During summer 2019, Step 4 Change Youth Exchange took place in the beautiful scenery at CŠOD Trilobit, Javorniški Rovt in Slovenia!
36 young LGBT+ people from Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Spain and Slovenia took on a learning journey to learn more about activism and the LGBT+ spectrum. Below, you can find some of the testimonials from the Greek team and how they have experienced the program.
“It was a great experience, spending ten days in Slovenia learning how to do activism for lgbtqiap+ with people from six countries, I have learned many things from this exchange. First of all, I learn so many things that I didn’t know about the characteristics and categories from the lgbtqia+ spectrum. Then, after nine days of workshops and group activities, we learned by experience how to do activism. The sense of fighting for something so meaningful is very unique and powerful. Secondly, I had the chance to meet so many people and spend time with them. We had fun, talked a lot, support each other and we worked together for ten days. In the end, I had the opportunity to attend this program to visit Slovenia and Trilobit (the place that hosted us), it is a beautiful “green” and eco-friendly country with kind people. The memories from that exchange program won’t faint easily and the things that we learn we gonna carry them forever!” ~Eugenia~
“This is the second dynamic erasmus+ project I took part that was about lgbtqi+ activism. But it was still quite different. If I had to sum it up in 2 words I would say extremely creative. I felt surrounded by passionate people ready to fight for their beliefs and ready to improve their future one step at a time. We empowered each other and we searched within us to find how we can evolve and act against inequalities. At the end of the project, I felt productive, creative and empowered and I have already applied my knowledge. Overall, once again I can say with confidence that this project was a life-changing experience for most of us.” ~Luke~
“I applied to this program on a whim and didn’t really expect much at first. It turned out to be one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. Apart from the program itself, the workshops, the creative processes and the work that I put into it, which gave me so much, the most important thing was the people. The people I connected with, the participants, the leaders, the organisers, the people that I talked to on the street during our street actions (both in Ljubljana and Athens). I learned to have more trust in the world and became a little more optimistic about the future. I also discovered a lot about myself through our creative work and it was the first time I enjoyed so much creating something with someone else (our song video of “Transgression” and the collage “Spect…um” for the street actions). Overall it was an amazing experience that I plan on trying to repeat through more programs like this in the future. Thank you, to the people that made it possible.” ~Max~
“This was the first Erasmus+ project for me and I was very excited that I was chosen for it. It turns out that the hype was worth it because it was an amazing experience. One strong tool that we brought back to Greece for the follow up is “Privilege Walk”, it helped me get to know more of the struggles other members of our community face in the problematic societies we live in due to the complexity of their identities. I was part of the team that visited DIH which happened to be the host organization for Step4Change and it was truly a pleasure. First of all, they were very friendly and welcoming so I felt like home right from the start. They had also prepared the presentation but they were eager to answer any further questions too. I was inspired by their magnificent work and their dedication to it and they helped me realize the importance of it for the LGBTQIA+ community. On the fifth day, I got to practice public speaking and got some positive feedback for it that I didn’t expect. On the last day, for the street action, I got to practice my video recording skills for the first time and I got to know the difficulties firsthand hand but maybe miss Tina’s workshop helped me pull it off and get some nice content on camera. Overall I challenged myself a lot in this project but I loved every moment of it and I’m already planning the next one.” ~Dimitris~
“Step4Change has been a really unique experience for me. I feel like I got so many tools about my activism and so much inspiration from all the people and the workshops. First of all, I was thinking that I wanted to engage into activism for quite some time and this project actually gave me firstly a strong motivation and secondly methods to do that. The project was really creative. We got to create, in international groups, board games, songs, and workshops with activist cause about the LBGTQIA+ spectrum. We also got the chance to practice our active listening and public speaking skills, useful both in the field of activism as well as our lives in general; and I felt I gained a lot as I’m generally shy and I was pushed out of my comfort zone in a safe environment thus getting ready to apply those things later in my life in any environment. Also the last day we got to implement everything we’d learned the past 8 days by creating our street actions which we carried out in the center of Ljubljana. I discovered some courage in myself that day that I didn’t know I had and I’m so thankful to the organizers and the project that offered me this opportunity.
The last thing I would like to acknowledge is the special connections that were made there between us participants. I believe that creating a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people to work and exchange ideas is vital as we don’t get those places in other cases. Space was created and gave us the freedom to express ourselves and to connect on levels and with an intensity I couldn’t think is possible in such a short period of time.
If I were, to sum up in a sentence I would say it was an unbelievable journey that offered us so many nice memories and friendships, reinforced our activist tools and I’m sure I will always have a special place in my heart for everything that I lived (and loved) and learned in Slovenia.” ~Andreas~
You can find the results of the project at the official webpage here: http://www.dih.si/projekti/step-4-change
During their follow-up phase, the greek team, organized street action in Athens, interacting with the passers-by and sharing further their experience.
The project was funded by the Erasmus+ program and MOVIT, the Slovenian National Agency.
- Posted by Yuli Zhelyazkov
- On March 23, 2020