Pairs & repères: field initiatives and final celebration

EPTO's Brussels-based pilot project "Pairs & repères" which brings together youth aged 15-22 around issues of social and cultural diversity and encourages them to launch their own citizen initiatives, has come to an end. Over the past months, the young participants initiated a number of field projects, becoming actors of change and multiplying the impact of their initial trainings. Three projects have taken place by now: an interconvictional evening about the role of youth in the interreligious and interconvictional dialogue in Brussels, with a remarkable debate followed by a buffet and a concert; a workshop on how to fight discrimination as a young citizen in Brussels; and an Intercultural Treasure Hunt on cultural diversity. Two projects are still ongoing: a video project aiming at organising an exchange between “Pairs & Repères” participants and a group of young people from Marseille; and a video project on young people's experience in the “IPPJ” (Belgian public institutions of youth protection). Another project by three friends who had planned a concert in their neighbourhood to fight prejudice against youth from their area and promote the hospitality of their neighbourhood, was unfortunately cancelled a week prior by the commune for security reasons. Despite the cancellation, citizens gathered on the date around a picnic and some music in solidarity with the youth.

On October 6th, participants, families and friends, EPTO's numerous local partners as well as citizens who got mobilised on the way gathered to celebrate the end of the project and the release of its film, listen to testimonies from the participants and engage in a debate about lessons to be learnt, as well as possible next steps, before mingling around an open buffet and partying into the night. All the people involved in this final event contributed to make it a success and a real moment of celebration.