms, to experience the river of joy, to find a way and flow around the obstacles which are in the way, to nourish, to refresh, to go with the wave. Wow. I’m so blessed to live now surrounded by wetland, wild rivers, waterfalls, ocean, lakes.
Fire, the strong element in me, once I am burning - I am burning. There is some magic in it, the light, the power to transform and open the new chapter, the aliveness, volcano of full passionate expression, being here and now, spread the warmth and coziness, soul care.
Being Nature is a life journey to wholeness. It is never done. There is always something to learn, to develop, to surrender, to reflect on, to enjoy, to love, to deepen.
I could be rewriting it every day, adding more discoveries, hints, shades of colors... I encourage you to open up for knowledge that exists within you, and yet outside of the mind. Take time to come home, to yourself. Go outside and enjoy. It’s solved by walking in the nature.
FUND is a training organized by Cherry Group from the 1st till the 8th December 2015 in Ommen (Netherlands). The project was developed through non-formal education activities and it had as main goal to discover, share and implement fundraising strategies for associations. More than 30 youth workers coming from more than 20 different associations took part in FUND.
As support for the organizations and youth workers involved in the project the Cherry Group created the manual "Fundraising package for youth projects", now available for free download here.
Raising sponsorships, finding funds for transferring your idea into a project and give more opportunities to youngsters might be easier than you think. There are many ways on how you can generate sufficient financial support in order for your project to be initiated and sustained. This fundraising package is a tool which gives you tips, tricks and examples on what you can do in your own surrounding regarding generating financial support.
Within this fundraising pack you will find the following information:
- What is out there?
- How to get a project started?
- How to make a fundraising plan?
- Why do companies and persons give?
- Getting started
- Create a case for support
- A-Z of fundraising ideas