In Destelheide, Belgium, a week-long training of Fruits of Activism was taken place from 12th to 17th of November. IYNF has implemented Flow of Activism, a series of the trainings and a work camp throughout this year: in March in Riga, Latvia, Patterns of Activism: in June in Pénestin, France, Structure of Activism: in August in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Zero to Hero, followed by this training, Fruits of Activism. Within the theme of activism, we, the participants of these activities, have shared our experiences of being an activist to encourage each other’s work and enhance our future activism.
We have reflected collectively what activism/being an activist meant for us in Riga. We have gathered again in Pénestin to brainstorm and create the projects embodying activism we have in our mind that we wish to manifest during Seeds of Activism, a time frame that was given to each project along with the funding for them to be manifested. Some of the participants who had been present in Flow of the Activism have joined in the work camp Zero to Hero in Srebrenica and contributed for the City of Hope movement in the period of Seeds of Activism. Others have planted “seeds of activism” in various locations in various fields. We all showed up to the International Conference on Youth Activism, 14th-15th of November, the main activity of Fruits of Activism.
The consistency and continuity which sustained in the method of the trainings throughout Flow of the Activism surely provided with familiarity and warmth to us. In a limited amount of time, we all had to prepare our presentations. For this specific reason many activities in this training turned out to be task-oriented works in groups. The venue, the cultural center of Destelheide, offered us work rooms with big windows looking out to the local forests, celebrating their presence by wearing various autumn colors. We were privileged to work in an environment that allowed us to forget our stresses from the intense works by looking out to nature surrounding us.
All the four members of our project, Sakura for Peace could participate in the training and for another time work together, having also two representatives from one of our partner organizations, Local Conference of Youth Italy (LCOY). Along with them, welcoming other familiar faces and the local activists to the venue for the conference, we were slowly getting excited to present our project daily. It was a nice course of activities to experiment, especially witnessing and experiencing the improvement of the performance of other presentations and our own, I felt as if we brought the concepts such as “the practices improve!” or “feedbacks are important!” from the old clichés box back to a activists’ toolbox. We were encouraged when we received the structural critics and embracing applause by the audience after having finished our presentation.
I wish to express my sincerest gratitude first to the IYNF team for making Flow of Activism happen; to dear trainers for thoroughly orienting us throughout this year; and to all the participants of Flow of Activism for contributing their bests for the flow. Without them, Sakura for Peace among other projects would not have been possible.
Finally, on behalf of Sakura for Peace, I wish to take this opportunity to further thank everybody who provided us with sponsorships, collaborations and, other logistical support and thereby became a part of the larger mission.