What does Europe mean to me?
“Europe through young Eyes: Exchange, Explore, Exhibit” project experimented innovative methods to open political education to all youth.
That is, ways to help young people engaging in the public debate, regardless of their difficulties.
With the involvement of youth workers and young people with fewer opportunities from different EU countries, Europe3E especially explored the benefits of combining two youth work approaches:
Creativity as an obstacle-free channel for youth expression:
EU politics, through the Photovoice method!
Accessible & Inclusive Political Education through games:
Political simulation of the European Parliament with young disadvantaged people to better fit their specific needs.
Photovoice is a method of reflection and reporting that gets messages across by using photographs. It helps everybody, regardless of their knowledge and skills on any topic, to express themselves by relying on their creativity, and harnessing it through a step-by-step method.
Participants take pictures: they use a camera to answer a research question, combining pictures with their own individual stories. They formulate answers from their own perspective. They discuss the messages they want to present and based on that the group makes a final selection of pictures representing the groups opinion and answer to the research questions. In this way the results – the pictures – of Photovoice are not one individual’s story, but rather a group’s message.
In Europe3E, Photovoice was used to remove any obstacle to the young participants’ involvement:
It acted as a facilitation tool to let them lead their own learning path on the European Union:
this way, no need to “fit” in a traditional classroom!
It became the channel for their collective self-expression:
as a first step towards formulating policy recommendations, they were be able to creatively identify and express common areas of interest, concern and wishes in regard to their European citizenship.
The YES Forum creates room for discusion and consultations. We strongly encourage the involvement of our members in transnational cooperation which engage both young people and practitioners.
Our aim is to:
- Improve future prospects of vulnerable young people regarding education, training and employment.
- Strenghten professional, context specific approaches in youth work across Europe.
- Boost participation of marginalised young people in democratic decision-making processes.
- Increase the political and social recognition of youth issues on the political agenda.
To reach these goals the YES Forum organises training, seminars and conferences that connect its members with experts and key decision-makers. It provides space for exchange of good practises and critical thinking concerning European youth work and policies; social inclusion and participation of young people with vulnerable background; formal and non formal education and sustainable development of skills and competencies.
Euro coin with a hole
The first photo shows a Euro coin with a hole in it on a pile of rice. In the background there’s a blurred logo of an automobile concern. I chose this photo because of its symbolic character. Money seems to be very important in the global north, especially in the European Union. It stands for a huge economic stability, import, export and wealth in general. During any financial crisis like the great depression or even now in the pandemic context, the society’s mood shifts into an “end of the world” mindset. Healthy and wealthy people worry about their income; disregarding that they still have savings and investments. Even if the coin has a hole and seems to be vulnerable, there’s so much rice around it that nobody has to be afraid. Even in the EU there is poverty, this is something we should not forget about. However, more often it’s the rich part of society being afraid of losing their high standard of living.
Keeping in mind that there is a gap between poor and rich, we should ask ourselves: In times of crisis, how can we help the ones who need financial support? How is it possible that huge companies make profits and distribute dividends, whereas other people worry about their future? What can we as the European Union do on to help people who struggle financially?
The second photo shows a closed barrier in bright red and next to it two signs: Do not pass and an arrow leading to the right side. For me it stands for the closed borders around Europe. For us European citizens it’s easy to travel the world with our privileges like our passport. The other way round it’s hard to get a fair asylum procedure. Therefore I look forward to strong European decisions focussing on humanity and solidarity. There are already some small countries going the right direction allowing a symbolic number of refugees to stay. In this metaphor it’s an arrow showing a way to get inside. This can be the beginning of future politics, when European countries stand together to help people independent of their nationality. Hopefully in the future there won’t be a bright red border, any more border deaths and fair procedures with asylum seeker.
The first picture shows the front of a building in Stuttgart. It reads “Haus Englisch” in golden letters.
At first I didn’t notice the sign, but when I looked up it instantly captured my attention. It is very interesting how at first we overlook so many things, even if they are plated in gold. Only if we really choose to change our perspective on things and adjust our view, we can expect to see “differently”.
In terms of Europe and the European Union we have to be open to see things differently too! In a community with well over 20 different countries and even more cultures, we often forget to see issues from each other’s perspective. When it comes to the term “Haus Englisch”, which translated means “House English”, I also thought of the EU’s relation to the United Kingdom. Arguably it has been a
rocky connection since 2016.
But why? Did we fail to see each other’s perspective? Can the relationship still be salvaged or is the European Union as an idea destined to fail? These questions do not have a clear answer (yet), but we should definitely start putting us in the shoes of the others.
Possibly we can understand their position better and grow closer again.
My mom in front of the Pisa Tower
The second picture shows me with my mom in front of the Pisa Tower in the early 2000s. Even before I was interested in politics or understood what the European Union was, I benefited from it.
This goes to show, how many people, despite their accidental or even chosen ignorance benefit from the EU. Traveling without needing a visa or being able to use the same currency are things we have grown to be used to. We don’t think about the benefits very often actively, since they have been so normalised.
The European Union means to me amongst many other things, freedom of travel and shared values. As a young person I have grown up with these values and have never thought about them being extraordinary in that sense. Here lies the danger though! We shouldn’t get too used to our rights and possibilities that the EU offers to us. We also have to make sure to contribute to the growth of the Union and to protect its values from anti-democratic movements.
IEKEP has over 20 years of expertise in Vocational Guidance (more than 600 vocational training programmes/over 200.000 hours of vocational training/over 12.000 trainees) as well as administration, audit and management procedures. Being an accredited Vocational Center, its structure includes, according to the relevant national framework, a Manager, a Training Manager and a Training Coordinator, all experienced and accredited professionals. It also employs 3 experienced executives as administrative staff and has a long standing cooperation with a network of at least 50 experts – trainers covering a wide range of sectors. Its function complies with the relevant administrative framework set by the Greek state, including an integrated monitoring and evaluation system running through all its activities.
This photo shows one of the things that unite almost all the people in the world. Music. Music in different countries shows how people perceive the experiences and situations of their lives combined with various parts of their culture. Europe’s countries have great cultures and thus similarities but also many differences in music.
This leaf represents the complex structure of Europe. In particular, its “veins” show how each country is connected to the other and how all of them together are important in order for this organization to work and thrive. Just as the veins give life to the leaf, Europe’s countries give it power when they are united.
This is the Athens University of Economics and Business. This university is a reminder of Europe as it lives up to the standards of Europe’s universities. It also gives the opportunity to its students to travel around Europe through various programs and provides everything that’s necessary to achieve high professional goals..
This is the national bank of Greece. This photo is closely related to Europe as Greece is a part of the Eurozone and Europe has helped Greece, as well as many other countries, financially.
This is the parliament of Greece. It is a reminder of Europe as politicians discuss crucial matters and make decisions just as it happens in the European Parliament. You can find people that support it, or people that hate it but nobody can deny that it is fundamental for democracy.
This is called Love’s Street and it’s a small alley in the countryside of Greece, at Vytina. People visit it and carve their initials on the trees. There are many similar traditions in many European countries and the scenery reminds of various sights in Europe.
I took the picture of the cat because it represents our daily struggles. Like the cat, we willingly put ourselves in ‘’boxes’’ and when we want to get out, we hesitate even though we know we can make it. We fear change or taking the leap, even though we put ourselves in the situation in the first place. In the same way Europe offers programs, experiences and opportunities that provide us with self-assurance and confidence to make those jumps and believe in our abilities.
Young people are interested in learning and education. Knowledge and a deep understanding of things are important in the day of constant information.
At the moment, the operation of all the educational institutions such as universities has been suspended because of the pandemic causing barriers to the desire of young people to contact face to face educators and students and exchange knowledge and point of views.
Youth also cares about human connection. We love spending time with family and friends, meeting new people and making contact with different individuals and their ideas.
Personal relations have been affected because of the pandemic and young people anticipate being able again to kiss and hug their beloved ones without the fear of covid.
Due to Covid-19 all the aspects of young peoples’ lives have been affected because of the strict restrictions in our daily routine.
St. Johannis GmbH
The St. Johannis GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of the Foundation Evangelical Youth Services St. Johannis Bernburg. This was founded in 1863 as a home for unwed mothers. Today the focus is on guiding,
counseling and caring for children and adolescents on different places in heart of saxony –anhalt.
Working areas of the St. Johannis GmbH at a glance:
• Vocational trainings center in Bernburg
• Special school for training educators in Bernburg
• Education assistance with inpatient, semistationary, outpatient and consultative services in Salzlandkreis, Anhalt-Bitterfeld and Dessau
• “Ökostation” in Neugattersleben
• Youth recreational facilities in Dessau
• Psychosocial Centre for Migrants in Halle and Magdeburg
• School social work in Dessau
• Multi-generation houses in Dessau and Bernburg
• Migration projects in Dessau
In this photo, you can see a person trying to balance on a high edge and not falling. To prevent this, another person supports him by giving him security.This can also be applied to Europe: countries support each other and cooperate when there are problems in one country. For the system not to get out of balance in these situations, it needs the security of other members, like the person in this photo.
I think cooperation between the countries of Europe is very important because I believe it is the basis for ensuring that we can all live in peace and freedom. But mutual support should not only take place at the European level but also at the interpersonal level because that is the basis for a happy coexistence of us all.
On this picture you can see a person, who pushes a gate open. Nearby a stone wall can be recognized.
I took the picture, because it shows the aspect of freedom in the EU respectively in Europe very good and this human right is very important to me. For me Europe is freedom as it means being able to travel around freely in a certain area whenever you want.
Because of the fact that freedom is a human right – at least in my opinion – all people should be able to experience this privilege. This is the reason why the EU should open its borders for the rest of the world and help other people by making them able to experience their freedom of living. In this way, the EU stands up for its original values which should happen, I think.
Coarse, stable, thick wall. Different parts and different layers that work together built on one another and support one another. Europe should be just like that. Not only a continent, it has to be a „community“, a „network“ and a „lifestyle“. We work together and we can rely on others. We as German people can give support, to people who need it and appreciate it. There is no way a system with people who only give everything and only people who take everything works.
We all must be equal participants according to our means. But if we be any longer just this small country and the other small country not a whole continent where we enjoy living and appreciate each other this wall would be broken. So let us stand together just like the individual stones of the wall!
To be able to laugh
I chose this picture because it says so much about the current situation in the world and therefore also about Europe. For many people it was hard to imagine and unusual to wear masks, because unlike in China it was not yet commonplace with us. But now we also have to wear masks, many of them stick to it in order to protect themselves and others as well. Of course it was important to be considerate of others before but in times of Corona it is even more important. I don’t think anyone expected Corona to spread so fast, let alone be a topic after months. Our lives have changed a lot since this year, our everyday life is restricted and we will still have to struggle with the consequences of the pandemic in years to come.
However, Corona has not only negative sides. Many of us have more time during the lockdown to think about their goals in life but also to realize what really matters to them in life. Now man people take more time for things for which they had no time before, such as for their family or for their hobbies.
We are all in this situation and it is important to be able to laugh in spite of these situations, to always think positively and to maintain social contacts. I find these impressions are expressed very clearly in this picture.
Action Jeunesse Pessac
Since its registration in 1962, the association Action Jeunesse Pessac (AJP) has been active as a youth and social specialised prevention club („club de prévention spécialisée“) in the French commune of Pessac, in Bordeaux’s area.
AJP relies on street work as a specialised prevention method targetted at young people aged between 11 and 25 years old, encoutering problems or difficulties in their daily life putting them at risk of social exclusion.
AJP’s street work focuses on field practice as a starting point to carry out educational support, orientation accompaniment and various projects adapted to the involved youngsters‘ individual needs.
For me everything is governed by time but it seems to me that with the EU we are not on the same time zone. The EU does not have time for me!”
For who ?
For who ?? I don’t feel considered / taken into account by the EU, [even though] it seems it has a big impact in muy daily life.
It is a mess, a cluster of possible sectors / fields / pathways which are hard to sort out.
It represents all the orientation choices/educational pathways, the system shows some sectors but it hides others to us.
– Piss off against the system
– Between the person receiving guidance and the one who guides him or her, visions are different.
Jongerenwerk Barkema de Haan
Jongerenwerk Barkema & de Haan has a generalistic objective for youngsters in the region. The objective: creating and working on quality of live, a safe and promising environment for young people in the northern part of the Netherlands.
Jongerenwerk Barkema en de Haan is working with youngsters in the age range of 12 till 27. We are working with all youngsters. From talented youngsters to youngsters with fewer opportunities.
The biggest group are young people coming from a disadvantaged background: young people suffering different obstacles in order to reach educational opportunities, obstacles with unemployment, with physical or mental disabilities, cultural, religious beliefs or sexual orientations hindrances or discrimination, living in poor areas or with a low educational background.
Mental health during corona
ÖJAB (Österreichische JungArbeiterBewegung / Austrian Young Workers Movement) is a nonprofit organization that provides students and other young people with a home near their places of education, offers inpatient and mobile care, and pursues projects in the fields of education, integration, refugee relief, and development cooperation. Within our Vocational Training Institute (ÖJAB’s BPI) we qualify young people and adults for employment via primarily technical, business related, and language related vocational training and also offer career orientation and assistance in getting integrated into the labor market. An important goal of ÖJAB is to leave nobody behind in our society, to which end we work to reduce unemployment and facilitate qualified employment.
Local tramway symbolizing Austria and international train symbolizing Europe
A train departing from Vienna main station to his journey to another European country
Big buildings hosting international companies can also be found in Austria
An autumn landscape is as colorful as the countries of the European Union
Education and vocational training are key to our youngsters