(pictures thanks to YODA members at the workshops)
Youth Organizations for Drug Action (YODA) organized the third workshop this year in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, from May 11 to May 14.
The practical part of the workshop consisted of international group exercises. The first group of exercises was directed to solving the given problems of case studies of different groups of youth at risk (eg young drug users, young homeless people, young trans persons ). During the consideration of cases, they compared the laws and opportunities that exist in different countries and tried to solve the problem. On the second day of the workshop, the main focus of group work was on addressing the problem of violating the human rights of youth at risk. The representative of each participating country summarized the main instances of human rights violations that are most common in their communities. After that, in international groups, we mapped and considered cases of human rights violations in the given cases, compared which organizations and state institutions we could include and try to find the best solution for them in ideal situations.
In addition to practical group work, we had a visit to the NGO Juventas, the host organization of this workshop. We visited their drop in centre for drug users and sex workers and got acquainted with the way this NGO works. Within this organization there is a drop in centre for the LGBT population that we also visited. Both drop-in centres have psycho-social assistance services, condom distribution and sterile injection equipment for its users as well as field work twicea week. In addition to the drop-in visit, we visited abandoned wagons and barracks near the railway station where injecting drug users stay, but also the coast of the Ribnica River, where young people often spend time in the summer and night
Vladana Stepanović, Re Generation. Serbia “In addition to exchanging experiences and getting to know the laws and possibilities of helping young people at risk in different countries, it is also important to network participants’ organizations. I think that our country can learn a great deal from other countries that are working far more heavily on harm reduction programs. What is necessary is for Belgrade to open at least one drop in the center to begin to reach the injecting drug users, and then gradually to expand the network. In addition, prevention and work to reduce damage to recreational drug users is of great importance, and large organizations that make electronic music events should be more aware of this and incorporate Regeneracy into work, as is the case with organizations in Belgium.”
Teodora Jovanović, Re Generation Serbia “At this YODA workshop, we exchanged knowledge and possible solutions with young people dealing with drug users and sensitive groups in different parts of Europe. Re Generation is pleased to be part of the YODA European Network and can improve its programs thanks to such proactive travel. After the workshop we headed to the seashore in Kotor, where we continued to socialize, although not in full composition from the workshop. In Kotor, it was especially interesting to have a shared hiking and picnic, as a team bulding among the participants”
Stefan Pejić, Re Generation, Serbia “It was very important to listen to the various problems that are encountered in the countries whose representatives are they were at training, but also different approaches to solving problems that we share in common. The example of Podgorica shows that it is possible to have very successful needle replacement programs in the region, yes they are primarily necessary in order to improve public health, as well as health and education of themselves users.”
Kristina Boydova, Prima, Slovakia “I am very grateful for my first YODA workshop in Podgorica as it was a great and useful experience for me. I got to meet a lot of inspirational young people that work in harm reduction, we shared our experiences and talked about differences in each country and good practice. The theme of the workshop was ethics and human rights in regards to working with young homeless people who use drugs. My favourite part of the workshop was the site visit to Juventas Drop In Centre in Podgorica. They work mostly with sex workers and people who inject drugs and I feel they are providing a quality service. Overall I can say that I came back from this workshop very motivated to improve services for our clients and bring some of this good practice to the organisation I work for.
Thank you YODA and thank you Juventas! It was amazing!”
Lenka Žilková, Prima, Slovakia “Every time I head into the unknown, I am apprehensive about what lays ahead. It was no different this time, except that all my fears melted away right from the start, thanks to the relaxed atmosphere and friendly people. This year’s YODA workshop enriched me not only in an educational and vocational sense, but also personally as I found many fantastic people there. I hope the end of the workshop does not mean the end of contact with them. Thank you!”
This project was funded by the European Commission funds under the Erasmus+ programme. This post reflects the position of its authors only, and European Commission or Erasmus+ National Agency are not responsible for its contents.