Between the 15th and 24th of February, 2016 the representatives of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL participated in the youth exchange program “Active Rainbow”, organized in the city of Ommen, the Netherlands. Activists from Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands gathered in order to discuss and plan actions which would contribute to LGBT* human rights progress in their respective countries.
Through informal educational methods during the youth exchange program Active Rainbow, the participants were taught to identify their own personal strengths and weaknesses and to recognize discrimination experienced by vulnerable groups in society. The participants also learned about various creative means of expression, which could be used to promote respect for fundamental human rights.
An important part of the youth exchange program was a trip to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. In the Amsterdam Public Library, participants met the representatives from the LGBT* organization “IHLIA Amsterdam”, who presented their organization’s priorities and introduced the most interesting publications on the topic of LGBT* owned by the library, including “Amstedam”, the publication which already made history in Lithuania. During the visit, the staff of IHLIA Amsterdam also invited us to visit an exposition of lesbian pulp fiction.
During the stay in Amsterdam, the youth exchange program’s participants also had the opportunity to explore historic LGBT* city sites, talk with the residents and city guests, and film a video clip, asking passers-by about their notions of happiness and fulfillment. The participants improved their teamwork skills not only by doing the before mentioned tasks, but also by organizing special workshops on LGBT* human rights issues.
I’m having new ideas, inspirations and plans each day. I love how this exchange is different by being inclusive, intensive, flexible, and has clear goals.
During the exchange, I had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of workshops, which broadened my perspective, gave a chance to learn about different people and working practices, and inspired me for the future work.
During the exchange, I learned about various working practices, which can be used both for organizing and participating in various workshops, had the opportunity to practice public speaking and teamwork skills.
Participation in the youth exchange program provided a unique opportunity to improve intercultural dialogue, teamwork and communication skills, and gave motivation to grow further. It was amazing to spend 10 days with bright young people in the country from which we certainly still have a lot to learn.