Our member movement, YMDRAB - Bulgaria, is developing a new and very interesting project called “Stronger together: youth collaboration for interreligious solidarity”, with the help of the European Youth Foundation (CoE).
In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the continuous interreligious tensions in the Middle East and the burdens of the Bulgarian history, YMDRAB is organizing a youth project focused on the prevention and peaceful transformation of interreligious conflicts in the Bulgarian rural areas.
Led by the sincere desire to contribute to the well-being of the Bulgarian rural youth (irrespective of religion), YMDRAB in cooperation with institutions and supported by like-minded organisations applied and received funding from the European Youth Foundation (CoE) for the project “Stronger together: youth collaboration for interreligious solidarity”. Its main aim is the prevention and peaceful transformation of interreligious conflicts between young people living in the Bulgarian rural areas.
The main project activity is a one week collaboration event taking place between 3rd July and 10th July in the village of Kranevo, Bulgaria. The event will bring together 26 rural youngsters from the municipalities of Botevgrad (mainly Christian) and Ardino (mainly Muslim), young people that have fewer opportunities for volunteering and lack of access to non-formal education. During the event the participants will have the chance to reflect on the stereotypes and prejudice that lead to interreligious conflicts. Furthermore, the program will allow developing awareness and understanding of the concepts of human and social rights as well as the underlying personal responsibilities. Eventually, the participants will also be able to reflect and identify set of actions that could contribute to the prevention and peaceful transformation of interreligious conflicts in their local communities. In the end of the event, a position paper will be developed outlining the results of the project, which will be then used as an advocacy tool by YMDRAB. In parallel to that, action groups will be established in the local communities of the participants, which will act as a moving force for the implementation of an effective follow-up.
We hope that together with the support from the European Youth Foundation we will be able to implement this project and contribute for the prevention and peaceful transformation of interreligious conflicts in the Bulgarian rural areas.
The YMDRAB Team
We are pleased to inform you that MIJARC World is launching the call for local projects to be supported by the Solidarity Fund of MIJARC in 2015.
This money is collected by rural youth groups and sent to the Solidarity Fund bank account. The fund is annually distributed among the different continents, MIJARC World and the Emergency Fund (aimed at supporting member organisations of MIJARC that really had big difficulties or suffered from catastrophes, to clearly improve their situation).
Please, keep in mind that the deadline is the 30th of June 2015. You can find in attachment the official call and the application form.
May you have any further questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Ana Silva (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Following the resignation of our current European Secretary, Brenda Aerts, MIJARC Europe is now looking for a new secretary for its office in Brussels.
Since last year almost the entire team of MIJARC Europe was changed, three new movements joined and the European Coordination will be a first-time experience for about 60% of the participants, we thought a short and simple guide on the event would come in handy.
1. First, keep calm and follow the Statutes and the Rules of Procedure. The rules of "what"??? Well, the documents that regulate how MIJARC Europe works.
·According to the Statutes, the European Coordination is the observing body. It consults, supports and observes the European Team. It is the highest decision-making body between the General Assemblies.
·The delegates in the European Coordination are called "European Coordinators". Ahaa!!! Did not see that coming, did you? They are nominated by each national movement and they are elected during the General Assembly.
· The European Coordination takes place once a year and as we are a very open and friendly organisation, other people, apart from the European Team and the European Coordinators, can be invited.
3. What will you do during the European Coordination?
·The short answer: you will be talking. A lot!
·The long answer: you will check and supervise the work of the European Team (Executive Board), you will verify the budgets and accounts and give a proposal to the General Assembly to vote on the financial report, you will help the European Team implement the decision taken by the General Assembly but you will also meet people from different countries, exchange realities and have fun.
4. Glad that it is over? Don't feel so relaxed because now it's when you'll start the real hard work. Once the European Coordination is over, it is your task to take back to your movement the information you received during the event and to implement in your own country the decisions that were taken during the meeting. Remember that we count on you to do this. MIJARC is you!
See you in Dilbeek!
 Orientation General Assembly - it is the name that MIJARC Europe uses for the General Assembly that takes place every four years, after MIJARC World had its own assembly. The only difference between a GA and an OGA is that the OGA is composed of a larger number of participants from full member organisations.
 Committee of External Representation - a group of volunteers whose job is to represent MIJARC Europe at different international events, such as meetings, training courses or events of our partner organisations.
 European Youth Foundation - a fund established the Council of Europe, in order to provide financial support to European youth activities. The EYF is one of MIJARC Europe's main donors.
A man and his son are involved in a car accident. The father dies. The son is rushed to hospital. The surgeon arrives, but says “I cannot operate on this boy as he is my son.” Can you explain this situation? Who is the surgeon?
You may have felt puzzled by this situation for some seconds, trying to figure out how something like that might be possible or you may have come up with very creative scenarios. However, the answer is quite simple if you only remember that a child has two parents and that women can also be surgeons. Yes, the surgeon is the child's MOTHER. The fact that we are not used to associating the job of a surgeon to women, speaks a lot about our perception on men and women and about the power of society-prescribed gender roles.
Gender equality is the hot topic of this month, as we have just celebrated International Women's Day and the European Year of Development has as theme this month: "women and girls". While it cannot be denied that tremendous progress has been made in this field through civil society's actions and laws adopted at national, European and international level, gender equality still remains a reality for plenty of children, young people and adults all over Europe and all over the globe.
The concept of gender refers to the social roles created for men and women, who have emerged and have been shaped throughout time. Gender is different from the concept of sex which encompasses the physical and morphologic traits that differentiate women from men. Gender is more about what society sees as "feminine" or "masculine", what your parents and friends think you should do as a girl or as a boy or about how you should behave in certain situations. In other words, gender is our "social sex" and it is a pattern that is learnt, transferred and reproduced through a process we call socialization.
Sooner or later we learn that boys are expected to be tougher than girls, that they should not cry or express their emotions publicly, they should not wear skirts, paint their nails, wear jewellery or play with dolls. On the other side, girls learn that they are expected to be caretakers, that they are more sensitive and delicate and that most of the house chores are their responsibility. We learn this in our families, in school, from our friends or from the television. Research shows that gender roles start to shape as early as age two and this affects the way we behave and expect other to behave based on whether they are boys or girls.
This is also how gender stereotypes appear, are learnt and start to be applied. In most cases, we are not even aware of the gender stereotypes we have and how we learnt them, which is one of reasons why we hardly ever question them. It is very difficult to question something that you have been raised to believe is normal and unfortunately in most of Europe's patriarchal societies, it is "normal" for men to be dominant and for females to be submissive. Nevertheless, you may ask yourself: if the world has been living like this for so many years, why should we question these stereotypes? Well, maybe we should come back to the riddle and reflect a bit on how easy it would have been to give an answer if our gender stereotypes had not been present in our thinking. The worst problem with gender stereotypes is that very often they generate violent behaviours. Whenever we, either men or women, step outside of society's gender stereotypes, we are considered abnormal. Men who seem more feminine are often victims of violent incidents while a large percentage of women still suffer from domestic violence and globally one in three women will be beaten and raped during her lifetime.
We definitely do not want to make you sad but we do want to make you AWARE. Now that you have seen how gender roles affect our lives and how gender inequality is created it is time you start wondering about what you could do. Take small steps in changing your behaviour towards yourself and towards your peers and reflect on what makes you and other people happy instead of what society expects from you. Share the gender riddle or tell it to your friends to make them think of their own gender stereotypes. Check out what actions are taking place in your country on International Women's Day on www.internationalwomendays.com, or join the "Heforshe" campaign of the United Nations. Whatever you do, always remember that gender inequality affects both men and women and that achieving equality is EVERYBODY's responsibility.
 Weinraub, Marsha et al. The Development of Sex Role Stereotypes in the Third Year: Relationships to Gender Labeling, Gender Identity, Sex-typed Toy Preference and Family Characteristics, 1984, Child Development, 55, pp. 1493-1503
McGurk, Harry, Childhood Social Development: Contemporary Perspectives, 1992, Lawrence Erlbaum Associated Ltd Publishing
 Information excerpted from the United Nations Secretary-General’s In-depth Study on Violence against Women, 2006, and from websites for the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).