How do you think our thematic workshops started? The natural way to go - with smiles, emotions and great openness. The participants, the volunteers and the team got to know each other, became friends in the blink of an eye and thus spent wonderful moments together, creating a very good start to a road that looks beautiful and very useful for each of them.
We therefore started the thematic workshops within the project "From student to employee: Advocacy and training services for young people and women at risk in Dolj County", for young people (V13 program) and women (EMPO program). Dozens of young people and women have actively participated in creative workshops, professional development, sports or the development of basic digital skills. Relationships were created almost instantly between the participants, the team and the volunteers, thanks to the openness they all showed. Not only that, but also, there was a lot of involvement from all participants, because within these thematic workshops they experienced continuously and at a high level what they lack in the social interactions they have in everyday life. It is about the fundamental needs of the human being, such as the need for attention, manifested by being seen, heard, but also listened to, by being appreciated because you are human and hence you have an unconditional value. The reactions of the participants showed us that the road we are on is a good one, and the approach is the most appropriate.
We are just at the beginning, but we start with enthusiasm and confidence that we will learn many useful things together, experientially, all creating a cohesive and harmonious group: us, the foundation team, our volunteers and, of course, the project participants. So far, we have been joined by volunteers from different fields, with different specializations, but all inspired and guided by the same desire to change people's lives for the better, which leads to changing the world. We are glad that they are with us and we thank them wholeheartedly for their valuable contribution.
Because we want the atmosphere in Adina Home to be familiar, relaxed, natural, we have chosen the first workshops to focus on the interpersonal relationships between volunteers and participants. Because all our workshops have a highly participatory component, the activities of each workshop are decided by mutual agreement by all the actors involved. By choosing this mode of action, we offer participants a deep sense of trust, we want them to feel listened to, understood, valued. We believe that this is the only approach by which they can be encouraged and supported to set out on their best path.
At the workshops dedicated to women (EMPO), they shared with confidence and ease the experiences and difficulties they encountered both in their personal lives and in their search for a job. Most have secondary education and got married early. They had to give up their dreams, their aspirations, giving all their energy and attention exclusively to the family: spouses and children. The brave Carmen raised her hand and said with a sigh: "I, even at this age, am ready to start a new path, even to go to college. My child made me see things differently, and my husband's unconditional support gave me confidence that I can succeed."
At the workshops dedicated to young people (V13), they talked freely about the difficulties they encounter, about the problems each of them faces, but also about the generation they belong to and about their ability to overcome these obstacles. They also talked about their interests, about trades/jobs for the future, and also about what hobbies they have. All this happened during the creation and sports workshops, in an atmosphere full of confidence and openness, one that young people do not have much opportunity to enjoy in everyday life. Impressive and extremely emotional was Valentin's frankness: "It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that I do something good too! I usually only hear that I'm not good at anything."
There are not enough words to thank the volunteers who made first workshops a great success. Our volunteers are teachers, a member of the Advisory Committe of the "Home Start" program, as well as a former beneficiar of the Educational program - an invaluable presence, an extraordinary example of success. They opened up to the participants, shared their experiences and gave them confidence, showing them that people care about people. The message sent by the volunteers and very well received by young people and women alike was that we all mirror each other and it is natural to support each other, we are all human, so we have nothing to fear.
Project implemented by the Adina Stiftelsen Foundation in partnership with Adina Stiftelsen Bergen and Stiftelsen Kirkens Bymisjon Bergen, with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the 2014-2021 EEA Grants.