In December 2023, young leaders and activists from Sweden, Hungary, Armenia, Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa came together in Stockholm for an incredible opportunity – the Youth Exchange organized by Planet One. Over five days, this event sparked enthusiasm and inspired these next generation leaders to make positive strides in climate fairness.
The Youth Exchange kicked off with a burst of energy and excitement. Warm welcomes, icebreakers, and activities set the stage for connections to bloom. A tour of Fryshuset and an inspiring talk by the Fridays For Future team left everyone feeling fired up. The highlight? A vibrant session where we crafted banners for the upcoming Friday’s strike.
Day two was all about action. We joined the Fridays For Future strike, showing our dedication to climate action. Exploring Stockholm’s Old Town and visiting the Greenpeace Office added depth to our experience. The day concluded with a passionate debate, allowing each participant to voice their thoughts on the global fight for climate justice.
One participant summed it up perfectly, “It was an extremely positive day filled with community. The strike was one of the highlights for me: taking part in it was an interesting experience. Hopefully, it had a great impact and brought about some real changes!”
On day three, we immersed ourselves in nature at Hellasgarden. A sauna session and a dip in the lake grounded us and deepened our connection to the environment. In the afternoon, we had a workshop focusing on projects led by our youth, providing a platform for everyone to express and share their passion and creativity.
Reflecting on the day, one participant remarked, “Exploring another Swedish tradition was exciting, and venturing into nature provided a refreshing change. The workshop empowered me to initiate my own youth-led project.“
Day four was about relaxation and creativity. Morning yoga set a positive tone,where we embraced moments of relaxation and introspection, while activities like baking vegan cookies and painting offered a chance to discover inner strength in response to climate challenges. The day concluded with a workshop centered around self-discovery through art, highlighting the importance of self-care and mindfulness while fostering deeper connection among participants. Another participant shared, “Today brought us closer together, especially through teamwork. Starting with yoga made it all feel right, and recording podcasts was a blast!”
The final day was bittersweet. It provided us an opportunity for reflective expression through various creative outlets. We engaged in crafting with a Christmas theme and crafting handmade guitars. The exchange concluded with a heartfelt goodbye dinner featuring African cuisine, marking the end of an incredible and transformative week together. Reflecting on the farewell, one participant expressed, “Today was emotional, especially the farewell dinner, which was a perfect culmination of great food, company, and shared memories. It was difficult to bid farewell to such wonderful people.”
The Stockholm Youth Exchange served as a powerful platform for fostering connections and inspiring a commitment to a greener future. We not only learned about different cultures but also forged lasting friendships and gained insights into diverse societies. Through teamwork and stepping out of comfort zones, each of us left with valuable lessons and renewed determination to effect positive change in our communities.
“I used to think I had nothing significant to share, but this exchange showed me the importance of sharing knowledge with others. I’ve resolved to continue learning and sharing for the betterment of our communities.”
The friendships we made will continue to fuel the global movement for climate justice. As we part ways, we carry with us memories, lessons, and the inspiration to continue our journey toward a sustainable and equitable world.
During the youth exchange first episode of the “Unveiling Environmental Echoes” podcast has been recorded, an environmental talk among the passionate members of the Alternative Youth Center and the prominent leaders of the youth teams from Kenya and the Republic of South Africa.
Written by Danyil Nychka, the ESC volunteer from Ukraine at Fryshuset, Stockholm, Sweden