This summer, the Federal Foreign Office and the German‑Polish Youth Office are supporting five joint exchange projects in Germany and Poland with children and young people from eastern Ukraine taking part. For about 60 young Ukrainians from Donetsk and surrounds, this means that they are able to escape the conflict in their home country for a few days.
In view of the crisis situation in Donbas in eastern Ukraine, the Federal Foreign Office and the German‑Polish Youth Office have organised more exchange projects for young people from the Donbas region at short notice this summer. The youth exchanges are focused on historical and social topics as well as cultural education, which the participants work on together in groups of peers from Germany, Poland and Ukraine.
The aim of the projects is to allow the young people to experience the ideas and values of a “united Europe” at first hand. Furthermore, the German‑Polish programme is intended to demonstrate the closeness of ties between the two countries 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.
Experiencing Europe together
For example, a group aged 16 to 22 from the three countries investigated the Valentin submarine factory in the Farge district of Bremen. The factory was a major National Socialist defence project that has now been transformed into a memorial site. Moreover, a number of former prison camps were located in the immediate proximity of the factory, which are to be excavated and incorporated into the memorial site. Under expert archaeological guidance, the young people started the excavations and drew up plans for the future design of the site together.
Another project in the Berlin area offered children and young people aged 12 to 16 years creative workshops with artists: thanks to their work with photography, video art, music, theatre and visual arts, the young people had the opportunity to learn the Polish language together. What is more, the participants were able to experience for themselves how close Germany and Poland have become since the fall of the Berlin Wall as a result of European integration: on a trip together by regional train from Germany to Poland, they were able to see for themselves just how easy it is to cross the border, something which has become part of many people’s everyday lives.
Growing up together
All of the Ukrainian young people’s costs are met by the Federal Foreign Office and the German‑Polish Youth Office. The young people are staying with German guest families. Another 15 German-Polish‑Ukrainian youth projects are scheduled before the end of this year.
You will find further information about these exchanges on the German-Polish Youth Office website.