• Cinq jeunes et leur animatrice sont partis au Sénégal avec l'association "Jeunes et Citoyens" grâce au programme Axes Sud (c) JEC
  • Dans le cadre du projet "Citoyens d'Europe", les jeunes ont organisé une marche à Bruxelles pour l'accueil et la justice migratoire (c) FMJ
  • Dépasser ses préjugés et aller à la rencontre de l'autre, c'est ce qu'ont réalisé les jeunes partis au Sénégal (c) JEC
  • L'association "Jeunes et citoyens" au Sénégal (c) JEC
  • Le parcours de la marche dans le cadre du projet "Citoyens d'Europe" était agrémenté de happenings pour partager les messages via des formes artistiques (c) FMJ
  • Le projet "Front'hier et demain" dans le cadre de l'appel "Droits sociaux, Droits de l'homme" (c) asbl Cemome
  • Les jeunes du Centre La Bicoque (c) La Bicoque
  • Projet "Front'hier et demain" (c) asbl Cemome

Solidarity at the heart of youth projects24/08/2020

Managed by the Directorate General of Culture and Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the Bureau International Jeunesse (BIJ), through various non-formal education programmes, focuses on the international mobility of young people for learning purposes, with one central value as a backdrop: solidarity.

"For the BIJ, international mobility is not an end in itself but a tool for experiential learning, and solidarity is part of it. Certain programmes focus on this core value, such as volunteering and the "solidarity projects" of the European Solidarity Corps. Those who are not directly involved often show solidarity in their experiences," explains Laurence Hermand, Director of the BIJ.

The BIJ focuses on values and has created a pedagogical tool entitled "Free Together”, which explores the values of solidarity, respect and freedom. A very practical tool that allows youth leaders to make them aware of these values by experimenting with concrete situations.

Active citizenship

Among the programmes managed by the BIJ, the European Solidarity Corps supports young volunteers abroad and in Belgium as well as solidarity projects which are local youth initiatives. For example, a young girl has been working as a volunteer in a centre that welcomes vulnerable female asylum seekers and helps them to gain autonomy and regain self-confidence for 5 months now.

The Tremplins Jeunes and Bel'J programmes allow young people to carry out linguistic or professional immersion projects by putting themselves at the service of an association's project located abroad (Tremplins Jeunes) or in another Belgian community (Bel'J). And let’s not forget the projects of groups of young people via the Axes Sud (read more), Erasmus+ and Erasmus+ programmes: Jeunesse en Action and Québec, which are opportunities to foster intercultural learning, the development of active citizenship and a sense of solidarity.

Meeting migrants

Every year, the BIJ launches 2 calls for projects: the "Social and Human Rights" call and the "Citizens of Europe" call.

Last year, within the framework of “Droits sociaux, droits de l’homme", there was, for example, the "Front'hier et demain?” project, supported by 3 associations (the Maison des cultures of Saint Gilles, the Maison de quartier le Bazar and Cemome asbl). In this framework, nine teenagers aged 12 to 17 left to meet migrants and hosts from the city of Briançon (France). In this city, volunteers are organizing themselves to help migrants who cross the mountainous borders on foot, summer and winter, day and night, between Italy and France. The young people were able to exchange and compare their experiences, in a respectful and humble manner, with these travellers who are just passing through.

As part of the “Citoyens d’Europe" project, the young people imagined a march in Brussels for both the reception of migrants and migration justice. The route was embellished with 5 happenings created by them to share their messages through artistic forms (dance, music or theatre).

Last year, more than 5,000 young people benefited from BIJ’s support and more than 800 projects were funded.

From Quebec to Senegal

The Centre de jeunes and the La Bicoque quarter in Liège have a photo workshop at their disposal. The young people in this workshop wanted to participate in the citizenship process. They mobilized by participating in the climate walks, interviewing and photographing other young people. As part of the Québec "Our blue home" programme, they then went to meet young committed Quebecois and discover eco-citizen initiatives. These young people made videos and photos during these encounters and discoveries to create a video montage that brings together their views on the "youth movement for a sustainable world".

Another continent, another project with the Axes Sud programme which enabled Elise Lecocq, a youth worker, to accompany 5 young people in Senegal, with the association Jeunes et Citoyens. « The project consisted in overcoming one's prejudices to meet the other through intercultural encounter," explains Elise, who left for Senegal in April 2019. "The youngsters stayed with families, shared with them, lived like the locals and came out of this experience with a different vision of the world," she concludes.

By Laurence Briquet

This article is from the W+B Magazine n° 148

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