Let’s Take Care of the Planet !

Day 1 (21 May):

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After a most enjoyable flight our eight young people travelled by metro to Lisbon and then caught the train to Oeiras, arriving at 3.30 in the afternoon. They just about had time to leave their luggage at reception before being whisked off by bus to Cascais, European Youth Capital for 2018, for the opening ceremony.

After a few words of welcome by the organisers, Monde Pluriel and the Portuguese NGO ASPEA, the students listened to a speech by the Mayor of Cascais and the Portuguese Secretary of State for Education. They then participated in a ‘debate’ with five members of the European parliament.


Dinner was served in a restaurant in the centre of Cascais, consisting of a buffet and shared plates of specialities brought by each deputation, providing an opportunity for our young people to discover exotic foodstuffs!



Back at the Cultural Centre in Cascais, the students then delivered a cultural presentation about France (carefully coached by Perrine), with the added stress of being the first to go, before listening to highly original talks by the other delegations.

The young people returned late, found their rooms and showers and enjoyed a most well earned rest! 










Day 2 (22 May):


After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, it was time for the first workshops. The students were separated into small groups for a rotating presentation about all the projects being carried out in the different countries, explaining their own project and then hearing about the other people’s projects in turn. This discussion time gave our young people an opportunity to make direct contact with the members of the other delegations. During these sessions, they were supervised by a team of dynamic voluntary ‘facilitators’ from every country in Europe. The final morning session was devoted to making preparations for meeting Portuguese deputies the next day.

After grabbing lunch at the hotel restaurant, it was time to head back to the workshops, this time intermingled with the other young Europeans, to cover predetermined topics (such as air, water or pollution). The aim was to begin to prepare the Charter of Commitment that would be the culmination of the Let’s Take Care of the Planet conference. All of these discussions took place in English, a great learning opportunity (but also very tiring!) for our young people!

At 6 p.m. they took a breather, either resting in their rooms, playing games on the beach or going for a walk, before dinner at 8 p.m. followed by an evening of quiet games before Day 3 in Lisbon, which was expected to be intense… 


Day 3 (23 May):


Wake-up call at 7 a.m., breakfast then the whole group (66 students plus facilitators, teachers… nearly 100 people!) departed on foot then by train for Lisbon. The students visited the parliament building, including the chamber of deputies. They then participated in a debate in the magnificent former Senate chamber, using (not always very comprehensible…) simultaneous translation, with Portuguese deputies belonging to the Parliamentary Commission for the Environment. Each delegation presented a summary of actions carried out within organisations and asked the deputies a few questions. They then separated into groups: one small group (the young Parisians with Charlotte and Perrine from Rhône-Alpes) went off to eat and to visit Lisbon with young Portuguese people, who offered to accompany them, while the other group went for a picnic in a lovely park and then had some free time visiting or shopping in town. Their exemplary behaviour stood out – with their timekeeping, solidarity and permanent smiles, it was a joy to spend time with them! We went back by train and after a little rest they continued their work, drawing up the Letter of Commitment by young Europeans taking part in the Let’s Take Care of the Planet project.image8










Day 4 (24 May):

image9Today, the last day of the conference, the programme was once again intense. A morning of workshops to finalise the closing ceremony occupied the minds of our young people who, despite their fatigue, continued to demonstrate a contagious enthusiasm! The food was rapidly dispatched and we left for the Lisbon-based Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth where the closing ceremony was to be held after the final workshops. This ceremony was absolutely sublime: we were able to find out about the young people’s work: the posters they had produced to communicate their commitments, photo and video montages about the Youth Press Agency in which Anna participated, the Letter of Commitment, a charter setting out the young Europeans’ commitment to the planet that will be distributed to all Portuguese deputies via the President of the Commission for the Environment, and to the European Parliament too! We also listened to a batucada band which lit up the auditorium. Finally, a short discussion by teachers about their work closed this first session. It was then time for the official speeches, thanks and departure for Lisbon’s Belem district. Traffic jams reduced the delegates’ free time but the reappearance of the sun and the magnificent light in this most historic place was appreciated by all. Back in the town centre, a quick dinner and it was time to prepare for the leaving party. The young people, the facilitators, the organisers and the teachers took occupation of a magnificent hall, opposite the sea, to dance and share these final moments. A very happy, festive and emotional time!image10

How difficult it was to say goodbye and to go to bed: our young Europeans, who had been strangers just four days before, had forged strong ties during this conference, both in the work they performed and also during meals and free time, often intermingled, a wonderful example of what Europe is, and what it should always be.

The members of the French delegation, which comprised 12 young people in total (eight from Rhône-Alpes, two from Île de France and two from Guyana) stood out for their exemplary behaviour, being full of smiles, positive and enthusiastic, and participating with good humour in everything that was suggested. This was noted and appreciated, particularly by Elaine Ivassenko (facilitator and member of the Monde Pluriel team), who spent every day with them!



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