In the period of 19- 25 of March 2018 in Arad, Romania 21 youth workers went on a Thematic Awareness Training course titled #PeersforDiversity. The topic was on anti-discrimination. I (Kristina Mitrovska) along with Maja Ristevska had the honor to be representatives on behalf of the Volunteers Center Skopje. Through the course of the training, we had the privilege to be among the energetic youth workers in the third largest city in the western part of the country, behind Timișoara and Oradea.
This was my first Erasmus+ project of this kind. I had big expectations of this training and high hopes that I will return to my sending organization ready to create quality workshops and to be an awesome peer educator. During this training I came across many new terms and programs, I have been on few international projects within Erasmus+ (five to be exact) but I have not heard about EPTO before. EPTO (European Peer Training Organization), as they state in the description on their official site “provides space where young people can be learners and educators, sharing with their peers their competences in a spirit of collaboration” where “individual knowledge becomes collective knowledge”. EPTO members train their peers to become trainers, as they did for us on this Peers for diversity training and create conditions for peer education to happen between young people through training, mentoring and coaching creating the “snowball effect”. We have started this journey and we have the EPTO PASSPORT to prove this!
What was the best thing about this peer training is hard to say, because there were so many great stuff! For example, I liked the fact that at the end of the training when I looked back at the knowledge that I previously had, I’ve realized that I have learned a lot, but I didn’t feel that heavy obligation on my shoulders that occurred during my formal education. Instead of that, during the sessions I had so much fun, it was almost hard to believe that the learning process can be so amusing. I’ve learned a lot of new energizers, ice breakers, and mind flexing games, not just during the sessions, but also in our free time, while socializing with the other participants. The facilitators learned some new thing from us too.
That week passed like an hour! Now with the new skills and experiences from this training I’m thrilled to be the one (along with Maja) to organize that kind of training within Volunteers Center Skopje. I’m looking forward to it and I hope we will bring the EPTO spirit among our peers and boost the snowball effect, to empower the young people of Macedonia, and to create a momentum of activities, which in the long run could affect our society as a whole. I hope that my friends will become more active actors of social change trough their participation, as well.
This training was just the first step. Now after we share our experiences through the methods that we went through, part 2 of this journey await us in Luxembourg. That would be the second module of this training, after which we will have the whole picture of the first mile stone towards becoming Senior EPTO Trainer.
And at the end I cannot forget those who made all of this possible. The financing was provided by the European Comission through the Erasmus+ Program and the national agency of Romania, coordinated by 4motion and hosted by Ofensiva Tinerilor.