Youth Exchange: "Give Religion a Chance" - Project Results

The Youth exchange "Give Religion a Chance: Religion as a tool of social inclusion” gathered 36 young people from different religious and cultural backgrounds from 6 countries (Greece, Latvia, Italy, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt) for 7 days 31st of March - 8th of April, 2017 in Tinos island, Greece – an island of religious pilgrimage where Catholic and Orthodox citizens live side by side in peace and respect, to give to the participants the chance to explore, understand and meet their lifestyle, their culture and take part in local activities.

Tinos is the most important Orthodox centre of worship in Greece but, in the same time, an important Catholic centre too; a mix of religious traditions gives to the island a particular character.

The main aim of the project was to build respect and understanding between young people from different religious faiths and cultural backgrounds, create friendships and eliminate stereotypes, fear and xenophobia. It was a small step towards further cooperation and project creation on an inter-cultural basis where young people have many things in common although they have different beliefs and customs.

- to encourage dialog between participants from different religious backgrounds and provide the conditions that will boost young people's ability to work in groups or individually exchanging thoughts and traditions in their respective countries without fear;
- to promote youth cooperation at an international level and minimize discrimination;
- to build understanding and respect between participants from different religious backgrounds and promote cooperation;
- to enhance the knowledge and inform about the different types of traditions and customs in different religions and minimize fear, xenophobia and racism;
- to compare the peaceful living environment of Tinos where Catholics and Orthodox coexist with other countries’ tactics towards people with different religious faiths;
- to explore the concept of religion as a crucial topic for young people to respect and appreciate cultural diversity;
- to eliminate false stereotypes and prejudices that are created through media;
- to identify the competencies that could be developed through games that are required for young people's active participation in social life;
- to encourage mutual cooperation between organizations and participants to deal with the topics of xenophobia, racism and cultural diversity;
- to equip participants with the first knowledge and experience to organize future Erasmus+ projects about interfaith and intercultural dialogue;

DreamTeam is a group of young people active in youth work and its activities are based on non-formal education methods and structured dialog. Culture, arts, creativity, youth active participation, social inclusion, solidarity and tolerance, mutual understanding and respect, human rights, cooperation, European awareness are the core elements of the group.

The project partnership consists of organizations with significant experience in European Projects, with contacts throughout Europe and wide dissemination networks.
I & EYE (R.A.)

The first day was dedicated to ice-breaking and team building activities. We started with the name circle so we get to know each other’s names and then we continued with the portraits game where everyone painted everyone!
The portraits activity was followed by a quite successful Mission Impossible that with good collaboration became possible. Participants created a logo, a song, a countries map of our project and they wrote our name’s project “Give religion a chance” to every language of the participating countries.

The second day was dedicated to our religious customs presentations that turned out to be really interesting. The mixture of countries and religions were quite dispersed and our group had people from the following religious backgrounds:
  • Christians Catholics (Latvians, Italians)
  • Christians Orthodox (Greek, Cypriots)
  • Jews (Isreali group)
  • Drews (Israeli group)
  • Muslims (Egyptian group)
  • Copts (Egyptian group)
  • Atheists (Israeli group).
As a result,  our discussions were quite exciting and informative for all of us. Participants showed great interest in Drews religion as it was the first time some of them heard about it and interesting religious narratives amazed them. Furthermore we discussed the differences between Catholics and Orthodox as well as Copts and Muslims. We heard traditional religious songs, we saw traditional religious costumes and we came closer. 

The third day begun with the activity “Create your ideal religion” that participants liked a lot. In combination with the nice and sunny weather, the activity took place outside at the hotel outdoor space and was fun, creative and successful.
On the other hand, the stereotypes map activity was a bit boring and did not meet our expectations. Participants did not take it very seriously and did not have any result about eliminating stereotypes.

On the fourth day, participants had all the morning to enjoy the island of Tinos and mix with the locals. They were given the activity “Interview the locals” and were asked to use any media they wanted (video, photos etc) to ask the locals about peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Orthodox in the island.  

The fifth day was a cultural visit day. We went to the Church “Our Lady Of Tinos” and we met Mr. Stavros who gave us a guided tour to the Church, he distributed to all the people a booklet with the history of Agia Pelagia and Virgin Mary and we visited the Art Gallery located at the premises of the Church.
At 12.00 we had an appointment with the Mayor of Tinos, Mr. Simos I. Orfanos, who welcomed us at the City Hall inside the city council room. He talked to us about the island, he told us about religious tourism, religious customs and answered the participants questions about marriage between orthodox and catholic in the island of Tinos.The topics discussed mostly were about interreligious dialogue and human rights. 

The 6th day was dedicated to religious tolerance around the world. As music can connect people no matter their religion, participants created a LipDub. It took them sometime outside having fun and getting closer while being creative and patient.

The lipdub video is one of the best materials created during the project that represents the fun side of the project and the power of music:
In the afternoon, we did a photography exhibition representing the peaceful co-existence of Tinos population without any racism about religious beliefs.

In the last day, DreamTeam distributed the Youthpass certificates to the participants and did all the logistic arrangements for the teams travel reimbursement. In the afternoon we discussed about future projects and the participants in mixed nationality teams, they created a project, inspired by everything they have learned so far in Tinos. The project ended with the final evaluation.

The increase of the participants knowledge on the topic of religion was a key for the success of our project. Interculturality and religious customs awareness was gained. 
While working together, participants created interesting material that can be found in our YouTube Channel ( ). 

Dissemination was an important goal of DreamTeam, the hosting organization of “Give religion a chance” project. Dissemination activities offer immediate value to the participants and also raise public awareness. In this report we present the actions taken by the partnership to disseminate the work which has been performed from 31 March  to 9 April 2017 in the island of Tinos. Greece.
The purpose of this report is to highlight the main achievements of the dissemination activities carried out, share results, gine inspiration to future projects and analyze the impact of our work.
Main dissemination tools:
- Website
- Social media (Facebook page, youtube channel)
- Local newspaper "Tinos Today": 
- Local community via our outdoor activities
- Partner organizations

Ιουλίου 25, 2017 / by / 0 Comments

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