Raising the voice of young people in Turkey

The 17-year-old girl Irem Abdurrazzakoglu opens our eyes to the urgent need for young people in Turkey to raise their voices and defend their ideas and opinions. The WYRED Project helps them to express their thoughts freely.

My  name  is İrem  Abdurrazzakoğlu. I am a student from Çamlıca Theological High School for  Girls  in Turkey.  I  am 17  years  old  and  I believe  that,  as a  young  person, I need  to express my thoughts.

The WYRED project is an umbrella  platform  for me,  on  which we  can work on creative projects,  express our ideas and take on responsibilities. We will be thrown into the ‘adult world’ sooner or later, so before this  happens  we should  improve  ourselves. I attended  the WYRED social dialogues and joined the community as a teenager to produce new ideas with other students. Today, young people are not given much space to  have a  say.  However, we  want  to change that.  With  projects  such  as  WYRED, which enables  us  to make  ourvoices  heard, we  are taking trainings for a society in which everyone freely shares ideas, respects ideas and is equal.

After the general elections in Turkey, I thought I  should revise  my  topic and  decide  to write about democracy. As  we  all know,  we  live in a  world  where democracy prevails. Every day, many regulations are made in order to make people’s life easier. Although the layout we live in looks nice  from  the outside,  does  it actually give us the  opportunity to express  our   thoughts freely? With the recent elections in our country, young people started to get more attention from the state. We started to follow the demonstrations organised  by the  party  leaders. With  these regulations, we are  told,  young people  will have  more rights  and  advantages. When will we  start  to express  ourselves  better as young people? It is obvious  that  each person  will  have their own  ideas. We all  want to tell  people about these ideas in the best possible way. As  a matter of fact, we are fighting a lot about our ideas. We all strive to defeat each other in the direction of our political ideals and ideologies. Sometimes we break each other’s hearts to justify our ideas. Sometimes adults try to impose their ideas on us and do not allow us to have our own thoughts. It is not well received for a right-wing father to have a left-wing  child. In such situations, we  simply keep our ideas to ourselves and remain silent. Sometimes we are not allowed to talk, they say we are too young to defend our ideas. We often hear that we do not know anything and  that’s why  we  cannot decide.

In  short, we  cannot have any idea, we cannot defend ourselves ideologically and we do not respect  the opinions of others.  But we can change it, we can learn to argue in a respectful way and prove that we have meaningful ideas. In addition to the above, young people cannot explain their own thoughts as much in school. One of  the main reasons for this is that students are not taken seriously by administrators. Students are hesitant to submit their ideas and suggestions in their schools, or they   cannot get  a   feedback. They face a sanction; they are subject to disciplinary threats or cannot receive a response. If  our own  ideas are not respected, our self-esteem as young people is damaged, we are forced to stay in silence and we are exposed to injustice. Some  changes  must be  made  so that  young people  in schools  do not face  such  situations. For   example,  a   school   council  should   be established  and  every  student should  be  able to express  complaints  and suggestions.  In  the elections held in school, every student must be eligible without any age and class restrictions. Students  should not  be  dismissed when  they comment  on a  situation. The administrators should  always  be open to students and  give importance  to their  ideas. Do not  forget  that we are  young  people, representatives  of  the future and our ideas are important.

 

Listen to the young people’s voice, please. We are trying to raise it.

 

Irem Abdurrazzakoglu

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WYRED Graffiti on a school wall in Israel

The Students of the “Hof Hasharon” regional school in Israel, part to the WYRED Project, expressed their frustration about the current education system, the high pressure and stress they feel.

“We feel that the the system does not really see us as individuals, and we are wasting time memorizing material that will not help us in the future…”, “We don’t want just to memorize and then to “throw up” the material”, thay said.

They decided to paint a Wyred Graffiti (painted on the school wall) to raise attention and awareness of the stressful situation that high school students experience.

Well done guys!

 

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WYRED for “Brave New You”

From 22nd of June to 2nd of July 2018, 60 young people from 11 countries met in Portugal thanks to the 37th YEU Convention. The occasion was “Brave New You – BNY” process, which was held in 2 different venues in Portugal. The process itself focused on tackling narratives and creating counter ones.

Young participants had the chance to go through WYRED project and the platform which they will use to realize their work online. The topics set during the process are various.

Some tackle Roma, LGBTQI+ communities and as set by the young people through the “Brave New You process” the results will be linked to Narratives online and what recommendations are there to make a more inclusive and diverse digital society.

Interesting enough, this process linked the two Cycles of WYRED, as the platform and process was presented by young people which applied their research during the first Cycle.

Ioanna and Giulia, previous participants, shared their interest to present the process, as they felt that these projects can really engage young people and actually have a higher impact, sharing ideas and feelings of young people”. Building up on their engagement and personal development, both of them will be engaged as facilitators of the online communities liked to “Brave New You.”

As participants departed from Portugal, the process will now move online, inside the WYRED platform. A set of Communities has already been created, bringing these young people from different European countries together. At this point, we are looking forward for their process to start and to use their research results to build a stronger youth-oriented dialogue with stakeholders.

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WYRED at the European Youth Event 2018

During January 2018, YEU together with partners took the decision to take part in European Youth Event (EYE) and use the opportunities that it offers. As Project coordinator, facilitator of WYRED projects and a young person myself, I need to say that the process itself was exciting and very emotional. It required coordination, collaboration and networking with partners, organizers of EYE, Members of the European Parliament etc. Thinking of all these processes, it is important to share this WYRED story and specifically the EYE_WYRED story.

Going backwards, in this period of 5 months, a lot have happened within WYRED and I was fortunate enough to be part of it. But the most important event for me was our participation in EYE. Why is it so important I hear you say? Attending an event that more than 8000 young people are present causes excitement, fills you up with energy and expectations. Expectations that WYRED did meet.

Being able to reflect and self-reflect, it is the moment that makes you feel that we are at the point that WYRED empowers and creates a bridge between young people, children and stakeholders. Taking a look back through the process of reaching stakeholders, speakers, finding participants to join YEU group, building the agenda of our activities and so on and so forth, shows me that all of it totally worth it.

Welcoming 7 young people at a place that European decision making takes place, shows that what WYRED does, can and will continue to have impact. Thanks to the support of YEU, USAL, MOVES and DOGA, these participants got to experience the opportunities we are here to offer. The opportunities that WYRED creates. The chance to engage and discuss with people who decide, with people who can affect our future. However, this time, a group of 11 people made the first step to push for change. A step that WYRED fostered. A step that I had a small part to contribute in.

I truly hope that these 7 young people and their teachers feel as excited as I felt that weekend. A weekend that marked me and will make me #keepgettingWYRED.

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Upcoming Closing Teacher Training Event in Florence (Italy), December 2018

The second and last teacher-training event (C2) of the SORAPS Project will also act as a workshop. Supported by tutors and researchers the teachers will evaluate the knowledge and skills acquired so far and present their experience in implementing the in-class activities to the other project teachers. Moreover, in this training event the teachers are prepared for the ensuing multiplication-training phase by showing them how to organise it and by giving them the necessary skills on training other teachers.

When: 17 – 21 December 2018

Duration: 5 Days

Where: Florence (Italy)

What: The teachers will evaluate the course as a whole, evaluate the knowledge and skills acquired so far, and be qualified to train other teachers during the ensuing multiplication-training phase

Who do what: The Partner Schools will provide two teachers each.

SORAPS Project Presentation at Lycée René Cassin Arpajon (France) in May 2018

The Institut européen en sciences des religions (IESR) of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) hold an informative session on SORAPS at the secondary school René Cassin in Aprajon to an audience consisting of local teachers from three different schools and members of local educational authorities. The session was divided into a theoretical introduction by IESR in the morning and a subsequent practical exploration by the participants in the afternoon.

In the morning session, the participants get an overview on the SORAPS project, its goals, the online training platform in general and its UNITS in particular. Furthermore, links to the previous project IERS (Intercultural Education through Religious Studies) were made. In the afternoon session, the participants discover the online learning environment of SORAPS and IERS. Afterwards there was enough time for discussion. There, it became on the one hand clear that IERS and SORAPS met with great approval, on the other hand especially issued by the involved teachers how hard it is to implement this kind of projects in the French laical educational environment.

SORAPS Project Presentation at the Roma Tre University

The Ca’ Foscari University of Venice was officially invited by the Department of Humanities to speak about SORAPS during the workshop “Methods and Tools for the interpretation of religious facts” at the Roma Tre University on May 15th. In addition to the speech by Giovanni Lapis, the coordinator of SORAPS, other exciting speeches by experts, stakeholders and activists were awaiting the participants. All united the goal of implementing the academic view on religions in the classroom. The participants, graduated students, were not only obviously interested, but also took the opportunity to consolidate the networks in the field of religious education in Italian public schools.

GENDER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES

Gender and gender identities are in the middle of the social dialogue like never before. In the digital era, people try to explore themselves in terms of gender, sexual orientation and identity. Social media had definitely played a major role in people’s everyday lives and cultural, social and personal expression and exploration. The debate on if the social media have enhanced the social dialogue on gender or if instead have created more space for hate speech and discrimination is yet from over. However, before proceeding in understanding the relation between gender identities and online media, the definitions and conceptual notions of the terms “gender” and “non-binary gender identity” need to be clarified.

Objectives: 
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BUILDING AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING AROUND GENDER AND GENDER IDENTITIES?
GENDER AND GENDER IDENTITIES ON MEDIA

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GENDER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES

Gender and gender identities are in the middle of the social dialogue like never before. In the digital era, people try to explore themselves in terms of gender, sexual orientation and identity. Social media had definitely played a major role in people’s everyday lives and cultural, social and personal expression and exploration. The debate on if the social media have enhanced the social dialogue on gender or if instead have created more space for hate speech and discrimination is yet from over. However, before proceeding in understanding the relation between gender identities and online media, the definitions and conceptual notions of the terms “gender” and “non-binary gender identity” need to be clarified.

Objectives: 
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BUILDING AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING AROUND GENDER AND GENDER IDENTITIES?
GENDER AND GENDER IDENTITIES ON MEDIA

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Social Media and Causes of Stress

Young people who use social media believe that they are an important part of their life. Mainly to facts that are linked to social interaction, catching up with local and international news, employment and entertainment.

Social Media could cover negative feelings, especially with some aggressive or judgmental comments and messages or even being bullied online, the young people interviewed believe that they know how to avoid hostile behavior online.

On the other hand, based on research and responses, the excessive use creates a great amount of stress to them. Social media makes it easy to gradually lose your initial purpose and go through all kinds of websites.

Objectives: 
Does Digital Identity lead to stressful behavior in real life?
What is the impact of SM on users life?

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