This year, the project team faced a number of challenges which also turned out to be opportunities. We moved from a partnership format to close team collaboration. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to implement a joint online training program. Apart from perseverance, successful teamwork also required the ability to remotely empathise with others, to handle crisis situations in a constructive way, to avoid hurting, the ability to take responsibility and help others, to forgive and try to understand in order to create an integral space for cooperation. Therefore, trust has become a key value in this activity for me.
Trust is within the team while its members are physically in different cities and countries. Thereby, everyone does their part to achieve a common goal. You involve certain interpreters, translators, and experts in the project as you trust their professionalism and responsibility. You establish relationships with participants and you trust they will join to participate in each subsequent session, they will read your letter, do their homework, reply to you in messengers or the slack group, and will finally reach the end of the program and stay friends. If there had been a lack of trust at least at one of the mentioned stages, it would have negatively affected the whole process, because the ability to trust and communicate takes priority while online.
The second value that I find to be important in this project is fearlessness. I am referring to the one based on trust. What is meant here is overcoming the fear of doing something for the first time. It was our first experience of going online with an international youth project, using a variety of applications and methods, as well as the first experience of using online tools for our participants. We went through it together, so the fear gradually abated and the barriers faded away. Each session brought more and more confidence, understanding, and interest in the Other.
Finally, another manifested value in this project for me was serving. By serving I mean, first of all, the fact that some participants even after the completion of the project wrote and offered their help, and eagerly responded to any request. Serving despite barriers between people of different nationalities sharing an uneasy historical past is possible only through forgiveness, healing, and understanding, all manifested in dialogue. Hence, even if serving has been demonstrated by several participants from different countries, it is fair to say that an international dialogue has taken place. And what a joy when understanding and insights arise upon the ashes of myths and stereotypes!
Our traumatic past resonates both within us and in our relationships with our neighbours and friends. The project gave me the chance to deeply explore these three values we share and build up relationships based on them. For me, this project is about faith in people and the belief that we can build a common future. Once seeing the result, you realize that the hard part is over and you are ready again to set off on a new journey.