At the beginning of July 2015, five environmentally conscious youths from Latvia traveled to Bulgaria, where the exchange program “NaturALL” took place in the village of Durankulak by the Black Sea. “NaturALL” brought together active, innovative thinkers from six countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Spain and Germany). They all shared a common aim to exchange experience, enrich their knowledge and to try to make the world a better place. The exchange was organized by SMART Foundation.
The exchange program concentrated on various questions concerning the environment and a green lifestyle, such as an environmentally friendly way of life, environmental protection, sorting waste and alternative economy. Each project day focused on a different topic in order to cover the widest possible range of issues.
Even the learning process as such was diverse – we learnt, exchanged experiences and gained inspiration through group work as well as in discussions and practical activities. On the last day we jointly decided to conclude our adventure with a symbolic action – a cleanup of Durankulak beach. We had planned this both as an expression of our appreciation for the villagers for an unforgettable week and for raising the locals’ awareness of the need to clean up their surrounding environment. And do you know what? Our plan worked! Seeing our team with bin bags in our hands cleaning the beach, the local people decided to join the big cleanup by picking up nearby waste. Sometimes only little is needed to inspire change. What gave the project a special atmosphere was the fact that the entire week was spent outdoors in fresh air and under clear skies, living in tents and cooking outside.
- Agnese Reķe, 22 years old
NaturALL was a very positive experience. We took part in important activities and also relaxed by the Black Sea. Throughout the whole program we were spoiled by the sun and the atmosphere was relaxed, friendly and easy-going. With this as well as similar events in which I have participated and have had the chance to learn, often the greatest gain has been the chance to meet various people and learn about their often very different views on various events and phenomena. This time was no exception. The feeling of knowing that there are many more who are concerned about the same issues motivates you to introduce something new into your everyday life or to be brave enough to act on a long-held ambition.
I think that all “NaturALL” participants would agree that the week spent together was a great and useful experience full of memories that we will not forget quickly- the inspiration we gained, the enriched knowledge as well as the fantastic people and newly formed friendships. A big thank you to the “NaturALL” organisers!
- Māra Braslava, 23 years old