East Ukraine Through Erasmus+

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Youth workers visited the conflict area in East Ukraine through Erasmus+ programme

Just a few days ago a group of European youth workers have witnessed the true effects of the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. Paulius Jurgutis, a representative of Norwegian Informal Youth Group Fantastic Youth has also been there and shares his experience on that.

Youth workers from all over Europe have visited Donetsk for a mission to meet local organisations & youngsters, restore children playgrounds and teach English. At the same time – promote EU’s cultural programme Erasmus+.

According to the representative of the group Paulius Jurgutis, many people believe that the war there is over. It’s not. “Everyday you can hear shootings in places like Avdiivka (a town next to Donetsk we’ve visited). Every day people die there.”

Yet, the hardest thing for the Europeans was to see how life is, when there are shootings and shelling nearby. “We were watching kids play in the park when just a few kilometres away you could hear artillery shots. Imagine how psychologically damaged the kids can get” – Paulius stated.

To understand everything better, here is a story of Alehin Nikita, an 18-year-old, whom the group had a chance to meet in Kramatorsk (which is now the capital of Donetsk region, 60 kilometres away from Avdiivka):

“When I was 14 my father told me not to be afraid of bombings – if you die this way, at least it will not hurt… Almost every day at school we had to hide in the basement when the bombings started. Yet, believing in my father, usually, I didn’t hide. I would go home to simply play computer games because it was so common for us. Shootings on the other side of the window of my home were also common. Seeing this much violence, I decided to become a photographer. One of the first photos I took was a helicopter being blown away in front of my eyes. At that time, I didn’t understand much, and it didn’t hurt. Now it does.”

Paulius & others invite everyone to look closer to cases of war and act to help. One of the ways to do so is through Erasmus+ (youth exchanges, training courses and the like).

For example, in the east of Ukraine, not many youngsters know about the programme. Thus, when the group hosted Erasmus+ promotional event in Kramatorsk, local students were surprised by the opportunities on offer.

Jurgutis said: “It’s safe to say we have got them interested. Lots of youngsters came to meet us. They have been extremely curious. Not just about Erasmus+, but also about foreigners in their town. It’s a rare sight.


Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “FEMpower!”

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‘FEMpower!’ was run by Hidden Voices in Birmingham, UK from the 16th – 24th August 2018. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the project involved 40 young people from the UK, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Lithuania and Poland.

The aims and objectives of the project were as follows:

– To understand the causes of gender discrimination;

– To learn about the different forms of gender-based discrimination (e.g. gender pay

gap, gender roles, gender-based violence, femicide);

– To discover any disparities between gender-based discrimination across Europe;

– To help participants come up with their own campaigns and ideas for future projects and cross-European collaborations;

– To promote cultural awareness among the participants, achieved by encouraging an understanding of different nationalities and languages.


Using non-formal methods of education, they discovered key terms associated with gender discrimination, before analysing its various causes and consequences. At the end of the project, each participant was involved in creating a campaign video on a topic relevant to the project:

Bringing together young people from across Europe was highly beneficial in promoting intercultural dialogue. By celebrating differences in customs and traditions, participants were able to become more open-minded and accepting of others. This was especially achieved by hosting an intercultural evening, in which each participant presented their country in fun and creative ways!

To find out more about Hidden Voices and the Erasmus+ projects they are involved in, you can contact them at Alternatively, you can find them on social media:





Erasmus+ Training Course “Research Makes Perfect”

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May 18-26, 2018. Kaunas, Lithuania.

30 youth workers coming from Lithuania, France, Italy, Turkey and Latvia were gathered in organised Training Course, dubbed “Research Makes Perfect” (acronym RMP) by the Lithuanian NGO Aktyvus Jaunimas. Participants of the project came with different aims, hopes, as well as knowledge and experience, however one common key objective motivated them in active participation of the Non-Formal training, as well as international experience RMP provided – make research more usable at organisational and youth worker level.

Nowadays, organisations / youth workers are successful or unsuccessful in their mission based on the decisions they make. Yet, for the most part these decisions are based on the intuition or opinions of the youth worker or organisation’s managers. Facts and deeper analysis are rarely considered.

Aktyvus Jaunimas, together with partner organisations and its team carried out various workshops, initiatives, as well as information sessions to the participants. This was done to not only facilitate the transfer of well known research methods, its applications in youth work, but also give opportunity to apply newly gained knowledge and experience on local level.

Participants carried out research on local level (Kaunas city), where relevant and interesting to participants topics were covered and locals were inquired on the opinion about social inclusion, youth work, Erasmus+ and its’ benefits as well as many other topics.

Each participant felt intercultural growth, as well as enhancement of his/her competences as youth workers and newly gained knowledge and experience will be used thoroughly not only in their personal work, but also teaching their colleagues on the importance of Research based youth work, thus carrying on with relevant quote – “Research Makes Perfect”


You can check all the photos of the project HERE

as well as created webpage of the project HERE


Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “Eco-friendly Europe”

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Erasmus+ youth exchange “Eco-friendly Europe” was held in Kaunas (Lithuania) on 2-10th of May 2018. 36 young adults from Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Denmark joined to discuss ecology and environmental problems which are present in our daily life. The aim of the exchange was to increase the youth’s existing knowledge and to raise their awareness. In addition, they had to come up with ideas and methods how to tackle this problem on a macro level, as well as to recognize what can an individual person do to live a life as eco-friendly as possible.

During the project, several activities were carried out, which helped participants to boost their creativity and to make them conscious about what are the main environmental problems (wasting energy, water, paper and air pollution) occurring nowadays. In the country workshops, they had to present some statistical data about their country in an interactive way as well as to share ecology-oriented initiatives that may give an idea to other young people to share within their communities.

Participants were not just sharing their ideas, they also had the opportunity to visit ‘Kūrybos kampas 360’. This organization is aiming is to create new items from trash, which they also sell (so-called “Trash design”). Participants saw different furniture from reusable materials and were inspired by this innovative business idea of how reusing the materials and making a profit can be combined.

A guest speaker who is actively involved in an initiative called “Let’s do it!” explained and showed the work they are doing. After the presentation participants got a perspective on how awareness can be raised amongst the public and implemented two activities: the first one was flash mob/ social experiment which was carried out in the city center. Participants left a trash in the middle of the walking path. The purpose of the activity was to see if people will pick it up and with that gesture help the environment. The second activity was to create the plan for initiatives that would teach others how to be sustainable and make the environment safer.

Seeing all the enthusiastic participants we believe that projects like that can make youth more aware of environmental problems and can leave a big impact on them. The project’s intention was to raise awareness for youth and encourage them to spread their knowledge to the wider audience. This is only a small step how we can tackle the environmental problems.

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Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “Prove Them Wrong”

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Erasmus+ youth exchange dubbed “Prove Them Wrong” (or PTW in short) took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on 8–16 April of 2018. 36 youngsters from 6 different countries (Lithuania, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Germany and Turkey) worked together with an aim to enhance their knowledge on the issue of youth criminality, what are the causes, methods / tools (both new and old) of tackling this issue and how to successfully (re-)integrate youth back into society.

Through various activities, carried out during the project, participants identified the most common crimes youngsters are commiting and what are the main reasons for breaking the law. By leading various workshops, participants had an opportunity to share the current juvenile criminality situation in their country, statistics and best practises/programs of preventing minors from committing crimes.

Theory and knowledge was not the only things that participants shared and gained thanks to this project. We had a rare opportunity to visit Kaunas Juvenile Remand Prison-Correction House, where participants had a chance to see the living conditions of the inmates. After the visit, we had discussions with head of a Correction House Vytautas Lamauskas about current issues with minor’s reintegration process and what are plans for future projects. Participants were left inspired by the direction Correction House is moving and were happy by their plans to implement Scandinavian imprisonment model.

Furthermore, representative of social enterprise “Mano Guru” (salad bar, which employs people, who served their time in imprisonment) and their work methods of (re-)integrating people from prison into society. Her inspiring presentation led to the participants creating videos about social initiatives,which would raise public awareness about the importance of re-/integration and breaking stereotypes about juvenile criminality.

We believe that such projects, can make a huge impact on youth. The main reason for this is because projects like PTW is significant in order to raise awareness on problems such as juvenile offense and to look for ways of reintegrating them into society successfully.

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