Fairy tales always end well. Does it always? 32 ​​young people from 4 countries gathered together to deal with tales and gender-based violence in fairy tales and life. In the youth exchange “Stand together” young people from Ukraine, Georgia, Tenerife, ie Spain and Curaçao met on the same island of Curaçao. What is it? Where is it? The fabulous island of Curacao is located in the Caribbean Sea not far from Venezuela, but at the same time it is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In order to come to this palm paradise with the eternal +26 – + 32 Celsius, Ukrainians need to get a non-fairy visa.

Is it possible to work on something serious in such a climate? Yes, it is. We managed to become acquainted quite productive with cultural differences or similarities, to understand what it gender, sex, sexual practices, gender stereotypes, learned about the heroes and heroines of each country, to deal with sexism in advertising, what kind of violence that happens and shared stories from our lives. It’s impressed that everyone and had something to tell.

We also discussed formal and non-formal education programs, focusing on education that will promote equality and inclusion, help to face violence, and share how our countries look on March 8th. We tried very hard and surprised our colleagues with “the celebration of femininity and beauty” and the presence of women who say: “We do not need any rights, we have everything, we are ready to be a kitchen slave.”

Among the short-term relaxation in the pool, which more often resembled a soup of people, we still had time to find a solution for all the challenges that were able to sound. And to disassemble the Cinderella, the history of her life, her life choices and the lack of freedom of choice, and also to come up with alternative realities of Cinderella’s life and life after the happy end.

One day, the entire group visited the Felis Foundation, a host organization on the island. By the way, Felis means F – felicidad – happiness, E – espasio – space, L – libertat – freedom, I – and , S – speransa – hope. In fact, this is an informal center for children aged 4 to 12 from districts, most of them grow up with domestic violence in the family. And with these children we played games (the children of Curaçao, by the way, also play Ukrainian game “handkerchief”), and they did with the children theater based on the fairy tale “Goat Dereza,” showed Spanish tales, played football with Georgians, studied the Georgian alphabet and wrote their names in Georgian.

We can’t forget about the free time, which was a bit, and the intercultural experience. At cultural evenings, evening hangouts or lunch bites in the pool, and during treasure hunt by the central districts, the Punda and Otrobanda. In the cultural evenings, the Curaçao people treated us with the most delicious non-alcoholic pina colada, mild candy from coconuts, and showed dances in national costumes. The Spaniards were teaching us how to fight when opponents have to hold on shorts, sing songs, Georgians – they taught Georgian and also danced, the Ukrainian team – sang carols We got an iphone, but had to give it up. Also Ukrainian team played in a quiz and distributed candy. Candies were brought to this evening so much that it would be enough for a week.
The participants will tell you more about swimming with turtles and fishes, jumping from a rock and night swimming in sea. Read it till the end.
The meeting was possible thanks to the Erasmus + program.
If you feel that it is for you, do not miss the opportunity to apply the next project.
Here we are waiting for translation from Iryna Polietukha 🙂

Bohdan Malanchuk:The youth exchange in Curaçao was for me the first such a youth exchange of this kind. During the exchange you can take a lot of things: the main thing to want take it. At first, I stopped afraid to speak English. For the last few years, I understand English very well and I can say something, but this fear always was – I’m saying it incorrectly. The exchange has deprived me of it almost completely, so now I am more calm in my speech, and just talk. I’m not afraid to make mistakes. In addition to a deeper understanding of the topic of “gender-based violence”, opened up for me another side – an independent training session. Why is it cool? Because immediately after acquiring knowledge, you can share them with others (as all know, it’s best way to remember), and even more, you do it in English. Definitely useful experience. And, of course, cultural exchange can not be forgotten. On TV / in the Internet, you see one picture, although in reality everything is completely different. Because I love the culture of other peoples, it was unrealistic for me to interact with other countries. Ask more about their culture and different thoughts in the country. Summing up, I will say that youth exchanges in Curaçao are not only fun or learning. This is the right combination of enjoyable and useful, which I am very grateful for Prostir Idej.

Yulia Volynska:

When i started to write a review in Russian and made some notes like «we talked about…», MS Word underlined the «gender» word as a mistake. Russian version of the program doesn’t know what is it… I think it had to submit an application for youth exchange «Stand Together» to fix that. For 10 days we had been talking about the gender-based violence, we tried to understand what gender is and then to explain it to a group of very active children. We edited fairy tales of different countries to make them gender sensitive, we saw terrible advertisements which distorted the image of women, and even felt ourselves like Cinderellas.

Anyway, youth exchange it’s not just a work, but also an entertainment. I was fortunate to meet extraordinary people, to learn their culture, to study a few bad words in Papiamento, Spain and Georgian Also, one of my dreams came truth – one day we were swimming with sea turtles!

Mykhailo Hromov:

Hello. My name is Mikhailо, two weeks ago, I flew from the youth exchange that took place on the island of Curaçao. This was my first such experience. Well, if briefly I liked it.

I met many interesting people from different countries. I seemed to have lived in a small, small room, and during this trip I seemed to fly immediately to open space. Many different discussions, games and discussions immerse me in a different life, I learned about problems that I did not even have to face. I learned about the culture of four amazing countries. All were very affectionate, sincere and kind. The island itself has conquered my heart, a picturesque nature, a wonderful city with colorful houses and beaches, life is raging. I’m a little ashamed, and even I danced on Kyurosoa. But the island is not perfect, and even there are problems, but they are not critical, I think that the islanders will decide on them and then it will definitely be the best place on earth.


Oles Ovcharenko:
Well, what can I say. Overall, I’m happy. Yep.

I think the rest part of my group already have written about the island itself, but it was not the most important thing.

So about the exchange. My expectations have not come true, but still I feel my development for the time that I spent there.

List all activities is boring, so yes, I will say in general.

The subject of the exchange was gender-based violence, but I did not notice much about it. We talked about sex issues, not gender, and, mostly in relation to women. I agree that there are substantially more cases of discrimination against women, but I do not consider it too right to forget about men’s problems. Therefore, it was necessary to remind that people do not trust the work with children for men, and that society also expects some kind of behavior from them, and condemns for non-compliance with these expectations.

And so, despite the fact that I did not receive such new information, this exchange has better put in my mind what the problems are in our world and how painful and sad it is. And it gave me a desire to change something.

Also, this exchange gave me confidence in my English, in my communication skills, and so on. Finally, I’ve been able to talk with people almost without pauses, I’ve learned the experience of writing a project.

Therefore, I feel that the exchange was useful to me.

Andrii Duletskyi:

About a week of intense work under the Caribbean sun, new acquaintances, ties, impressions and experiences, incidentally, this was my first youth exchange. During the first days I felt a little confused, but this feeling passed after dating with participants from other countries. The language barrier was not at all a barrier, but rather a far-fetched experience. During the training sessions, the time passed very quickly, it seems, just had breakfast, and it’s time to sum up the day, probably it speaks about the qualitative filling of these sessions. I realized that Ukraine has similar problems with other countries, sometimes not so serious, I think that by joint efforts, having heard the thoughts of people with other views, it is possible to find new ways of their solution. The project helped me overcome the language barrier and improve my understanding of English, but the Spaniards teached me their own language. Thanks to this exchange, it improved my teamwork skills and set my own teamwork priorities. Of course, I discovered a new place on the map of the world: a colorful, energetic and romantic Curaçao in his own way. Stand together gave me experience, the most valuable, as for me. Thanks!)

Yaroslava Larionova:

YE “STAND TOGETHER” is a youth exchange on gender-based violence that took place from March 25 to April 1, 2019 on the Caribbean island of Curacao. Participating countries were Ukraine, Georgia, Spain and Curacao. This is the first time I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in youth exchanges. How was it

At the project, we had a very rich program, the implementation of which had to provide for themselves. Thus, every day was devoted to a certain issue or problem that emerged from a general topic, and the organization of educational sessions was carried out by representatives of each country alternately. We, the Ukrainians, were given the opportunity to lead the second working day of exchange when it came to general concepts: violence, discrimination, gender, etc .; and how this topic relates to our lives, how acute it is in society and how it manifests itself in practice. On other days, we talked about probable ways to solve the problem of gender-based violence, their expediency and necessity.

In general, we spent 10 days on Curaçao. Working hours were arranged in such a way that it was possible and relaxed. Several sessions lasted until dinner, the first two evenings were devoted to the presentation of the culture of their countries, and we also had 2 completely free days. A similar action plan made it possible for us to explore the whole island and learn a lot of new things.

Following the results of the youth exchange, I can say that this trip has helped me to deepen knowledge about gender and gender policies, what is gender-based violence and its types, and also made us think about what we, ordinary citizens, can do for consolidation of the ideology of equality in society.

If I am asked if it is necessary to participate in youth exchanges, without thinking, I will answer that yes. By applying for participation in this project, I have not fully understood what exactly and how will happen. Now, I have a more well-formed vision of the methodology of youth exchanges and the purpose of their conduct.

I met a lot of new people and now I have friends in different parts of the world. And, oddly enough, he was able to understand his thoughts and determine the political views that made it difficult to do so. The fact is that during our stay in Curaçao, presidential elections took place in Ukraine. Being out of this info field in observer status, I was able to weigh everything and make the necessary conclusions for myself. You never know what knowledge you will get on the project))

So, Curaçao for me is an island of one million cacti, fearless iguanas, a blue sea and a strong spirit of people who want to develop their community. It is worth everyone to visit, who will get this opportunity, because it is a chance to see and feel a completely different way of life in a constant summer and a shining sun.

Cover photo by Andrii Duletskyi

Translation by participants and Khrystyna Krushelnytska



Liked it? Take a second to support alena on Patreon!

By alena

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

European Solidarity Corps    Eastern Europe & Caucasus Resource Centre    Громадські ініціативи України