This March, we were happy to be invited once again for a Youth Exchange in Cyprus by Stressball CY. Based in Larnaca, we attended Employability for all between the 7th March to the 17th March. We were also lucky enough to have it all funded by Erasmus+.This time around we were joined by new friends from Egypt, Morocco, Georgia, Turkey and Cyprus of course. The aim of the project was to learn employability skills and to explore the concept of Social Enterprise. How and why to set one up, the considerations when setting up social businesses and the differences and similarities in the participating countries. It was very interesting sharing these different experiences across the countries and learning about other cultures at a whole new level.
Participants were encouraged to work in groups made up of people from each all the different teams present. We developed ideas which will transform society by working with marginalised groups of young people, creating opportunities and transforming lives. We came up with some great ideas, worked together to tackle some very real issues and found we had so much in common! The ideas we all created could easily have such a beautiful impact on our societies! Everyone was so passionate about change and keen to work together to implement some of the ideas.
At a personal level it was also such a transformative experience. We arrived as six people from the UK and left with friends spread across the world. Day by day we pushed our skills, our knowledge and confidence. No one likes presentations, but after nine days of presentations everyone had become so confident. And then there was Cyprus itself. The place was beautiful, and there were so many cats! We were lucky enough to take in a few cities and make it up into the mountains. The views were to die for.
Our host Stessball CY is actively involved in empowering youth locally and internationally. Although a fairly new NGO, they are experienced trainers and youth workers and we really enjoyed working with them. The workshops they put on encompassed every aspect of starting a social enterprise, from the analysis to the funding and the business plans. Even the social media was taken in.
At the end of nine days we left, sad to be leaving such a welcoming and inspirational environment but with a whole host of new friends and experiences. All of this was made possible by Erasmus + and we are even happier that until we leave the EU the funding will continue to be available for more and more of these incredible trips! New places, new friends, new growth and new knowledge – what else could you ask for?
Dave James Horn, Volunteer – Bauhaus Cafe CIC
More information about Erasmus + HERE.