Challenged to Find the Advantages of the Winter and Fight the Discrimination
Biliana Ivanova, Brigita Nikova, Mila Hristova, Katerina Maneva, Bili Dimitrova, Hristian Troshanov, Stilian Stefanov
(Bulgarian Youth Forum)
Nowadays most people get involved in the process of discrimination on every level of communication in our daily lives. Sometimes you act in a discriminative way absolutely intentionally, but you can also do it without even realizing this fact. That was what the survey among 85 young people from the partner countries, involved in the youth exchange “Sense of Discrimination” (28.02-08.03.2022), discovered and it became the basis of the whole objectives of the project. In order to change our society for the better (on local and international level) we grabbed the opportunity to spend 8 cold, winter days in Svarstad, Norway in the beginning of March, 2022.
After changing flights and buses and having travelled all day, we finally reached the venue of the Project in Svarstad Lodge, a cozy hut, hidden between the icy and snowy mountainous paths in the mountain near the city of Drammen. We met the other participants from 6 different countries, including Italy, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia, Slovakia and Norway (48 people altogether) and started getting to know each other from the very beginning. Everyone seemed friendly, open-minded and motivated to take part in such an activity after the 2 years of pandemic and Isolation, which we had been going through. The remoteness of the place helped us get more united as team, without the distractions of the outer world. We had activities full of fun, but also serious ones and we had the chance to learn about the situation in the different countries, regarding discrimination as well as ideas and methods in order to fight with it and try to diminish this process. We also had the chance to discover what it means to be a discriminating person and his victim during the role plays and videos which we had to prepare and thus we realized how similar cases we witness in our daily life. The discussions and the different hypothetical situations helped us discover new solutions and see the things from a different point of view. During the cultural evenings we were able to experience the traditions, food, drinks, culture and music of each and every one of the partner countries and even it was sometimes a challenge to get up at 7am and prepare breakfast after having chatted till the early hours of the night.
All of these things wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have the hospitality of the Norwegian host organization Norway Baran Ungdom and the comfort of the cozy place where we stayed. We had to do some of the housework by ourselves but it wasn’t a challenge and there was no any conflict. Everything went smoothly like the funny moments which we were sharing together there.
The days passed so quickly that finally we couldn’t believe that we have to go back to our homeland. We were full of positive memories, new friendships and knowledge but also a bit upset that we have to leave this project, people and place. Anyway, we are sure that in the small world where we live we will meet again somewhere, some day, in another Erasmus+ project or a different trip while collecting new experiences and emotions!