After hosting Young Swedes last year for the RESPECT Exchange in London, our Partner organisation in Sweden (Kvinnors Natwerk) invited us to Sweden to take part in Human Rights Workshops, various outdoor activities and experience a typical Swedish summer near a lake and camp fire by night…with no shower…and one environmentally friendly toilet.
See how we got on in the blog created just for the exchange which the young people updated.
The beautiful setting of the Swedish suburbs made for a brilliant experience to build friendships and rekindle the relationships built last year. Every night the group gathered firewood and made a camp fire which we laughed and danced around until bedtime.The focus of this exchange was of Human Rights and we participated in workshops prepared by the young people and leaders a like. We learnt shared, discussed, agreed, disagreed, presented, debated all things human rights and the diverse group from both the UK and Sweden were able to share their personal experiences (over 12 nationalities were represented in the group of 20) and much like the previous exchange the topic of gender was a hot one.
The English group re-enacted Queens Market in Green Street and the woes of supporting England in football at the inter cultural night.
We visited a local youth media centre in Stockholm and found similar issue facing us as young people in Newham faced them too particularly around the rich-poor divide. They interviewed three of the loveLifers about free transportation for under 16s as this was something they were also keen to introduce.
We also visited Kvinnors Natwerk and heard from the amazing inspiration behind the organisation who told us the story of how the organisation came to being.
The group were also fortunate enough to go horse riding, bat watching, go scouting (make bread over a fire, pick blueberries) which was a first for many of us.
The final night had us reveal who are secret friend was for the week; dance and sing at the top of our voices ‘when I get older, I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom…’ and enjoy mouth watering blueberry pie.
Words and sentences are not enough to describe the spirit of the exchange but all of us, though sad to depart , have been gifted this time to learn and grow.
A big thank you to Sofia, Kvinnors Netwark and all the amazing young people involved.