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Mar 13 2013

2013.03 Out of the Box-11

2013.03 Study Visit "Out of the Box"

At a time of rapid changes, much of the European population is young in new situations that require profound changes, both individual and collective. Within this context, it is necessary to create new economic and social methods that enable youth out of this situation of job insecurity and economic crisis. 

Name: Out of the Box  Duration: 13-22 March 2013  Location: Vic (Barcelona), Spain
Organizers: Aurora – gestio de projectes socials   Supporters: Youth in Action Programme (Action 4.3)  Topics: Social Entrepreneurship; Youth Unemployment 
Romanian participants: Robert Andrei Mares (M); Maria Simona Baston (F); Ileana Luciana Toma (F). 


It is therefore necessary to provide young people with real life examples of innovative projects that can serve as inspiration to carry out their own projects, as well as to train these young people the basic principles that any young entrepreneur might need in future and that’s what this event is all about. 

From idea to practice – through interactive sessions and workshops participants were given the opportunity to develop their skills about generating ideas and planning their implementation. It started with sharing information and evaluating situations of their own realities (country situations related to youth unemployment and possibilities given by states for youth entrepreneurship). After each visit participants evaluated the quality and possibilities to realize such projects in their own countries. Every day they had 1 – 2 hour workshops working in groups for creating and planning social-entrepreneurship projects. This gave them knowledge and skills for future real actions. Motivation developed by visiting real working examples was used as a trigger for participants learning process. Process creation and legal forms (cooperatives, youth associations, self-employment) in the process of group works were included in presentations and sharing of best practices for project planning, legal issues and funding of small entrepreneur initiatives. Participants assessed and compared possibilities in different countries. Working in mixed international groups in workshops developed participants’ skills for team work, communication and social skills. It raised intercultural understanding and tolerance. Through the entire project visits were mixed with interactive workshops and presentations which helped them to learn by practicing real competences related with project planning and implementation of social-entrepreneurship ideas.


Study visits performed to innovative social projects: 

a) Sambucus: cooperative restaurant comprised of organic products from the region, in addition to incorporating young workers at risk of social exclusion; 

b) Foundation Dr.Trueta: humanitarian foundation that has a special work centre in Vic, which promotes occupational therapy for people with  mental disorders, through recycling products from pharmacies;

c) Tapis project partners for integration as a volunteer project that accompany people with special difficulties in the job market (www.trueta.cat);

d) Center for Entrepreneurship in Barcelona (www.barcelonactiva.cat);

e) LA FABRICA DELS SOMNIS (dreams factory) is an space to promote sport activities as climbing, joggling, slackline and theater in company with youngsters, children with parents, and all kinds of people interested in this kind of activities, according to social economy and autoregulation of the space through all the people using the equipments. 



Out of the box project”

When asked to write a few words about Out of the box project, firstly I thought what I wanted to stress more, the professional part of this project or the emotional and personal approach. I will try to mix them below.

Everything started three month ago when a friend of mine told me about a Youth in Action project in Vic, 60 km away from Barcelona, which was going to take place in March. She sent me the description and project design and I said “YES!” with all my heart. This would have been my first Youth in action project so I did not know exactly what to expect from it, but I knew it was going to be an amazing experience and I was not mistaken at all.     :)

Firstly, the theme was very interesting “Promoting social entrepreneurship against youth unemployment”. I thought instantly that “Youth unemployment” is a social problem in every European country and I wanted to find out more about the situation in other countries and also what solutions young people can find if they put their efforts together. As a result, the organizers will provide us with a Manuel with all our ideas to fighting against youth unemployment. 

Secondly, I was personally interested in the project because from its description I understood they will approach the theme of non-formal education, a field in which I want to acquire more information and experience. At the moment, I am working as an Educational Consultant, specialized in organizing summer language camps for children and teenagers. In summer I always accompany groups abroad and I found out I am good at coordinating and motivating young people, but at the moment I am not professionally trained for that. So I wanted to meet more trained and experienced people in this field. My expectations were fully fulfilled in this regard!

Thirdly and not least I wanted to visit Spain and Cataluña as I never had the chance before, get to know the people and see how they are fighting against youth unemployment and how they put their efforts together in a domain new for me, social entrepreneurship. The study visits were very well chosen and gave us real examples of the local reality.

Aside from the precious information offered, I discovered a new me. I was challenged to work in groups and provide ideas, I found out how important is listening to others and that despite the different cultural backgrounds we can find a way of communication, with patience, respect and understanding. It was not easy from the very beginning, but the good part is that we found a way to do it! I also found out how important is time and stress management, controlling emotions in a positive way, take a break when needed and get back in the game!

The last days were the hardest as we had to say good bye to our new friends, but I know if we really want to we can definitely meet some day again! I am looking forward to other new interesting projects!                         (Ileana Luciana Toma)