In Hungary, Poland and Romania, we encouraged students to let themselves being inspired by the story of La Benevolencija, identify local community problems, research how to address them, and create a project idea about them. With the help of their teachers, students had to submit a full-fledged project plan to Centropa, describing the aim of their projects, its dates, participants, outcomes, as well as a project budget. After reading and considering the proposals, the best projects received a max. 750 euro grant to come to reality. After carrying out the projects, a project report was submitted to Centropa, and students filled a short project feedback survey.
The idea was that students were responsible for every step of the project implementation - starting with the division of work, preparation of schedule, through staying in touch with other institutes, to preparing the final report. The teachers let the students to work on the projects on their own; their task was limited to supervise whether all activities were in line with the plan and to provide help whenever it was necessary. Each of the students was ordered to sign a contract and sent a detailed schedule of activities. Thanks to that the students felt more responsible for their tasks. It also helped them to organize their time of work.
We believe that these projects had several benefits for those taking part in them: students participated in meaningful afterschool activities, learned a lot about their communities, and besides, learned how to put together a project proposal. They were granted the experience that their ideas can actually be turned into actions, that their voice mattered, their opinions counted. Last but not least, according to the feedback we received, students also had fun making their projects.
In total, 26 student projects were created: 10 in Hungary, 10 in Poland, and 6 in Romania. Altogether 620 students took part in the projects – 331 from Hungary, 210 from Poland, and 79 from Romania. The projects were documented through photos and videos, and in most cases, project outcomes were also created – such as an exhibition, a concert, or a book.