#PJstories – Interview with Lucia Salgado

Lucia participated in the Youth Exchange Not in our name” in Marrakesh, Morocco

Hello Lucia! ¿Can you give us an overall opinion on the project Not in our name?

The project “Not in our name” was an unrepeatable experience. The project consisted in discussing issues of radicalization, extremism and peacebuilding with young people of six nationalities: France, Romania, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey.

We spent a week in a youth centre in Marrakech, developing all types of activities during these seven days. The days started with fun games helping us get some energy. Afterwards, we were doing so many different activities: from discussing issues of religion or gender equality, to role-playing games where we pretended to be extremist groups or an activity of exchanging objects on the street, in order to get to know the local community. In the afternoon, at the end of the activities, we used to get together to continue enjoying the experience of being together. Throughout the week we were able to share many ideas, and above all, we had a great time.

Of course, I cannot fail to mention the place where the project was held: the incredible city of Marrakech. We stayed in a youth centre of the Moroccan government that was in the modern part of the city. The centre was comfortable and modern, and the city, beautiful. We had some breaks where we could go out to investigate different parts of the city: the Jamal-Fna square, the souk, the gardens … An interesting project in a beautiful city. What more could you want?

How did the group affect your personal experience during this youth exchange?

Maybe in the end, the most enriching part of a project are the people you met. In my case, the group has been fundamental in making the experience an incredible experience. First, the Spanish group. Although I met them for the first time at the airport, we quickly made friendship and became a great travel group. And of course, I also met very interesting people from other nationalities. With the day passing, it was noticing how increased complicity among all. After an intense week “say goodbye” sometimes cost, but I am so happy to know that now I have more friends scattered around the world.

What is the most important thing you have learned during the project?

In particular, this project helped us to break stereotypes. In the end, due especially to the media, which foment fear and the connection of Islam with terrorism and conservatism, we have a distorted vision of reality. Nothing better to break stereotypes than to do a project like this. For example, I would never have thought that young people from Tunisia, Morocco or Turkey would be in favour of the adoption of children by LGTBI couples. I also liked a session in which each group had to explain the three most important conflicts in its country. How often do we have the opportunity to understand the experiences of other countries through the people who live them? If I can take something from this project, besides the people, it was the opportunity to be able to see the world through the others eyes.

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