“Youth Agents for Change – Combating Discrimination Based on Gender Age and Ethnicity”
          Mobility of youth workers in Malmö, Sweden 

Dear folks, how did you spend your last few days? For us, these were very intensive and at the same time productive days. CAG together with our partner organizations in Kyrgyzstan – Noviy Ritm and in Poland – KobieTY had a week (May 20-May 26, 2019) of the mobility of youth workers together with civil society organizations working with youth in Sweden. 

Participants of the program during an introductory session (Day 1)

The purpose of mobility of youth workers was to exchange the best practices and experiences of organizations involved as well as to plan our further cooperation. This mobility is part of the project funded by Erasmus+ which aims to eliminate discrimination based on age, gender and ethnicity in Sweden, Poland, and Kyrgyzstan. The project is being supported by the European Commission.   

Within the framework of mobility of youth workers, we visited more than five organizations and events held by them, mingled with representatives of youth workers, shared experiences of activism, talked about challenges that we face and the ways we overcome them on personal and organizational levels.

During the first part of the mobility, we attended Yalla Trappan, an organization that aims to provide jobs for women who come from other countries to Sweden. Yalla Trappan is not just a place where women get jobs but it is also a place where women can strengthen their self-esteem and become financially independent. We had a nice workshop with Yalla Trappan but what was also memorable is the delicious food we had in their cafe.

“Yalla Trappan is one of a few organizations whose work is focused on women’s employment. They have built a platform where women can reach economic independence and support themselves and their family members” – mobility participant

Yalla Trappan’s manager talking about core areas of the organization

“The food we had at Yalla Trappan was so delicious and it feels like they have put a lot of efforts in order to achieve what they have right now. Currently, Yalla Trappan members can be proud of what they have been doing since they proved that women can take workplaces, build careers and achieve economic independence. They have proved that women who have jobs feel happier since unemployment leads to anxiety, depression, and misery” – mobility participant  

Our next destination was KOD för Sverige, Kultur, Omvärld och Demokrati that works with newly-arrived young people. The goal of the organization is to strengthen the influence of youth in Sweden based on their needs, interests, and dreams. KOD organizes various thematic activities for youth together with target group representatives. Young people are free to initiate and implement their activities themselves. For example, a club for Designers was created by young girls themselves.

Visiting KOD was interesting since our participants were able to ask questions related to migration in Europe, and at the same time, we have shared our experiences working with youth from different backgrounds.

Q&A time

We finalized our second day by visiting Ensamkommandes förbund that is an independent non-profit association and is run by unaccompanied young people living in Sweden.

The vision of the association is to build bridges between unaccompanied minors and the rest of society and make voices of people heard. For this, Ensamkommandes förbund helps newly arrived unaccompanied young people from all countries in different ways. The association works to eliminate racism, promote human rights laws and regulations.  

It felt so cozy in the office of  Ensamkommandes förbund. After interesting info-session, our participants mingled with the target audience of the organization, who also took part in the meeting. We also enjoyed a warm welcoming atmosphere with delicious coffee.

“I am happy to be a part of the program and be able to express my feelings freely. I have taken a lot from this mobility. I have spent such an interesting week with different people, organizations working to make the world a better place to live in. All the organizations we visited were interesting but there is always something special. For me, it has been  Ensamkommandes förbund. I am so happy that there is a platform in Sweden where people can feel like home”- mobility participant

Thanks for the coffee ^-^

During the second part of mobility, we had a session on #MeToo movement and its influence together with MÄN organization that fights against gender-based violence and strives for an equal world free from violence.

While discussing the impact of #MeToo movement in Kyrgyzstan, Sweden and Poland, we were also able to learn some methods MÄN organization uses to express feelings and speak up about their problems. This practical activity in sub-groups was enjoyed by many participants since it helped them to share their experiences of challenging gender norms or any other norms set by society.

A 3,5-hour workshop is finished ^-^

Our last visit was held at Malmo University where we attended a workshop on LGBTQ and women’s rights held by LGBTQ Students Malmö, which is an aspiring student union under the Student Union Malmö.

This session was interesting since it was exciting for KobieTY and Noviy Ritm to know about the work LGBTQ Students Malmö does to protect the rights of women, girls and the LGBTQ community at the university level.

Our partner organizations KobieTY and Noviy Ritm also shared the current situation of the LGBTQ community, women’s and girls’ rights in Poland and Kyrgyzstan.


Last two days of mobility were dedicated to the evaluation of the whole week, as well as attending two significant demonstrations. Accordingly, we took part in ecofeminist demonstration and Lund pride parade 2019. Demonstration and Pride parade have impressed participants a lot.

“When I saw girls walking down the streets barefoot, I had mixed feelings. I felt for sorry for them since they had to sacrifice their bodies and at the same time I was inspired by the way they were trying to raise their voices about the problems of ecology and feminism in the area” – mobility participant

 

Ecofeminism demostartion on May 25, 2019

“Lund pride parade is the first pride demonstration in my life. I always had a dream of being a part of it since it always inspires and you can feel the unity between people no matter what religion, gender, ethnicity and social status they have. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I would achieve my dream so quickly since I am from the conservative and traditional community. But here in Sweden, my dream came true” – program participant

LundPrideParade2019

Besides youth mobility activities, we also managed to organize informal events that helped participants to get to know each other better and other communities in Sweden. For instance, we were lucky to participate in a LGBTQ quiz night, an event which allowed us to network with participants. We also had several city tours where we visited cultural places in Malmo like the modern art museum and tried vegan food.

Having dinner at Vegan Bar

This mobility of youth workers was the first to be held in Sweden within our project. We plan to have another mobility of youth workers in Kyrgyzstan, where representatives of civil society organizations from Poland and Sweden will spend two weeks in Kyrgyzstan where they will visit civil society organizations working with gender, ethnicity, and ageism.

 

Written by: Ainagul Amatbekova