Youth rights and democracy: “ARKA” joined the international conference in Baku

On Tuesday, 13th September, representatives of youth organizations from Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Denmark, Azerbaijan and Georgia met at a “Youth Rights Skills Development Seminar” in Baku. During 6 days, the participants shared their experiences with each other. The aim of the seminar was to increase the potential of youth organizations and their member organizations in establishing regional partnership. Vira Dranhoi from the “Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture “ARCA” joined the conference. The participant shared her impressions and told a little about the programme of the event.

The event lasted 6 days, during which young people from six countries managed to discuss many problematic issues and share positive experiences with colleagues. One day, the participants were given a good opportunity to present themselves. All those present were divided into different corners of the hall and given some time to prepare. The youth had to talk about what their organization does, present 2 positive projects and plans for the future.

“Our time was limited, and we had only 3 minutes to answer the main questions about our organization. I came to share the experience of “Arca”, so I tried to encourage and convey my words to the maximum number of people”.

Various youth organizations were present at the event, but all of them in one way or another have a deal with youth rights, think about how to make youth a driving force and an instrument of influence. It is important for participants to become part of the process of making important public decisions.

“There was an organization from Moldova, which directs its work to the Roma community. They motivate members of the community to learn and even have a scholarship programme to fund education. There was another organization also from Moldova that helps people with disabilities. Its representatives also help the Roma. For example, they participate in the transportation of people abroad who cannot do it on their own. I also got to know the representatives of the “National Youth Council of Denmark”; in particular, they were donors of the event and provided the opportunity to apply for grants”.

Having exchanged experience, the girl emphasizes that it became really useful for her to look at work processes from another angle. She says that it would be important for Ukrainian youth organizations to adopt the work experience of colleagues from abroad.

“We have a lot to learn, especially from those organizations that came from Denmark. They have a slightly different system, they are not looking for donors, but have full funding, their work is to look for partners only – and this is another level. I believe that there is an experience that we should adopt so that Ukrainian youth organizations have at least half of what our Western colleagues have”.

The highlight of the event was the cultural evenings, which helped the participants represent the culture of their country. Representatives of Ukrainian organizations created a whole programme with songs, questionnaires and goodies. We sang the song “Oi u luzi chervona kalyna” (“Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow”), I recited Taras Shevchenko’s poem “Ne molylas” (“I didn’t pray”), then a kahoot was prepared for the participants with questions about Ukraine”.

At the end, everyone was treated to Transcarpathian tea and chocolate brought from Ukraine.

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