2017 has been a fruitful year for Smile To The Future, where we organised many youth exchanges with Erasmus+ and set up many different projects related to international sustainable development. Here you can find a review of all the projects and travels we organised in 2017!
In 2017 Smile To The Future partnered with several organisations throughout Europe to take part in Erasmus+ youth exchanges and trainings courses to stimulate knowledge and skills exchange, as well as cultural exchanges.
- A trainings course in Oostende, Belgium about lifelong learning.
- An exchange in Ada, Serbia, about non-formal education.
- An exchange about youth unemployment and entrepreneurship in Nyíregyháza, Hungary.
- A trainings course in Ankara, Turkey about social inclusion.
- A youth exchange in Málaga, Spain, to learn more about the European Voluntary Service.
- A youth exchange in Molfetta, Italy, with as a topic ”No waste, more taste”.
- A youth exchange in Çerkezköy, Turkey, about fighting against obesity.
Smile To The Future was also able to send several volunteers to Nyeri, Kenya, for a few months to do research on for example elderly care in the region.
In March 2017 Smile To The Future created Starters Valley. Starters Valley is a co-working space and entrepreneurial hub that seeks to stimulate and support startups and social initiatives. The main focus is on social entrepreneurship, meaning that the initiatives do not merely focus on economic gain, but really want to have an impact in society.
Starters Valley also organised regular workshops to help startups and young entrepreneurs in realising their business. For example, we organised workshops about how to start your own charity, how to form your corporate identity, and how to do your bookkeeping. Next to that, we also organised a photography workshop, a workshops about social entrepreneurship and startups. These workshops were all given by people from our Starters Valley community.
In 2017 Smile To The Future partnered up with other organisations to set up a campaign to create political awareness among young people in Maastricht. In previous years, voter turnout in Maastricht has been very low, especially among young people. In the last municipal elections, only 49% of the eligible voters actually voted. Many international students even didn’t know they are allowed to vote in local elections. This is where MaasX wants to make a change. The idea of MaasX is to get the people of Maastricht, especially young people, more interested and involved in the ongoing political processes. We want to motivate people to vote in the local elections in 2018, but also in the elections thereafter.
To do this, MaasX is organising several events. We will kick-off the project with our Political Discussion Event in January, where groups of students will debate some key topics that are important for young people: sustainability, the knowledge economy, housing, and polarisation. In March, Smile To The Future hosts the MaasX Networking Event, where all entrepreneurial platforms, startups, and young people will come together to talk about the issues they come across when trying to start a business, or when simply trying to find a job here in the city. On the 12th of March, MaasX will host the very first student debate in Maastricht, where all the political parties will debate on key questions that students find important. We will then close the project with a big party, ”SHUT UP and VOTE!” at the Muziekgieterij. Here, people will actually have the chance to vote in official municipality voting boots, so that they don’t have to come out of bed the day after with a hangover to cast their vote 😉
Orphanage Mother Hosenu Kenya
Last year we also continued our previous project of 2015 to increase the sustainability and self-reliance of the orphanage by installing bio-gas installations and solar panels.
East Africa Trip: Social Entrepreneurship and Tech Development
In 2017 we initiated our 3-month long trip to East Africa, that will take place in the summer of 2018. On this trip we will visit 5 countries in the East African region: Kenya, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. The goal of the trip is to lay the foundation for future social and sustainable business opportunities that will contribute to local initiatives and support local and global development. Here we will focus on a few main sectors: agricultural trade deals, the blockchain technology, real estate, energy, and social projects. Stay tuned for more information about this trip, as we will be vlogging the whole summer to show you the countries and to inform you about what we are doing!