12 Young Adult Carers went to an International Peace Conference in Denmark in May 2023, spending time with other young people from around the world.
How did it happen?
Welsh student, Nina Moon, who is studying in Denmark, inspired her fellow students from across Europe to come to Wales to spend time with Young Carers and their families last summer. They spent the summer organizing play days, family events and volunteered at the Credu Supporting Young and Adult Carers Big Weekend Festival.
The Young Carers, their families and the students hit it off from the start. When Nina and her fellow students returned to Denmark and began to organise an international Peace Justice Conference for Young People from all over the world, Welsh Young Carers were the first to be invited!
Sally, Dux and Leanne, a trio of three experienced Credu Staff found a way to tap into funding from Short breaks funding from Welsh Government via the Regional Partnership Board to cover the cost of the Conference and some travel while the innovative fund Making Carers Count covered other expenses.
What was the Conference about?
The Conference, ‘Building Utopias’; was attended by hundreds of people from countries across the EU and further afield. It included talks from
Jessica Kleczka, a climate psychologist and Ash Perrin on ‘The Power of Play’. Sally, Leanne and Dux contributed workshops on progressive communication skills and using theatre to stimulate and enable debate and expression (aka ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’).
Here is how Sally Ducker’s, a leader at Credu, describes the unique experience:
‘Each conversation lifted our sense of optimism about the possibility of building our future Utopias when we work together.
The participants at the Conference were a beautiful mix of multi-generations; from school children from Lithuania to our Young Adult Carers (ranging in age from 15-20 yrs), the European student teachers in their 20’s through to community workers, change-makers, Leaders and Head teachers and onto those retired from paid work but not from life. Everyone’s opinion was valid and we were interested.
The group of Young Carers found an ever growing confidence in their voice as the infectious positivity spread and by Saturday evening some of them were on stage as backing singings, creating the whoops of support and enthusiasm for other’s achievements and speaking publicly on microphones as spokespeople for their groups visions and ideas to a full hall.
There were challenges along the way; tiredness, food challenges, shyness, physical challenges for two who adapted to wheelchairs to keep up and maybe a little homesickness.
There was a lot of positivity too; new solid friendships, fun and laughter, bouncing on a huge inflatable pillow, games of pool and cards, singing and dancing.
We finished the trip with some days out to find Trolls in the wilder places, visit towns and seaside and travel across the flat wind-turbined land in our hired mini-vans singing at the tops of our voices and sharing conversation.’
Here is what Young Carers said when we asked them to share something they have learnt about themselves:
‘I learnt in my ability to make friends and speak to people and my ability to switch between having loads of energy and being appropriate and mature’
‘I learnt I can be happy and comfortable and have fun going somewhere far away with people I don’t know’
‘I learnt I can try new foods and be out of my comfort zone’
‘I learnt that I can talk in front of people and it isn’t such a big thing. I learnt I am a people person and get energy from being around people.’
Here is what Young Carers said when we asked them to share something they have learnt about the world:
‘I learnt how people live so differently and not to take things for granted.’
‘I learnt if you think positively more positive things are going to happen’
‘I learnt how education can be different’
‘I learnt that in order to make a change in the world all is takes is people from different perspectives, cultures and background coming together’
‘I learnt that Britain is not the world!’