YOUropean 2017 in Armenia

44 motivated young social heroes from four different countries met during ten days in Armenia for the awesome European youth exchange “YOUropean 2017”. Organized by Young Caritas and co-financed by Erasmus plus, this gathering was the fifth in the series of “YOUropean”-meetings after Montenegro, Luxembourg, Berlin and again Montenegro.

This year the participants came from Southern Tirol, Montenegro, Luxembourg and of course Armenia. The local youngsters were so proud to show us as well the overwhelming beauty of the their country as also the profound and difficult story of their people. Beside a few social activities as for instance an afternoon of games with children with multiple disabilities and the visits of some NGO’s working with syrian-armenian refugees we had the opportunity to share a lot about our own commitments and social motivations and about our idea of Europe and solidarity. In the marvellous north-west of Armenia we made a breath-taking walk of 27km (!!) to a phantastic waterfall, and in the famous and beautiful capital Yerevan there were a lot of moments of discovery and sharing the popular armenian lifestyle. During a visit at UNHCR we understood the difficult challenge and task to organize the help for migrants and refugees, and at the very impressive National Memorial we brought our honor to all the victims of the genocide.

YOUropean 2017 turned out to be the beginning of a lot of new friendships and a marvellous incentive for a to-be-continued-story of this youth exchanges.

What our week looked like:

Day 1: Participation in the Armenian national celebration.

Day 2: Community work for the international youth village we lived in.

Day 3: Visit of the Emili Aregak Center for children with multiple disabilities – guided visit and workshops.

Day 4: Walking&Talking! 27km (!!!) of hiking through fantastic armenian landscapes till an impressive waterfall. Loads of opportunities for sharing and adventures!

Evening of day 4: Intercultural cooking with delicious specialities and the visit of the director of Caritas Armenia.

Day 5: A very touching workshop about our motivations of social and political volunteering! With the visit of Armenian Caritas volunteers and a lot of testimonies of our youngsters!

Day 5 afternoon: Amazing workshop about Europe and solidarity & preparation of our flashmob in the citycenter of Yerevan.

Day 6: A looooooot of info about refugee integration! Visits at UNHCR, a policlinic and at Aleppo-NGO, which are mainly concerned about the good inclusion of the syrian-armenian victims of the war. Our youngsters were impressive in attention, questions and discussion!!!

Day 7: First flashmob in the center of Yerevan! At noon!!! 😉
“Wake up, world! We are stronger together!”
Second flashmob at the marvellous temple of Garni.
“Wake up, world! We are stronger together!”
Awesome cultural discoveries in Geghard, Garni and Yerevan! What a beauty!!!!

Day 8: We were deeply touched at the Memorial of the Genocide. Very deeply touched!! Our flowers were more than all words.

Day 8 afternoon: Sweet syrian breakfast surprise, visit of the museum of Armenias national poet&musician Komitas and an impressive evaluation of the exchange.

And last but not least a heartbreaking goodbye…

See you next year!!! 😉