REDI was a partner on a youth exchange ”Be the Change” funded by the Erasmus Plus Program of the European Commission. The project was implemented in the period from 25.10.2019 to 3.11.2019 in Bulgarian village Veliko Trnovo. The leading applicant was Bulgarian Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, and within REDI, its three organization were participating as partners on the project: REDI Serbia ( Inicijativa za razvoj preduzetništva), REDI North Macedonia (Zdruzenie Iniciativa za Ekonomski Razvoi na Romite- REDI), and REDI Romania (Asociatia Roma Entrepreneurship Development). Next to REDI, other partner organisations were Kham vzw – Belgium, Centrum Spolecneho Zajmu – Czechia, Diverse Youth Network – Hungary, Balkan Youth Activism – Albania.
The main topics of the youth exchange were “Entrepreneurship in Roma communities”, “Possibilities for funding a business plan”, “Promotion and selling”, and “Creating and presenting a business plan”. The aim of the project was to develop the entrepreneurship spirit among young Roma and non-Roma people from rural and remote areas. In details, 48 young people from Bulgaria, Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Belgium, Czechia, Hungary, and Albania became acquainted with the concept of entrepreneurship, developing a business idea, starting up a business, and they also shared their own experiences and knowledge on what works best for setting up the business and becoming an entrepreneur in Roma communities. During the first two days, participants passed through the process of getting to know each other through several interactive games. The next days were dedicated to various activities.
During the training, young people met Mrs. Sashka Alexandrova from the local newspaper “Borba”. Here participants actively discussed the importance of contacting local media for their business.
Participants worked in groups and took part in a contest for the “Best business idea”. This was the opportunity to show in practice what they learned during the exchange. A jury composed of the group leaders decided that the two winning ideas were: Roma Restaurant idea and Roma School idea. Activities also included designing a guide for Roma entrepreneurs.
During the week participants had the chance to meet with Slavcho Angelov- Roma entrepreneur knife maker and to discuss with him about his experience in running a business.
During the week young people also organized cultural evenings where they could present their countries. Besides that, specific nights were dedicated to Halloween and the Roma people, as last cultural evenings were dedicated to Roma people from all over Europe.
At the end of the youth exchange, all participants received Youth Pass certificates.