On 2-12 of July 36 youngsters from Latvia, Estonia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria joined the international youth exchange “Doing local, changing global” which was organised by Latvian Red Cross within Erasmus+: Youth in Action program. It was realized in Latvia, Smiltene region, Grundzale district, Recreation Complex “Purgaili”.
The main goal of the exchange was to give the Red Cross youngsters an opportunity to share international experience therefore enhancing knowledge about volunteering work and to create a platform for a united international voluntary activity to be done in the project partner countries. The 6 topics were volunteering work with:
- children and youth;
- children and youth from social risk groups (including youth in prison);
- health care and first aid program;
- refugees and asylum seekers;
- animals and environmental/nature projects and activities.
During the exchange, in the first part of the day participants from each country shared their experience in working in the according topic. There was a great variety in fields of expertise among the participants. Using interactive methods, everyone discussed the presented information, exchanged opinions and learned more about the volunteering work, projects and different activities that are provided in different EU countries. All discussions were guided by a panel of experts. Each topic was followed up by a practical topic-related fieldtrip in the afternoon which helped not only to gain knowledge, but also to bring the knowledge into practice – to do a volunteering work in the according topic. E.g., all participants visited social care centre for elderly, multifunctional centre for youth, social correction educational institution for youth, children summer camps and others. The youngsters were fully involved in organizing workshops for elderly people and sports activities for children, in addition, they practically studied first aid and participated in informative seminar about work with refugees and asylum seekers while meeting representatives of governmental institutions and the international organization – the United Nationts Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
They also explored Latvia`s nature by hiking near the beach – city of Jurmala.In the evenings, each group of different Red Cross national societies organised a cultural event to present their country – its food, literature, music, dancing, habits etc., so that others could learn more about different cultures.During the exchange, the team came up with a joint international voluntary activity – Social Media Campaign which will be implemented globally on 12th August with an aim to raise awareness of importance of youth volunteering and for promoting the fact that through sharing experience, volunteering can be done more efficiently.The Youth exchange “Doing local, changing global” is organized by the Latvian Red Cross within the program “Erasmus+: Youth in Action”, it is funded by European Commission with Latvian Red Cross co-financing.