My name is Elias Ayele, I have studied and graduated international human rights law in 2015. My journey with StepEurope ry started in the summer of 2016, and it led me to a week-long training to a country I would have never imagined to visit Pristina in Kosovo, a beautiful city with lovely people. It was my first ever Erasmus plus training, whose primary focus was on the training of trainers for youth workers on the topic of migration, refugees, and asylum seekers in Europe. It was an extraordinary experience to meet various people from different countries with a common goal and vision. It was during the training that I have aspired to be more involved with StepEurope and even to host similar project in Turku. Nonetheless, it was in September 2017 that I officially joined StepEurope ry team as työkokeilija (work try-out) for a six-month period, which would last till the end of March. I must say it has been a wonderful experience for me. I am grateful to have been taking part and see the Finnish NGO work through StepEurope ry.
Aside from assisting and participating in our local monthly activities, my main responsibilities during the work try-out include organizing events such as Restaurant Day and “A Look Behind the Labels” panel conversation, short interactive workshops on migration and integration, social media posts, being a co-trainer in the NJN (Not Just Numbers) international training and participating seminars. Lately I was happy to have been working on the final report of our international training in December and the new project application to be implemented in the coming autumn.
I can say the highlight of my work practice was the “Not Just Numbers” training in December. It was a week-long international training with 30 amazing youth workers from seven countries. Though the training was only for a week, my responsibilities and the team of facilitators started to work towards the training way back in October. I was assigned as a co-trainer along with another intern, which meant that I had to prepare the training sessions and also help with many practical and preparation works to facilitate the training. Personally it was a great learning experience and platform to gain trainer competence and build confidence. I have learned a lot from the main trainer as well as the participants. It was such a wonderful time to have interacted with them and the trainer, who made the training lively and memorable.
I would say that StepEurope ry is like one big family, which includes the board, the project coordinator, interns and our active volunteers, who are filled with experts in their professions. I have enjoyed the modern co-working environment in Logomo. Particular shout-outs to our board members and Ronja; our project coordinator, for being helpful in guiding and making my work try-out filled with fun and rich experience I can take away in the end. I would definitely suggest others to come join our team, which is really open to and flexible with anyone willing to develop their careers and competences or learn more about different social issues.