Hello, Cyprus calling! Interview with Eleni Michail
Hi, Eleni could you please talk a bit about yourself?
Hello! Talking about me is not something I tend to do! But this is a special occasion! I am a project coordinator in YEU since last February and I am based in Cyprus. I really enjoy my job! As we often say in YEU, “Our lives are never boring in youth work”!
How and why did you get engaged with youth work?
It all started when I went to Erasmus. At that time, it was not in youth work, but this experience was so strong that basically changed my life. Fascinated by intercultural learning, I started looking for other experiences to expand my horizons. This is when I found YEU Cyprus and started participating in different youth projects on local and international level. In the last couple of years, I found myself having two hats on my head. I was at the same time primary school teacher and youth worker! It was impossible to continue doing both of them and a decision needed to be taken. Obviously youth work won! And I have to admit that I haven’t regretted it at all!
What motivates you to keep being a part of the magic world of youth work?
I think here you said the right word “magic”. That is what motivates me to keep being part of youth work. There is a certain magic in youth work which you feel only when you are involved in it. I felt this magic the first time I participated in a youth project. The methods used, the people and the context create new perspectives in learning and self-development. Now, as a youth worker that feeling is even stronger. In my projects I see people learning, growing and changing. This is how we create the world we want to have.
How did you get involved in YEU International?
I started being involved in YEU International as soon as I became a member of YEU Cyprus. At the beginning I was participant in different YEU projects. After I was elected for YEU Cyprus’ Governing Board my involvement grew bigger. At the same time, I had the chance to be a facilitator in different YEU projects and then became also a member of the PET. After the crucial decision to decide youth work as my profession, I applied to be a project coordinator in YEU and here I am now!
In your opinion, what makes the YEU network attractive and unique?
There are different elements that make YEU network attractive and unique. Here I will focus only on one of them which I think is very important. YEU is an organization open, inclusive and accessible by every youth. YEU doesn’t target a particular group of youth and doesn’t focus on a particular topic. That makes the network wide open to ALL young people, no matter where they come from, their educational background, socio-economic status, abilities or political opinions. That also makes the network wide open to ANY topic, from social inclusion, to environmental sustainability. The network can track, comprehend and address the needs of all and every youth. Based on that, member organizations, governing board and administrative staff operate from a point of understanding and caring about youth and the society in general. That is what makes YEU unique!
Could you please tell us a bit about the project you are involved now?
This question couldn’t be more relevant! Actually, I am answering this question on the way to my next project! I am at the moment traveling to Istanbul for the project “GREEN LEADERS – active youth participation vs. global, environmental and climate change”. This is a long-term project which involves partners from Portugal, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain. Its aim is to gather experience, information and knowledge on sustainability from different stakeholders such as local NGOs, local municipalities and institutions, regional authorities and international organizations. The project involves different activities in different countries. For example, in Istanbul, TOG will host two activities; the training course “Sustainability- Advanced level” and the “Partnership Building Activity”. During these two activities, we intent to create an online tool which will raise information about the topic (especially to not-organized youth), develop personal and group plans for action, create a support network and develop a strategy to multiply the outcomes of the project.
What are your future plans?
I don’t really have long-term future plans. I just know that I like what I am doing and I would like to continue working in this field and develop my competences! J
Thank you very much!