Building bridges for youth empowerment. Polish chapter.
In the context of the Erasmus+ project “Building Bridges for youth empowerment”, coordinated by Asocaitia AIDE organization, this week two of our members has visited the youth organization MDK2 Piekariy Slaskie from Silesia, Poland.
This project aims to “build bridges” between youth organizations inn order to improve their work and create networking between them with the main goal of increase the impact in the community of youth centers. Through promoting the exchange of good practices of the involved partners each of the youth organizations will be able to realize about the current youth situation in their respective countries, giving them a good opportunity to improve the functioning of young sector.
In this Study visit, the organization MDK2 Piekary Slaskie has organised a set of activities in order to show and let us know the great environment of youth organizations in Poland. We had the opportunity to visit organizations related with the youth field in Bytom, Piekary Śląskie, Świętochłowice, Krakow and Katowice.
To begin with, during the first day, we all introduced ourselves in the House of culture of Bytom. During this first session we have presented the project to the new participants. In addition, each partner organization (Youth Network No Excuse Slovenia, AIDE association from Romania, Jaunuoliu DIenos Centras in Lithuania, YouthProAktiv and MDK2 Piekary Slaskie) we talk about our motivation to work in youth work field and how we can contribute to it. During these minutes we could realise that all participants are fully involved in the youth field. All five organizations work with young people and disadvantaged youth groups to empower, guide and support them.
Later, the morning we visited the youth Center Miechowice Palace in Bytom. They have restored an ancient castle to create an open, friendly and inclusive place that, through cultural education, will become a platform for dialogue and social exchange.
During the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of the receiving institution, MDK2 Piekary Slaskie. This organization works with around 350 people, mainly young people but during the mornings they also receive older people to perform different activities. These activities allow the young people of Piekary to receive from non-formal education, the necessary knowledge to become youth leaders and to train for the future in different fields. This Silesian organization organizes workshops on European issues, volunteering, youth opportunities… In fact, they also receive volunteers from other countries such as Georgi and Lizzi, two young Georgians who carry out their year of volunteering of the European Solidarity Body within this organization under the leadership of Dobrota, the manager of the organization. The organization surprised with a sample of their work with the young people of the Piekary Slaskie, inviting all participants to a cultural festival with young people of the organization.
We have finished the day with a visit to the classrooms of the association Szansa, in Katowice. This association offers educational help to young people with down syndrome.
On the second day we visited the wonderful city of Krakow with the objective to visit two young organizations. The first one was Europe4youth, this organization has two venues, one in Krakow and the other one in Rabka. They work in international youth work mobility projects through non-formal education methods and tools. They create workshops and table games about different topics such European decision-making policy process. One of their other fields of work is the recognition and support of youth work, giving information and formation to youth workers. And finally, they also work with municipalities of south of Poland, NGOs or Polish national government and help local young councils with their policies.
The other organization of Krakow that we had the pleasure of visit was Centrum Mlodziezy. This organization in the centre of Krakow works with 3000 youngsters for three years. They have realised that the smaller they begin to practice different activities the greater the skills they acquire and the more they know what they want to do in the future. They have a wide range of activities for young people from ceramics, languages, classes on Silesian traditions, theatre or animation films.
On the last day we had the opportunity to visit a school in Katowice destined years with down syndrome and autism. Starting from small classes and dynamic activities such as gardening, or visits from workers outside the school can obtain a higher performance of their students in the restaurant and subjects. You can also visit the Nikiszowiec district. An old neighbourhood of miners rehabilitated where an association sponsored by the doctor Zimbardo has rehabilitated old premises to perform cultural events in which young people are an essential part.
Our last visit of the study trip was to the Mlodziezy Palace, in Katowice, one of the largest organizations carrying out activities with young people in Poland. There, youngsters can enjoy an great facilities where they can do their favourite activities from swimming of fencing or theatre or plastic arts. Although most of these organizations are financed from private donations or small public contributions, in this most of the budget comes from the municipal government and Katowice.
To sum up, the YouthProAktiv team had the opportunity to enrich and learn a lot during this visit in in Silesia Mataropole, in Poland. Thanks to the sessions organized by MDK Piekary Slaskie, we were able to learn, share, discuss and propose working methodologies to improve the current youth situation. In addition, through talking and presenting the situation of different countries in the youth field, youth work, sustainability and inclusiveness among others, we were aware of the context in which each country is and their needs. Thus, we gave our opinions and exchanged good practices in order to collaborate or generate good ideas.
We are looking forward to the next meeting of this project, next May in Lithuania and organised by Jaunuoliu DIenos Centras