Portraits

                                                                                             Source: http://web.stagram.com/p/233158246972609647_12564180


In this section, you will find the portraits of the young people who have accepted to tell me about themselves. Each portrait doesn't present an exhaustive description of the initiative, but rather focuses on the key steps and on the influence of the project on the local community and on the personal paths.




Issy-les-Moulineaux (Paris region), France
To share their passion for music with children from poorer backgrounds, Arnault and Quentin have created Musique pour tous (Music for All) in their city, Issy-les-Moulineaux, in Paris region. The young volunteers know that by running guitar collective training sessions for children who recently arrived in France they are learning as much as their pupils. I met up with Arnault, who is president of the group.


Brussels, Belgium 
Infirmiers de Rue (Street Nurses) coordinates a health and hygiene network in order to help homeless people regain self-confidence and to empower them so that they can look forward to social reintegration. Health professionals and social workers, but also station officers, park keepers, pharmacists, shop owners and other volunteers from all backgrounds are trained to ensure regular follow-ups, prevent critical situations and help people in need to build back their life again. Emilie and Sara created and developed that efficient network, building on the homeless person’s resources and the urban environment. Emilie tells me more.

Brussels, Belgium 
Quentin Martens co-founded Plan BThis initiative, led by young French-speakers and Dutch-speakers, has several aims: learn to know each other better, interact, broaden perspectives and imagine together a future for Belgium. While drinking a mint tea, Quentin told me about his encounters, but also about European culture, cooperation and the strength of symbols. He also explained to me how important it is to tell stories in order to better imagine and dream Europe.


Berlin, Germany 
Martin founded Citizens for European association which looks like him and  like all the Europeans he met during his different trips. The goal of this association is to give a meaning to the idea of European citizenship, in order to allow every person living in Europe, whatever her/his origin, to make her/his voice heard and to take responsibilities. The background idea is that the participation of numerous people and the consideration of diversity at a local level are necessary to make Europe grow.


Hambourg, Germany  
Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium... In Germany, according to the school to which the youngster goes, his or her views on the world and his or her chances of success in life are not the same. To trigger more equity and solidarity, Christina and Elisabeth decided to arouse friendships and mutual aid between youngsters from these different worldsRock your life! offers mentoring and coaching programs. This experience proves to be really profitable for the pupils and the students involved. Christina really convinced me.


Modena, Italy 
To give people with severe disabilities the possibility to communicate better and to be in a learning process, Simone creates A.I.D.A, a firm that offers software products adapted to each person's abilities. Simone became a computer engineer and an entrepreneur, despite his handicap. Therefore he wants to show people with severe disabilities and their private, educational and medical circles that anything is possible if one is convinced and equipped with a few well-conceived tools. Here is the story of my encounter with a young and passionate Italian, in the beautiful city of Modena. 


Milano, Italy 
In Quarto Oggiaro, some students and young professionals created Quarto Posto, a place to socialize, discover and experiment. In this troubled north-west Milanese neighbourhood, these young volunteers approach the children, teenagers, parents and retired people living there, but also other Milanese people. They want to make different cultures meet, to organize games and creative workshops, to raise curiosity. Flavia, Marina, Pietro and the other team members observe, understand, suggest, create links and highlight new perspectives. 

Sofia, Bulgaria 
In Sofia and elsewhere in Bulgaria, young homeless people play football twice a week, preparing for the Homeless World Cup. These trainings are a dynamic way to regain a foothold in society: they are a school of life for people that often neither had a family nor an educational framework. Through an entrepreneurial and empathetic approach, Viktor decided to believe in this ambitious educational and social project, building on his passion for football and his skills.

Madrid, Spain 
In Madrid, I met a joyful clown. Lorena Silvestri has three passions: theatre, education and social entrepreneurship. And one belief : it is through amusement that we learn best. With her friend Carmen, she created the drama company “Bailando Esperanza”. Between 2010 and 2012, the two young women undertook the project “Wake up and Dream!” in India, Venezuela and the Middle East in order to collect children smiles and provide some respite to their educators. 





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