The fourth Erasmus+ youth exchange of the Erhangja Association just ended on 13 May in Romania, where the main goal of the activities was to help the youth  discover the old crafts and turn them into a possible source of income.

The Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Union did support the that international youth exchange where 28 youth participated in a project entitled: Crafts of the Past, Crafts of the Future. The Greek, Hungarian, Lithuanian and Romanian participants got to know a new crafts on each day of the week, and they tried to find the motivations and opportunities to turn these crafts into a source of income. As a ’fountain of ideas’ they had their presentations about the national old crafts like making amber jewelry in Lithuania, the sponge fishing in Greece or the cart writhing in Hungary.

As it is used to be, the first days were spent getting to know each other, the place of the project, the program, and for all these the intercultural evening was a perfect ending. Oh no, sorry! It did end in ‘dancing with the stars’ in the courtyard! J On the second day the most part of the program was related to marketing. The program had an invited a guest from the Association of Romanian Enterprises, Tibor Posa, who presented what marketing is about. The first part was a very up-to-date PowerPoint, but later on the play part began. Tibor organized a great marketing game for the youth that made them understand the how and the importance of marketing.

On the third day the participants made the first steps towards the world of old crafts. The first station where they stopped was the honey-making profession. The little crowd of almost 30 people visited a young man who devoted himself to the bees, but besides the passionate side of the profession he also told about the harder days of it to draw a clear picture for his visitors. The next discovery was the art of woodcarving with the leading help of Mr. Ferenc Szabo. This was followed through the week by meeting Mrs. Ildiko Braun, who used to make soup pasta at home, and who kindly guided the boys how to knead the dough with their strong hands and showed the girls’ how is a nice and symmetrical soup pasta cut and rolled.

Ms. Emese Farago, a kindergarden teacher arrived from Oradea to show and teach with much patience the techniques of felting to the older age group than what she is used to. The order of workshops was closed together with Mrs. Iren Balajti, who taught the participants how to weave carpets or other smaller objects. During the whole weeks activities plenty of objects were made, like decorated wooden spoons, themed wood carvings, ribbon noodles for the Hungarian night’s main dish, pone cases made of wool by felting, and little weaven purses. One of the old crafts was resented outside Sacueni city since on Friday the whole project group had a visit in another village named Salacea. There they entered a traditional house of the region of which story was told by an amateur collector or traditional objects. After the visit was made in the tiny house, which was also full of handmade objects that were made by old craft methods, on the courtyard the youth had the opportunity to try chair weaving, or at least to see how is it done by the last person on the village who has the know-how of this old craft.

On the end of each day the participants organized a brainstorming on how to commercialize the objects that might be made from the respective crafts, or how to create those products in a contemporary way. Then the crowd was split into three groups who took their time to write their articles on the life on the craftsmen, on the crafts or profession that she/he is practicing, and about the possible ways of creating a source income from the respective craft. This is how the informative brochure was made, completely by the work, taste, accuracy and design of the people of the represented countries.

The presentation of this brochure was organized also by the youngsters on the last day of the project, on Sunday. The event was open for everyone, and it was more than just presenting and handing out brochures. Those who chose to spend their Sunday morning in the local museum with the participants got a little memory, made by woodcarving: it was a little self-adhesive wooden coin on which the flags of the participant countries became one at a point. The presentation was coloured by the dance and singing of the Lithuanian team, and by the beckoning dance of the Greek group.

There were two speeches too, for first Timea Aszalos, the president of the coordinator association expressed her joy over the fact that 30 completely stranger people became visibly a big family during one week. She was followed by the mayor of Sacueni city who highlighted for the audience that the Erhangja Association is realizing an outstanding international work in the field of youth considering the associations of the micro-region.

After the presentation show was finished the rest of the day was spent with the official and less official closing of the project, with the distribution of the Youthpasses and the weaving of future plans.

the organizers