Besides the educational part of the project our participants were enjoying their leisure time as a merged family by discovering that wonderful town, playing different games, singing and dancing.We guess that Dilijan gave us that warm spirit to work in a healthy environment.
One thing that we want to segregate is the care that was shared towards Larisa and Tina. Let us introduce them. Lari (as she likes to be called) is the kindest and smartest girl who makes everyone to admire her after 2 minutes of talking. She was born visually impaired and imagine the challenges she faced with her whole life. Tina is her guiding dog who is always with Lari. So bringing Tina to Armenia was also a challenge because it isn't that common to see people with guiding dogs here and it was surprising, unexpected, and scary at the same time for local people. Sometimes she wasn't allowed to get in some buildings with the dog and it was really rude. But after a huge work that we did with our group by explaining almost everyone the role of this guide dog, lots of things have changed. This is a REAL example how one person can change human mentality, can break stereotypes and can preach love and tolerance.
“This project meant a wonderful experience for my personal and professional life. Since I’ve arrived in Yerevan, I felt an instant positive vibe meeting the whole group. It was friendship at first sight, or I would rather say at first words in my case. I was accompanied by my guide dog Tina, and even if my new friends did not know many things about disabled people’s rights, I felt we indeed changed some mentalities by simply walking on the streets. We explained lots of people the role of a service dog and our message spread really quickly. I am Happy I had the pleasure to work with such a group. I felt comfortable talking with them and all our debates were fruitful. I strongly believe that our biggest accomplishment is that together, we created a safe space for sharing new ideas and experiences. We were united by differences and astonished to find out all kind of opinions that broadened our perspectives in perceiving the world around us. Due to everyone involved in this exchange, I didn’t feel any barrier or limitation during and outside the training sessions.” - Larisa Maria Nechita․
Here are other notes from these wonderful youngsters…
“I had a great and unforgettable time in Dilijan. A new country, a new city, some new challenges and new people to share moments with. That's how I would describe an adventure. I will never forget the debates we had, the dances and all the other funny things we did during those cozy evenings. Many thanks to all of you guys for this amazing experience.” – Dragos Mihalcea․
“Every time I take part in different projects I discover that I have so much to learn from these awesome young people and it’s never enough to receive that vibes. I couldn’t imagine we have that much in common with Romania in culture, habits and stereotypes. Can’t wait to see them again in Romania!” – Narine Sedrakyan․
“This project for me was a really great experience. I didn't expect to learn so many things about others,about employability and mostly about me. This project made me realize a lot of things that I didn't know about myself and they all transformed me in my better version. I met awesome people with great visions and great souls. I felt like in a few days, I was part of a family and that made me not to miss home that much. I connected with great people, all different, but together we were a whole. We explored, we learned, we laughed, we danced, we made friends and we surely made great memories in our minds. I am really grateful that I took part in such a project, and surely it would not be my last one.’’ - Teodora Bianca․
Second phase of project will take place in May in Constanta when we will come together again to further develop our soft skills and shape attitude, which will be part of us no matter where we go and what we do.
The youth exchange is financed by ERASMUS + programme of European Commission and supported by Romanian National Agency.