Let’s Cooperate: A way for an Inclusive and Sustainable International Cooperation was an event financed by the Erasmus + Program of the European Union, and organized by Centro Orientamento Educativo with Yes to Sustainability. For a period of 10 days, this youth exchange took place in the beautiful eco-community of Orosia, located in Bollengo, province of Turin. Participants aged between 18 and 30 from the Netherlands, Spain and Italy lived together and gained new knowledge and experience, as well as new friendships and personal growth.
Different topics were discussed each day, which were accompanied by activities to further internalize them. On the first day, the main theme of the event, Inclusive and Sustainable International Cooperation, was introduced. Icebreakers and sharing circles helped start the bond between the participants, in order to later take part in the guided tour of Orosia. In the afternoon, Marinella Bacchio and Simona Compagni introduced the topic, Alma de Colores and their experience in Guatemala working in the field. In addition, we had a live communication with Valentina Vargas, who introduced “Mujeres Capaces de Soñar a Colores”, an NGO located in Guatemala.
Among the activities the participants enjoyed the most, we can find the conscious and sustainable eating activity, where groups were formed in order to identify wild and spontaneous plants in the environment. To give us further information about wild edible plants, we went live with Maria Pia Macchi, expert in the field. That same night, “Il Vino del Sorriso”, a local NGO that works with people with disabilities joined us and presented their project. What better way to finish the night than to try their delicious wine!
As the days went by, we can mention some of the highlights of the event. We had the honor of welcoming Patrizia Sacca, an Italian Paralympic table tennis player, with whom we practiced inclusive yoga and learned more about her book “Free Ray Yoga”. While talking about human rights, we defined what violence is with Roberto Maoret, an Alma de Colores volunteer. Finally, the participants learned how to produce natural cosmetics, such as soap and toothpaste.
Furthermore, everyday, three different groups were divided to help with cooking in the kitchen and making handmade bread, cleaning and tidying the common spaces, and also with the green pruning of the Orosia vineyard guided by Armando, the expert winegrower of the community for many years.
For the last three nights, the participants from each country cooked traditional food from their countries. The menu ranged from Spanish croquetas, Italian vegetarian lasagna, to Dutch Stroopwafel. On their day off, the participants went to the lake after a walk immersed in nature. Those ten days immersed in Orosia, under the 120 year-old magnolia tree connected each one of us together, as well as connected us with ourselves, making us more conscious about our environment and teaching us more about sustainable and inclusive international cooperation.