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Noortevahetuses “The Story of Hope” arutleti sallivuse ja teineteisemõistmise üle

Our story starts here, with the overview of the first international youth exchange funded by Erasmus plus program and with the support of Estonian national agency SA Archimedes organized by MTÜ Smart Up along with tight cooperation with the partners from Spain, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania, 19-27th of august, 2015.


The name of the project is as written in the headline “The Story of Hope”. 35 people from 5 different countries have gathered in the city of Narva, Estonia to learn and discuss about tolerance in the society. Talking about tolerance there were quite many groups figured out that fall into category that suffer from social exclusion in everyday life.

  • refugees
  • disabled
  • black people
  • Roma people
  • HIV positive
  • ex-prisoners

… and tons of other associations and go with that.

But why is this necessary that young people talk about that? Do they really meet such people in their communities?

What participants understood was that it is a critical way of thinking. By showing the most terrible situations we could discuss and discover where does it come from. An example could be as simple as that: we want to travel to different countries but how can we accept their culture and their traditions? Can we tolerate something that for us seems unacceptable but for others is a daily ritual? European people may think it is not fair that women from muslim countries are obliged wear yashmakthat it limits their rights while those who wear yashmak actually have the power to decide whom to show their face; that it kind of protects their identity.

by Cémal Akçiçek

The participants’ task was to introduce their countries to each other to be more aware of its traditions and daily rituals that could raise a lot of contradictions and questions for the foreigners. And since the word “Tolerance” sounds way too seriously, I would say that we learned how to be friendly and understanding towards people that differ from us no matter which way.

Another important thing to be mentioned.. Our organization supports the youth on their way of learning and becoming more active, creative and entrepreneurial. The project was exactly the case where young people could make changes in the schedule proposing activities that suit our topic and tried to carry out the ideas (e.g. workshops). I adore so much when a young person wants to take an action, wants to stand out, lead or participate actively. Although in the very beginning participants where a little shy and thought they don’t have opportunity to make suggestions but communication and discussion broke all doubts and misunderstanding. While they gained courage to take action in a small group but with yet unfamiliar people, I think this is a big step towards taking actions in their education, work, family or business.


The work that has been done had to be summarized and made public. Final product of the project was creating postcards and posters about tolerance, about cultures and Erasmus+ and all of this was brought to light on an official exhibition on the Promenade in Narva, where locals could come and see the results, talk to the participants and also local youth could get information about taking part in the youth exchange projects like this and about Erasmus+ opportunities in general. This was really exciting and touching for each of the participants because they could show and share something they have made with their hands.

The LINK to the post about the exhibition (available in russian language only)

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P.S. Postcards will be printed in many numbers and sent to the addresses of participants families, friends and different organizations, even European Commission. All in the aim of increasing awareness about tolerance and the vision of United Europe, as well as Erasmus+ program.

It was a mix of emotions, activities and intercultural communication. There were workshops, competitions, language classes, BBQ, Spa day, sightseeing, intercultural evenings, music etc. But it was fun and many of us made good friends and built partnerships that would last hopefully long time. All of us did a great job and it was supercool experience not only for my team(organizers) but to all of those who took part.

and hopefully that was not the last project from our organization!

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Cémal Akçiçek (ROMANIA): “The project succeded its mission with a unique multicultural enviroment. People from different countries presented their opinions/facts about various topics such as racism, homophobia, discrimination etc., through creating postcards. Which showed me that these kind of issues can be brought up and hightened by so many little, but different, ways. Even a piece of paper (postcard) can make you realize and think about things.”

Kairi Helga Haav (EST): “I really liked the projeck people and the projeckt in general was very interesting. And the city….veryvery cute i would like to visit it again ^.^”

Aleksandra Aleksandrova (BULGARIA): “The project was a wonderful experience for me, because it was an opportunity to meet many new people and also, develop my language and team-working skills.I will definitely have pleasant memories of it.”

Zoran Nikolovski (MACEDONIA): “The organization of this project was realy good and we have beautifull time in Narva, and I realy want to be again..”

Jesus Martinez Garcia (SPAIN): “As a group leader I have to say that this project has overcomed my expectations. Being at the border line of europe we found a fantastic human group so motivated in order to give us the experiencie as possible, working hard together with a commom target”