In a challenging world, the mental health of young people is paramount. The educational project “KEEP DREAMING,” coordinated by InterMediaKT, contributed to the impact of youth participation in well-being. Hosted by the Skopje Volunteer Center and organized by the PlanB Educational Social Foundation (Spain) and Idee in Movimento (Italy), it showcased the power of new voices.
Youth participation is the catalyst for change. Participants openly discussed their hopes, fears, and aspirations, promoting unity and understanding. Youth participation is the engine for positive change, empowering tomorrow with education as a central theme, focusing on innovative, inclusive approaches that empower youth. The adaptation of education to the evolving needs of the new generation is vital for mental well-being. By prioritizing mental health, the program equipped participants with tools to enhance mental health and create positive change in their communities.
The participants from Greece shared their experiences:
In October 2023, I participated in a training course on Mental Health. The program was held in the beautiful city of Struga (North Macedonia) next to Lake Ohrid and lasted for 6 days. The topics we focused on included the inclusion and participation of young people, the benefits and barriers that exist, the importance of mental health, the different types of stress, and ways to deal with it. Through presentations, role-plays, poster design, discussions, and even silent discussions, we deepened the topic and bonded more as a team. We also had the opportunity to visit the city of Ohrid and explore it. It was an unforgettable experience, and we thank you for giving us the opportunity to participate in this program.
It was a unique experience for me, and I had a great time meeting people from different countries with different cultures. I learned to be a good listener, to get in touch with myself, and to express my feelings in a creative way through non-formal education activities. I participated in group projects with different topics related to mental health, such as stress, as well as physical exercises for relaxation. We exchanged views on stress and what we do in our daily lives to reduce it. Through activities, we learned to observe ourselves better and react to different situations of anxiety, fear, and trust. I’m learning how to work with different people. I introduced myself through a painting activity, mentioning the strongest point in my personality. I realized that change within us happens faster and more effectively only when we work together towards a common goal.
This project took me by surprise, as I was selected to participate just a week ago – big thanks to the participant who canceled! – and I’m glad I did! As it turns out, our neighboring country—North Macedonia—is so close and yet so far away, so we had a long first day on the road, but the place was really worth it, as we could see, hear, and feel Lake Ohrid at any time. From the first night, we had a great atmosphere as a team, which really helped create a safe space as the days that followed were intense – ultimately, our theme was mental health and youth involvement, so we were all quite involved. During these 5 days, we explored the city of Struga through a city game, learned about youth participation and what it means for each of us, tried to understand stress and ways to deal with it, played roles, and each activity we did added a little bit to what was discussed. The best part is that all these activities really piqued our interest, and we had the opportunity to exchange views and good practices even outside the sessions. I really enjoyed talking to all the people I met in this project, as well as visiting Ohrid like a local (with a local), learning about other cultures and surprising the girl who had a birthday during the project while singing the birthday song in English, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and North Macedonian! Until we meet again… then!