Youth for Sustainability
More than sixty youths and twelve youth leaders participated in a project that
inspiring youth exchanges during 2017 and 2018, funded by the European Union.
Two years ago, several youths and youth leaders from different countries in Europe started
to organize youth exchanges, including ISKCON temples and communities. They saw a need
for the youth to get together, develop deep friendships and integrate into the local
The title of the project was ‘Youth for Sustainability’ and it brought youths from Hungary,
Latvia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden together. They met at Almviks Gård in Sweden in July
2017, at Krishna Valley in Hungary in June 2018, at New Vraja Mandala in Spain in August
2018 and at the ISKCON temple in Ljubljana, Slovenia in December 2018. Each youth
exchange lasted for five to seven days. These exchanges were entirely funded by the
commission through the National Agency in Sweden and included traveling costs,
accommodation and food.
During these four youth exchanges The Four Pillars of Sustainability were explored, i.e. the
environmental pillar (e.g. organic farming, cow-protection, water-supply), the economic
pillar (e.g. how to make a living with green jobs, how to find out about one’s skills and
interests), the social pillar (e.g. friendship, cooperation) and the cultural pillar
tours, Indian festival). The youth also had the opportunity to participate in ‘Ask the Swami’
sessions with Yadunandana Swami and Bir Krishna Das Goswami, a hiking-tour with Smita
Krishna Swami, and a discourse on sustainability held by Sivarama Swami.
They even met
ISKCON’s youth minister Manorama Das who was invited to participate at the youth
exchange in Spain.
The youths were encouraged to organize and hold different workshops on their own such as
dance, musical instruments, martial arts, archery, arts, henna-painting, football, volleyball,
swimming, juggling and more. They also prepared and led bhajans and music-sessions in the
evenings and helped to organize sight-seeing tours in Stockholm, Budapest, Madrid and
Ljubljana. Furthermore, they engaged in different services in the kitchen, served food,
prepared accommodation facilities, and did several other services.
“It was wonderful to see how the youths developed friendships during these four exchanges,
how their respect for other cultures increased and how their attraction to mother nature
was deepened,” says Kamala Priya from Sweden, the coordinator of the project.
The organizers have already planned further youth exchanges for the years 2019 and 2020,
and they are looking forward to having even more youngsters from other European
countries joining these events.