In the period from 01.06.2020. until 31.05.2021. Cultural Association “Alternative Reality” implemented the project “Mandarine Land: Support and Inclusion”. This was a Job project in the frame of European Solidarity Corpse that provided work experience opportunities for youngsters with fewer opportunities to implement socially significant projects.
During this period, project participants carried out regular work in the association, related to the implementation of projects organized by the association:
• organization and management of the summer camp organized by the project “Mandarin Land”
• organization and management of inclusive events, preparation, publicity and administration of the property
• organization and management of Christmas events for children from vulnerable groups, preparation, publicity and administration of the property and premises
• organization of the cultural project “Count of May 2020” Riga, summer 2021, – organization and management, preparation, publicity and administration of the property
In order to achieve visible results of their work and not to be affraid of big scale projects, the project participants were given the opportunity to prepare the premises of a new creative center for the planned autumn-winter and Christmas events, together with the board of the association to coordinate and perform the planning and design of the premises, adaptation to the needs of the planned events.
• The project participants, together with the members and mentors of the association, performed various creative and administrative tasks within the project implementation, which facilitated the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, as well as raising the level of initiative and responsibility.

During the project participants learned
• to work in a team
• to value their own and others’ time
• to learn to cooperate with representatives of different professions, nationalities, cultures
• to learn to solve operational issues independently
• to learn to see the “big picture”
• become not only an “executor” but also an initiator and coordinator of activities
• take responsibility for their decisions and actions, reflect on them
• analyze their benefits and learning outcomes
• understand the principles of implementing various activities and projects
• overcome their fears of public speaking or communicating with strangers
• turn conflicts to communication and problem solving
• not afraid to get out from the comfort zone
• learn many new technical and digital tools
• pay attention to environmentally friendly habits and evaluate their own habits
We think that participation in project activities helped project participants to develop both social, personal and professional competencies, entrepreneurship, learning to learn, civic skills.
It is important to note that this is a very emotional project, with participants often changing their attitudes towards charitable projects and socially significant projects, especially with the participation of children from vulnerable groups. It gives participants both a deeper understanding of the problems of children’s exclusion and a sense of responsibility for the impact they can personally make on their actions.
There has also been a significant positive change in their attitudes towards children from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially orphanage students.
Participating in project activities also increases participants’ self-esteem, which is an integral part of every person’s existence. It is only by feeling that the persons is needed, demanded, that one feels his meaning, a person feels happy and fulfilled. The project is a process of social cohesion at the same time as addressing social issues.
We are really proud of our participants and after the end of this project we will be happy to keep in touch, support participants and offer them other opportunities for self-development and growth.

Project “Mandarine Land: support and inclusion” was funded by the European Commission Solidarity Corps, administered by the Agency for International Programs for Youth in Latvia. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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