Elke zomer trekken we met een grote groep vrijwilligers naar het buitenland om er in een tijdsspanne van twee weken een verlaten gebouw of openbare ruimte te activeren. Dit niet alleen met onze eigen vrijwilligers, maar samen met gemotiveerde buurtbewoners en vaak in samenwerking met lokale organisaties.
Five years ago, we, the volunteers and staff of Toestand, an NGO specialized in reappropriating abandoned buildings, started making a yearly international trip. Every year since then, we have visited a different city in Europe to build a socio-cultural space for local youngsters. These projects last about 2 weeks, after which the space is fully taken over by the local youth. Over the past years, our projects have taken place in Kremenchuk (Ukraine), Prishtina (Kosovo), Granada (Spain), Tetovo (Macedonia) & Tirana (Albania). Each year, the group of the international trip has grown and people from the preceding projects have joined the next project. This year, the project is a joint effort from Toestand (Belgium),Termokiss (Kosovo), the Socio Cultural Space Tetova (North Macedonia), Tirana Social Centre (Albania), Crvena (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and local youngsters of Sarajevo.
From the birth of the idea to its completion, our international projects are a matter of inclusive, solid, and longterm partnerships: Toestand emphasizes inclusion of the local population so that all partners can shape the socio-cultural space to meet the local needs. Yet, before the first hammer strike and before letting youngsters use these new spaces, we need to jointly build transparent and collective good practices with all stakeholders and potential private owners.
Every year multiple individuals ask to join the project. People from Swiss, Spain, France, Austria, Germany, etc join out of love for the project and because they want to contribute personally. They organize themselves (funding, transport, etc).