From the Youth Exchange “Activists Assemble” in Latvia
The Active Rainbow – Activists Assemble Youth Project exchange is an experience we would highly recommend to anyone in the queer community and our allies.
For most of our group, this was the first time to participate in an Active Rainbow project and we simply didn’t know what to expect.
On the very first day, we were very nicely welcomed by the team and all the other participants. Very quickly, the whole team, from five different countries, came together and created a community full of safety, acceptance, and love, regardless of our differences. Through many moments of support, deep conversations, group hugs, laughter, making sandwiches late into the night, connecting in silence and sharing creative ideas, we created deep bonds of friendship and a space for vulnerability. Besides focusing on the community, there was also a strong emphasis on “me time”, to take care of our mental health in between all the social activities.
During the exchange, we were encouraged to become a community as a part of group and community learning in a safe space and to design and explore our own activism. During the project, we got to know different methods of experiential learning, we worked with all our senses. The activities consisted of simulations, role-playing, methods of physical movement and creativity, and many experts and other persons were involved in the project, who gave us their knowledge in various forms. We learned about different forms of digital activism, and activism through art, and we also prepared and performed our own street actions.
Through experience, our perspective on group dynamics, on-the-spot conflict resolution and open and direct communication was re-illuminated. By solving problems on the spot, talking about our emotions, and putting a lot of emphasis on making everyone feel good, we realized the power of a positive attitude, empathy towards fellow human beings, accepting differences and creating a space in which we can accept ourselves and others around us.
The days full of activities and bonding passed too quickly and soon it was time to say goodbye, which was full of crying, hugs and plans to meet again. Many of us still cannot believe the magic we created as a community and how we have been able to forge such deep bonds in such a short time. We came back full of inspiration, love, new friendships, new ideas and experiences, and a renewed enthusiasm for activism at home. We realised how important it is to feel a sense of belonging in a community, to share different experiences and how magical it is to inspire and be inspired by others. Full of new knowledge, we are already looking forward to the activity we will carry out in Slovenia as a follow up of this wonderful exchange.
We would like to thank the management and all other employees in the organization for their quick responses and emotional support. They provided both a positive climate and a welcoming space with a focus on the entire group as well as individual needs of everyone involved. The range of food was also inclusive, mostly vegan and adapted to individuals with various medical conditions.