It is since January 2019 that the EU co-financed Erasmus+ project ‘REC: Reflect, Experiment, Capture: Experimental Filmmaking to Prevent Violence and Empower Disadvantaged Young People’ has been in place. Its main aim lies in sensitizing young people about the many dangers of violence by using the technic of experimental videos. Due to their global scope, especially the topics of bullying, cyberbullying, as well as gender related violence and forms of psychological violence are covered here.
International support from Africa and Asia
Therefore, five social organizations from Spain, Italy, Germany, Kenya, and Indonesia came together for implementing the REC project in the five mentioned countries. Thereby, the three European-based organizations got direct support from Africa and Asia. Under the framework of the European Voluntary Service (EVS), one young volunteer from Kenya and two young volunteers from Indonesia had have the opportunity to stay in Italy, Spain and Germany respectively to help the organizations there in implementing the REC project.
From mid-2019 until mid-2020 the three EVS volunteers lived together with their colleagues in Europe – sometimes even with the youngsters that were cared at the social organizations. Beside the challenges of learning a new language – an experience that especially Mrs. Asry Tesalonika during her stay in Germany had to make – the young volunteers from Asia and Africa experienced how living in a Western society is. Mrs. Angeline Nyawira Mithayo from Kenya, who stayed at CESIE in the Italian island of Sicily concluded that “Italy was way too special than I could have ever imagined”. Nevertheless, with the support of their colleagues and by integrating into the local societies, all three quickly enjoyed living in Europe.
On the other side, the young ladies had plenty of opportunities to share their own culture. Mrs. Erika Gabrielle Myarti, also from Indonesia, who spent her EVS at Fundacion INTRAS in Spain, e. g. gave her colleagues and the youngsters a brief explanation about the religions in Indonesia, traditional costumes, arts and feast days in Indonesia.
Between everyday life…
In Europe, the three volunteers supported the social organizations of the REC project in producing the REC videos together with the youngsters and their educators in order to sensitive youngsters in general about the potential dangers of different forms of violence. In Italy, Angie, even organized a real campaign to raise the awareness of the local community of the town of Palermo about the fate of African migrants living there. Furthermore, all three gained many insights into the work of an European social NGO.
… and Corona virus
Till the beginning of 2020 everything was running smooth. But then, when the Coronavirus hit Europe, everything suddenly changed. For the REC project, this meant that the NGOs involved in the project had to make a pause. And the three young ladies had to go into – as many Europeans with them –quarantine for some time. But after some time, when the lockout regulations were slacked, the work within the REC project continued in all countries involved in the project.
All in all it can be said that all of the three young volunteers from Africa and Asia enjoyed their stay in in Europe, which was rich in diversity. They experienced not only how it is to work in a social NGO, but also how life in Europe is going on. Of that, Mrs. Tesalonika is very proud of: “Every challenge, a men masters, just contribute to get even more stronger”. The NGOs that had the luck to host them in these special times came to a similar conclusion. Nonetheless, after 12 months, now the time has come to say farewell to all three.
Prospect: Local Exhibitions and International REC film festival in Indonesia
But this farewell does not mean that the REC project is over now, as we still have Local Exhibitions in all partner countries and the International REC Film Festival, which was planned for this year but had to be postponed for next year in Semarang, Indonesia. Even if we all not know what will happen until then, we’ll do our best to make the event possible next year. So there might the opportunity to see each other again soon.
Besides that, the friendships, that the three volunteers have closed during their time in Europe, will last forever, making the REC project not only a tool against violence, but also an instrument for transnational cooperation and international understanding.