Young people gather to overcome poverty!

From the 2nd to the 9th of September, 2012 more than twenty-five young people from various beliefs and from across Europe and further abroad gathered in Paris, France to discuss issues of social justice and how religious communities can contribute to increasing social justice in Europe. At the end of the training course, a Jubilee of the tenth anniversary of the cooperation between the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe and the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) was organised.

This event closed the training course “Acting Together to Overcome Poverty.” The participants were able to widen their knowledge of different aspects of poverty and social justice, while also acquiring practical tools and skills for further promoting the ideas discussed. The training course was organized by both EYCE and FEMYSO in cooperation with local representatives in Paris.

Several guest speakers contributed to the training course, sharing their knowledge and expertise on identifying and combating different kinds of poverty within Europe. They also provided information on related social challenges and the lack of human rights for certain social groups, using a variety of non-formal learning methods.

Catherine Mallet, Representative of Eurodiaconia, shared her own life experience advocating for social justice from a religious scope/point of view. Ms Mallet provided the participants with a deeper understanding of the European situation in times of economic crisis, analysing the new stakes and challenges our societies have to cope with, through the use of data.

Ms Danuta Wisniewska-Casals from the Department of the European Social Charter and European Code of Social Security gave a broad insight of the European situation regarding poverty and its stakes in terms of respecting basic Human Rights. The participants became aware of the current reality in Europe and importance of the situation and use that newly acquired knowledge to advocate for Human Rights for all people residing in Europe.

The final part of the programme provided the participants with knowledge and ideas they could use in their practical work through sessions on advocacy, motivation and empowerment, creative awareness campaigns and exchange of best practices and local experiences with youth groups.

Both, participants and the team also had the opportunity to put into action/implement what they have been learning on a more theoretical level by volunteering in various organisations in Paris, such as working in soup kitchens, within Roma communities and working with social workers. A part of that day provided an introduction to the social work of the city of Paris to decrease poverty through a small presentation in a soup kitchen, followed by a closing dinner.

The highlight of the week was the celebration of a Jubilee of cooperation between EYCE and FEMYSO. It was a time to look back on successful common projects achieved and the improvements they have led to, before planning the upcoming ones! That celebration gathered people who worked on different joint projects and provided an opportunity for them to discuss their experience and reaffirm the strong partnership between the two organisations. In addition, a panel discussion on the topic “The role of religious communities in tackling the rising youth poverty” with the participation from young people, as well as representatives from religious communities and politics.

The participants contributed actively to the process of the training course with their experiences and knowledge of the subject, and enriched the atmosphere of the event greatly with creative approaches to the activities.
EYCE would like to take this opportunity and warmly thank our local partners Khaoula Amouri and Ghofran Ounissi for their great support.

For more information on the training course or the work of EYCE, contact Kristine Jansone, EYCE General Secretary, on or +32 2 510 6171.