PROJECTS / Reunion 2007
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Monday, 20-01-2020
Wednesday, 2018-01-17

20 Jahre Campus15

Monday, 2015-12-28

Summer Camp 2016

APPROVED - YES - IT WILL HAPPEN!

Wednesday, 2015-04-22

Reunion 2015

APPROVED - YES - IT WILL HAPPEN!

Wednesday, 2015-04-22

Teach to reach, train to maintain – 21st century competencies

A Project organized by our partner from Croatia. More information you can find here.

Reunion 2007

Foreigners - Friends - Family: A CAMPUS15 Group on a Mission of Peace and Understanding in Serbia and Bosnia-and-Hercegovina.

“There on the other side of the street! Look! I saw them!” Cheers and screams broke out in the bus that entered the central bus station in Belgrade on Sunday morning, July 15th. After the young participants from the Netherlands, Poland and Germany had met early that day to fly to Serbia together, they could hardly wait anymore now: Finally, after 345 long and often lonely days, they were about to be reunited again with the rest of the group, their friends from Montenegro, Bosnia-and-Hercegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. It took some time until every one of the 32 participants and nine team counsellors had managed to hug everyone else – cheerful laughter and faces beaming with joy and happiness were all around. At last, one year after they had met in C15’s summer camp “Central Europe meets Southeast Europe”, after one year when personal contact was mostly only possible through phone or internet, they were in each others arms again.

This reunion, clamoured for by the young people already in the previous summer and finally realised through a lot of voluntary work efforts, private donations and a grant from the EU Youth Programme, was not only meant to bring them together again and allow them to renew and deepen friendship. Rather, the beautiful summer weather should be used to work jointly for other people. In the previous year, the participants themselves experienced that living together without problems or fears with people from seven different countries, meaning different languages, religions and cultural backgrounds, is quite possible. This experience they wanted to share with others this time, to appear as a united group and a living proof for the prospect of reconciliation and peace. During the first part of the Reunion in Bela Palanka, Serbia, a project was realised together with an organisation representing the local Roma population. The Roma minority has a share of around 5% of the population in Serbia, but is often faced with discrimination and largely lives in constant poverty. After the group had been introduced to the history and current situation of Roma in Serbia, the real work could begin. Together with around 10 Roma youngsters, work was done in three separate workshops. One group was in charge of PR – they made it their task to inform about the activity and produced flyers and big posters to invite the local community to the final presentation. A second group developed theatre plays that brought up the topic of discrimination against Roma and hinted at possible solutions to the problem. They were later acted on stage during the presentation. The third group worked with the local scout group “Remizijana”, built and painted banks and furbished up a fire place for a recreational area near the scout centre. The Bela Palanka scout group is C15’s partner organisation in Serbia. For the small town, an international youth group organising a presentation together with the Roma was a true novelty. The residents noticed and observed the activities of our ragtag bunch with great curiosity. The group, in turn, was aware of that and pleased, feeling confirmed in their view of how integration should work.

Yet work was of course not everything: there was no lack of fun, water battles in the heat (40°C+ in the shade…), and nightly goings… the 16 to 18-year-olds made ample use of the rare time. In the evenings, well-known songs were sung; there was laughter as well as quiet enjoying of spending time together. Of course there were also a lot of stories to tell: “What did you do, and what did you experience during the past year? Yes, of course I also missed you a lot…”

With the work in Bela Palanka finished and after a nightly bus ride across Serbia, the group reached Tuzla in Northeast Bosnia. Here, the second part of the Reunion took place from July 23rd to August 1st. The social project in Tuzla was with the “House for Children without Parental Care“, an orphanage that harbours over 100 children, youngsters, and young adults aged 0-21.

The C15 group had resolved to improve the conditions of the House’s outside area and arrange a special programme with the local kids during the time spent there. Accordingly, there were again different working groups: One created hand puppets from paper-mâché or socks, which lead to a colourful and gluey chaos as well as many smiling children’s faces. The older residents joined the sports group that played football, basket ball or Frisbee, or spent their energy in the music and dance workshop. Another group repaired and re-painted old banks near the sports ground, but also prepared wooden seats for the House’s small stone “amphitheatres”. All workshops were predominantly prepared and run by the young people themselves.

The three days of activities held surprises for everyone: Participants not speaking the local language found out that communication with just facial expressions or gestures can get you a long way. And everybody felt that they had a part in giving the local kids some joy and happiness. Seeing shining eyes and hearing loud laughter easily compensates for a lot of hard work…

Regardless of how much work was done for others during this Reunion – at the end of the day the participants have gained and learnt a lot for themselves. Once more, they lived together as a group that regarded peace and friendship as their first priority. They made the experience that a lot can be achieved with rather small means, and that often a few kind words can be enough to make someone else’s day. They learnt that all over Europe they have people they can rely on. They have the power to build bridges that connect their individual backgrounds and stories, but can also bring the countries they come from closer together. Bridges that are the necessary step on the way to a common and more peaceful future for everyone.

A first bridge the participants plan to build all by themselves: they want to meet for a third time. This time, however, they want to organise their getting together on their own responsibility, create and develop project ideas and find a way to finance them. Motivation is not a problem: they are convinced that they can do it. For they know that only one year ago they came together as strangers for three weeks, and parted as friends. This time they came as friends to Serbia and Bosnia-and-Hercegovina for two and a half weeks, and they say that they parted as a family…