Germany // Youth Exchange “In the shadows” in Garlstedt – Alaa

The Erasmus+ project “In The Shadows” held in Garlstedt, Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany, from October 21st to 30th, 2023, focused on exploring stereotypes through theater and video methods. Participants from Spain, Greece, Estonia, Croatia, Romania, and Germany came together, totaling 42 young individuals.

I chose to participate in this project due to my keen interest in social inclusion and breaking down cultural barriers. The prospect of engaging with people from diverse countries, each with unique backgrounds, provided an excellent opportunity to broaden my perspective and contribute to a meaningful cause.

The primary objective of the project was to address stereotypes using creative tools and methods, fostering intercultural understanding, empathy, and social inclusion. The three main goals were teaching tools to combat stereotypes, promoting intercultural understanding, and strengthening relationships between European organizations to combat discrimination.

The project comprised three impactful workshops:

– MIME: Explored the power of non-verbal communication, challenging participants to convey complex emotions and narratives without words.

– Theatre of the Oppressed: Delved into the use of theater as a tool for expressing pressing social issues, promoting critical thinking, and encouraging dialogue.

Viral Videos Filming and Editing: Equipped participants with skills to create compelling videos aimed at raising awareness and combating stereotypes in the digital realm.

The workshops provided valuable insights into breaking down stereotypes through creative expression. The MIME workshop underscored the universality of emotions, transcending language barriers. Theatre of the Pressed demonstrated the potency of storytelling in fostering empathy and understanding. The Viral Videos workshop empowered us to use contemporary tools to disseminate our message widely.

The most surprising aspect was the profound impact of non-verbal communication. In the MIME workshop, participants connected on a deeper level, highlighting the potential for silent expressions to foster understanding across cultural differences.

Now back home, armed with new knowledge and skills, I plan to initiate local projects promoting social inclusion and combating stereotypes. The emphasis will be on utilizing the power of theater and digital media to engage my community in conversations that challenge preconceived notions and promote empathy.

Participating in this project in Garlstedt was an enriching experience. The diverse range of activities, coupled with the international mix of participants, created a dynamic and stimulating environment. The project not only equipped me with practical tools but also inspired a commitment to fostering positive change in my community.

The collaborative nature of the project has resulted in lasting connections and a network of like-minded individuals across Europe. The shared experiences and lessons learned will undoubtedly continue to influence and shape my perspective on social inclusion and combating stereotypes.

Alaa Elgeritly

The project “In The Shadows” was co-funded by the European Union and AdB.