Gender in Youth Work.
Something good happened this year in Albania! All started with a call from the Greek NGO Alter Ego Basement which proposed us to participate in a Youth Exchange which took place on May at Pogradec, Albania and a seminar in August at Tirana the capital of Albania, organized by an Albanian NGO named Act for Society Center. The name of the project was: Gender in Youth Work: perspectives, challenges and opportunities.
Experience from Pogradec: At the project participated nine countries: Albania, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic and Croatia. The hospitality was excellent and the Albanian NGO had organized everything great! We had a very good connection with all participants and we had a feeling of a “big family”. We did a lot of projects, sometimes in groups of people from our country and other times in mixed groups of different countries. We discussed about the problems of Gender in our own countries and how we can do something to change the situation. Also, about the Lgbtqi community which in Balkan countries unfortunately is still not well appreciated. Also we did some workshops like a little act of theater representing a problem of each country and the audience had to guess which country was. One other role playing that I liked the most was the separation in couples which were supposed to get married, of course the couples were mixed, so from my experience, I had to get married wit Turker a guy from Turkey and we had to decide where will take place the wedding, how it will be
organized and where we will live after the wedding. So it
was so difficult for us to decide because of the mentality
and traditions of our countries. With all the participants at
the last days we did also a Flash Mob in which we had to
dance all together a traditional song from each country. So,
what we learned from this Youth Exchange was the group
communication, and how to inform other people about gender
problems in Europe and of course in Balkans!
Experience from Tirana: In Tirana the things were more formal because it was a seminar. We discussed more deeply about the Gender issues in Europe and Balkan countries, but also about the work perspectives and opportunities of youths. Our trainer, Ira Topalli was very informed in such topics and we learned a lot of important things that we can use in our everyday life. The project that we liked the most was the one that we had to take interview from locals in Tirana. What impressed us: some locals didn’t know what gender equality was, or they didn’t want to tell us. From the other hand there were a lot that proposed also solutions about gender problems. So from the seminar we learned to cooperate with other people, to understand and explain gender issues in education, to take ideas for working on gender related issues.
We want to thank a lot the Albanian NGO
which made a very big effort to accomplish
this project and inspired us so much to continue
our battle for gender equality and rights.
Problems in Greece: Before writing this article we had a conversation about the problems of Gender in Greece and also we took some photos and a video. So, in Greece we have the orthodox religion and the church controls a lot the country. The most common problem of the church is the Lgbtqi community. The church can’t accept them and they call them “people of Satan”. One other problem in Greece is the Patriarchy. Men sometimes consider their women as their property. Even in some social centers, which are fighting for human and gender rights the opinion of men is more powerful and women are taken for granted. Also in work, unfortunately women are not respected. The most common problem is the work dress code which is taken in big consideration. The work opportunities are not good enough for Lgbtqi too.
They have to lie about their personal life so as to find a job. Fortunately woman violence is eliminated, but this last months we had some rape issues which concern us a lot. As we live in Thessaloniki, we wanted to share something that happened in our city. A girl was raped next to the university campus as she was walking with her boyfriend. The guys overpowered her boyfriend and raped her. The local society was shocked and some of them started to blame refugees and the
situation of refuge crisis in Greece. But of course the guys were Greek! So this was a very bad situation. Girls don’t want to be brave on their road at home, they want to be free! Except from church, people are becoming more and more open-minded and especially youths who are the “future” of our country. What makes us happy is that we have a lot of NGO’s and social centers who take under control human and gender rights. Youths have to ACT and fortunately they have the motivation!
Alter Ego Basement NGO.