In Moldova, thousands of pupils and students usually start their school year on September 1st. But this year was an exception, both September 1st and 2nd were week-end days and everyone stayed home. However, it was not an excuse for doing nothing for a group of enthusiastic young people and their mentors from three localities in the south of the country (Vulcanesti, Ursoaia, Cahul, and Zirnesti, Cahul). They did not let these two days pass in vain and organized an exchange meeting, where brainstormed and shared ideas on effective ways to involve young people more actively in school and community life.
Such meetings usually take place either in Chisinau or in the nearest rayonal center, due to logistic aspects, but not this time. Young people broke the patterns and organized an exchange visit in one of the communities in Zirnesti village, Cahul.
The activity started with getting to know each other, coffee and warm-up conversations.
Ruslan Stanga, the director of the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI), facilitated the meeting. He encouraged young people and their mentors to share good practices and lessons learned. Throughout the activity, young people identified similarities and differences in their volunteering initiatives and came up with ideas and recommendations aimed to improve youth initiative groups, currently active in their communities.
Mr. Nicolae Beju, the mayor of Zirnesti village, joined the young people and had a chance to listen to their ingenious presentations and recommendations. The feedback received from the young activists was beyond expectations:
“It was a fascinating visit. Zirnesti community impressed us very much with generous, hardworking and welcoming people. The activities we did together brought us closer and made our friendship stronger. Zirnesti village is an example, and it motivates us to stay active and to get involved in projects,” mentioned Ana Pinti, young woman from Ursoaia village, Cahul rayon.
Young people also got a walking tour of the Ion Creanga Gymnasium, the local youth center, and village museum.
In September through October, 2018 in order to support the IRI idea of a change through civic activism two other regional events in the north and ATU Gagauzia will be organized.
The activity is organized within the IntegrACT-PLUS project implemented by the Institute for Rural Initiatives in Moldova and its local partners within the 2018 Grant Program for Youth Organizations, with the financial support of Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of the Republic of Moldova.
More photos from the event can be found on the Facebook page of the Institute for Rural Initiatives: