Villagers are Masters

Erasmus+ youth exchange “Villagers are Masters” took place in Turkey on May 20-28, 2019. The mobility gathered 30 youth participants and 6 team leaders from rural and urban areas. The main aim of the project was to to change the approach and opinion about people from countryside, minimize negative stereotypes towards them and reduce the ensuing social exclusion.

The inspiration for the Project

There are numerous challenges that European societies are facing. One of the sensitive problems that is widely seen across the EU (however, often wrongly-considered as not acute) is social exclusion of villagers in urban areas. This results in young people from villages starting studies in universities and moving to cities facing discrimination, negative stereotypes and, hence, less opportunities. This was just proven by an email survey carried out through the network of our partner organisations in August, 2017. In short, it has confirmed that people from rural areas are seen as less educated and are less likely to make friends/contacts (Lithuania, Czech Republic, Greece), or even sometimes downright consider as second-class citizens (Romania, Turkey, Italy).

Objectives of the Project

  • to raise youth’s awareness of social exclusion that people from the villages are facing in urban areas, as well as to provide them with specific tools and support to fight that;
  • to identify the most common stereotypes towards people whose place of origin is countryside, and find ways to tackle that;
  • to spread tolerance, strengthen equality and combat marginalisation;
  • to increase cooperation between village and city youth in order to create opportunities for joint work and social initiatives.
  • to help the participants increase their social responsibility;
  • to involve the youth in discussions and decision making in an international environment;
  • to keep the youth active;
  • to enhance their social skills and multilingualism.

Project’s Participants

These are our participants slogans from the project “Villagers are Masters” carried out by Countryside Youth & European Integration Group on 20-28 May in Erdemli, Turkey. There are numerous challenges that European societies are facing. One of the sensitive problems that are widely seen across the EU (however, often wrongly-considered as not acute) is a social exclusion of villagers in urban areas. This results in young people from villages starting studies in universities and moving to cities facing discrimination, negative stereotypes and, hence, fewer opportunities. In order to tackle this, youth from Turkey, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, Greece and the Czech Republic have united for this project.

Project’s Activities

  • Village Cafe informal group discussions on the topic. Their presentation afterwards; poster making;
  •  Creating workshops on the topic (in teams participants created different workshops for everyone);
  • Field and online research – interviewing / surveying people on stereotypes about villages. Informing how to overcome those. Analysing the results afterwards;
  • Farmers in Europe: Myths about villagers – helped to learn about the topic in an interesting way;
  • Watching movies and other videos about social inclusion & urbanization;
  • Songwriting Competition: Farming is charming – let participants to think about project topic in a creative way;
  • Funds for development of rural enterprises;
  • Video shooting in teams – creation of videos presenting the ideas and problems discussed in the project;
  • Visiting Beyaz Kule school in Mersin. There participants had an interactive workshop with students about rural vs. urban life and presented what is Erasmus+ programme.
Songwriting Competition: Farming is charming – let the participants to think about project topic in a creative way
Video shooting in teams – creation of videos presenting the ideas and problems discussed in the project

Project’s Success

Project “Villagers are Masters” proved to be a success. This mobility promoted a new attitude towards social exclusion of people from the countryside. Youth understood what stereotypes about villagers are there around Europe, what impact of those stereotypes is for the receiving party and how such stereotypes influence society in general. What is more, youth were better comprehend the importance of tolerance and equality in the society. The participants also learned the practical ways how to change the city-dwellers perception towards people from rural areas, and how this knowledge could be used in youth communities and youth organisations.

Youth also learned a number of general skills. Such as how to express themselves in an international environment. Without doubt, multilingualism was fostered. Of course, as participants had learned about social problems in rural areas around Europe, the reasons behind it and the ways to tackle it – they became more socially aware themselves. Lastly, the participants learned how to self-reflect on the things learned throughout the activities, because this (reflections) were practiced each day.

Project’s material:

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