Welcome to the aftermath of “Breaking Trails, Breaking Barriers” in Telšiai, Lithuania, held from September 18-26, 2023. This transformative project successfully sparked dialogue and action on gender roles and biases among youth. Participants have now emerged with inspiring success stories, showcasing the tangible impact of breaking barriers for a more inclusive and equal society. Join us as we celebrate the outcomes of a journey that has already shaped a brighter future.
Have you ever wondered how many memories will a small town Telsai in Lithuania be able to withstand? Have you ever asked yourself how people from different corners of the world can meet and value each other culture and identity? As it happened, one day, 30 participants from 6 different countries (Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Spain, Moldova, and Georgia) gathered in one building and lived as a large family for <<Breaking Trails, Breaking Barriers >>. Even though we were from different cultural, academic, and national backgrounds, a successful story was made. From teenagers who were shy to express themselves to adults who were experienced and skilled, our team has it all! Despite the differences in age, experience, and cultural upbringing, we united our strengths and skills, demonstrating the effectiveness of teamwork in achieving common goals. It’s where the progress was made. Looking back, we can surely say it was a story of beautiful souls, special bonds, support, respect, endless love, and motivation. What made this story successful were people: people who taught and learned, inspired and cared, put effort into it, and made it possible. Gender Equality: this topic made us come together, discuss, explore, compare, and conclude. What we have figured out is that the issue of gender equality exists everywhere, no matter the culture and location; it’s just a matter of an extent. Throughout sessions, discussions, group works, and theatre plays, we have presented and tackled the main problems in that field, trying to address them most efficiently. However, we learned much more than that, discussing climate change, public speaking, rhetorical speech, nature discovery, etc. It’s worth mentioning cultural nights separately, where we shared and introduced our culture and traditions and learned about others as well. Being abroad and presenting your homeland is truly remarkable! Giving a piece of Armenia and being the bright example of what being Armenian means is an absolutely overwhelming feeling! Most importantly, we grew as a person, and that’s so impressive. Such a warm and safe environment was created, where every little step towards self-improvement was cherished. This journey showed us how to love ourselves and appreciate our efforts, how to make a mistake and accept it as a part of learning progress, and how to be down and disappointed and still believe that we will make it. If we were asked to describe the project in a word, we would certainly choose the support. We were a team where everyone felt responsible for others. We were all a part of a big change; we were all there for others. And it was beautiful. Yes, cultural diversity is beautiful! Being a motivation for others is a core! Spreading all your positive energy and making your people happy is impressive! What made our story special were the sessions led by the participants, the city tour under the rain, the volleyball tournaments in the breaks, the professional basketball match, everyone shouting <<Mazeikiai!>> and dancing Numa-Numa in the Arena, the energizers and team building games, the traditional Lithuanian dinner, Bachata and Salsa nights, the hike in the forest, our lovely bonfire night and the mind-blowing picturesque venue we were staying in. 18-26 October 2023: These are the life-changing dates. The project is over, but not the feelings, emotions, and sweet memories. What we promise ourselves is to keep the change and, particularly, be the change in our communities. Now, we all have pieces of others inside our hearts. And that is the constant! Even though the fleeting nature of time, the most beautiful moments last a lifetime. Now, we are more motivated than ever to create, encourage, and be self-confident and self-aware. It was a true blessing for us to be part of this transformative journey, and we are so grateful to those who made it possible!