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Working and networking with Malteser Youth

Exchange, empowerment, experience, motivation, volunteer management, mentoring – these were the key words of the Malteser Youth Meeting, which was held in Budapest from 23-26 October.

Youth representatives have gathered from six participating countries (Albania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine) for the international meeting in the Hungarian capital. The central aim of the weekend was to develop youth work within the Order of Malta Relief Organisations in Central and Eastern Europe.

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© Marta Yaruchyk

On 23rd October two or three youth workers and coordinators arrived from each country to Budapest. The workshop was hosted in the central office of Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, where the international group of 15 people met each other on the first day. The conference started with an opening, where the organisers set out the goals for the next period, and listed the objectives and possible progress of the workshop. All the countries had to give a short summary about the positive results of the project on a local level. The first evening finished with a nice dinner in the downtown of Budapest.

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© Eitvydas Bin

The next day started with listing the expectations, contributions and fears about the workshop. After that the participants collected positive and negative examples experienced during working with young volunteers. The discussion revealed some of the common and some different problems in youth work in the various countries. Trying to find solutions and exchanging good practices was an important topic of the following days within the group, with the help of the trainers and mentors.

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Friday afternoon the central topic was to go through the different stages of volunteer management with getting to know theoretical knowledge and try the steps in practice at the same time. After discussing the process step by step, the Saturday morning sessions circulated around the competences and tools that could be used while working with volunteers. Following a short conflict management training, the last discussion’s goal was to introduce the motivations and benefits in youth work.

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After the workshop finished at the main office, on Friday and Saturday the group set out to discover the streets and the gastronomy of Budapest. During the sightseeing, they had the chance to visit Heroes Square and to take an evening stroll in the City Park and the Vajdahunyad Castle nearby.

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© Eitvydas Bin

The next day’s trip lead to Buda Castle, Mathias Church, Fisherman’s Bastille and then through the Chain Bridge to the Pest side, where they could walk along the main shopping street and see some of the main buildings from the Market Hall, through the universities to the National Museum. At the same time, youth coordinators from other countries had the chance to get an insight to the work of the Hungarian Malteser Organisation: they visited the youth office and a temporary shelter for families in the city.

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© Vaidas Tumėnas

On Sunday morning (before the departure) the conclusion of the workshop has taken place. The final session’s main part was about the next phases of the project, including the study visits in the participating countries and the next international workshop which will be hosted by Romania in January. It was also an important issue how to develop the mentoring system. Talking about the long term goals, the common will of the youth representatives seemed to be to strengthen the network of the participating countries, and to go on with the work in long term as well. The feedback of all youth workers seemed to vary around the central topic: the joy and experience of the weekend spent in Budapest and the importance of keeping the spirit alive.

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To close up, participants have all joined in the small chapel of the Hungarian central office for a prayer and with the task to set some new questions and goals in themselves how to continue with working on the youth field both nationally and internationally within Malteser organisations.

For the short video about the Malteser Youth Meeting click here.