48 young people, Roma and non-Roma, from Bulgaria, Albania, Belgium, CzechRepublic, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Romania learnt from each other and exchanged ideas in the field of entrepreneurship. They have spent almost 10 days together (from 25 October to 3 November) in Arbanasi during the Erasmus+ youth exchange project “Be the Change!”. The main topics of the youth exchange were “Entrepreneurship in Roma communities”, “Possibilities for funding a business plan”, “Promotion and selling”, and “Creating a presenting a business plan”.
During the first two days the participants passe through the process of getting to know each other. Group leaders prepared a variety of interesting and interactive games such as “Facebook”, “Getting to know each other Bingo” and many others to break the ice and create a spirit of cooperation and safe space for all.During the training, the young people met Mrs. Sashka Alexandrova from the local newspaper “Borba”. Participants actively discussed how to speak in front of the public and the importance of contacting local media for your business. They also improvised as part of a live TV show in order to discuss how to do better in front of the media.
Participants worked in groups and they took part in a contest for a “Best business idea”. Six teams were competing for the first place. A jury composed of the group leaders decided that there two winning ideas: Roma Restaurant idea and Roma School idea.Another interesting activity was discussing famous Roma entrepreneurs from the places of origin of participants and designing a guide for Roma entrepreneurs.
During the week participants also had the chance to visit the village of Kamen where they met with a Roma entrepreneur – the knife-maker Slavcho Angelov. There they got to know the process of making knives as a traditional way to provide for your family.During the week young people also organized cultural evenings where they could present their countries. Besides that, specific nights were dedicated to Halloween (31.10) and the Roma people, as last cultural evenings were dedicated to Roma people from all over Europe.
At the end of the youth exchange, all participants received Youth Pass certificates.
This youth exchange was funded by the Erasmus Plus Program of the European Commission and was organized by Centre Amalipe Bulgaria in partnership with Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative – REDI (Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia), Balkan Youth Activism – Albania, Centre for Common Interest – Czechia and Diverse Youth Network – Hungary.
If you want to see the change through the eys of the young people have a look at the video here prepared by one of the participants Irena Klemparova.