”Digital Storytelling for Youth Inclusion” TC

The art of storytelling has been an important part of social interactions since the very birth of humanity. However, nowadays we are being exposed to constant flood of news and data, we tend to forget how important and meaningful is to share our personal experience with others. The digital storytelling is a concept that combines two crucial aspects – the power of creating personal narratives and our modern need to “go digital”.

Due to a strong partnership, APLIC Association was partner once again for ICRLD Association in the ”Digital Storytelling for Youth Inclusion” project.

3This training course aimed at bringing European youth workers together and teach them what digital storytelling is and how they can use it as a tool for working with young people at risk of social exclusion. During the project the participants gone through an intensive set of workshops giving them a chance to learn how to create their own digitalized stories. We believe that learning by doing provides a deeper understanding of the method and therefore serves as an inspiration for creating similar projects in participants own communities.

Developing p1rojects that are based on new methods and approaches seems to be especially important for those youth workers who are dealing with difficult social issues, as they very often lack proper and effective tools to address their beneficiaries. Digital storytelling is a very inclusive method that can be used in various contexts and therefore we think the skills and knowledge gained during this training course help our participants to create a new quality in their everyday work with young people.

AGHVERAN – A lasting memory

If I had to choose to do one single thing for the rest of my life, I would choose travelling, without any doubts. One day, I read a quote, which said “Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Now, after some experiences, I’ve realized how meaningful that quote was.

From 4th to 13th December, I participated in the Digital Storytelling Training Course for Youth Inclusion supported by Erasmus+, which took place in Aghveran, Armenia. And yes, after this amazing experience I feel richer, because of all the things I have learned and all of the memories I had.

Like in any other situations, at the beginning I felt a little insecure, because I didn’t know exactly what should I expect, but I hoped for the best. And indeed, the best happened.

From the very first moment I was captured by the landscape, and the amazing road from Tbilisi to Aghveran, where everything was going to happen. The place where the Training took place was a resort, somehow isolated in the mountains, but only one hour from the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. The fact that this place was quite far from the urban crowds, gave us the chance to relieve, and to forget our daily problems. We created our own space there, and this resort soon started to feel like it’s our second home. But it wasn’t only because of the hospitability of the place that made me feel so good and welcome, but also the people I’ve met there.

I liked the diversity of the group, and the kindness of the people which I could feel from the first day. We all put the selfishness aside, and we helped each other, from every little thing to the most important group activities. I enjoyed the time we spent together during the Training, and one of the things I appreciate the most was that I couldn’t feel that there were some age differences, because we all behaved like we are at the same level, but with different experiences.

Everything was well-organized, so that we could took part in the training process with constant interest. We found out a lot of things about other countries’ realities and traditions, and also the trip to Yerevan made us feel closer to the country where we spent our time. We created our own moments of fun, which we will maybe remember this for the rest of our life.

A smile from a stranger can make your day better, but a lot of honest smiles, looks, and discussions can make you change in a good way for the rest of your life. I feel that the connections I’ve created with the people taking part into this training helped me not only to discover myself, but also to discover new things about the world we live in. This surely made me feel more self-confident, and it also brought me little amounts of joy, which, recollected, means a lot.

For me, one of the saddest thing is the passing of the time. But also time brings me a lot of happiness, because through it, we build memories, which never die. I am happy that I had the chance to spent my time in a wisely way, by participating at this Training. We are never sure what it is going to happen in the future, but there is still one thing that we can always be sure of: our past. Looking behind me and reminding the places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, a smile outlines my face, because back then I was happy, and this memory makes me happy now, too. And if maybe in my future I will forget some details or some memories, they will already be part of me, and of the personality I’ve developed and the person I’ve become.

                               Bianca Iancu, 18 years old, participant of the Digital Storytelling Training Course for Youth Inclusion, Aghveran, Armenia, 2015