I visited Berlin on 9th of April 2012 for a week to meet street workers from the Gangway and witness Organisations. The week was focussed on a youth exchange project that has been running for a few years. Bringing young people from New York, Berlin and Paris together through the love of Hip-hop. Using hip-hop as a medium for this cultural exchange, giving young people a great opportunity to travel and embark on new experiences. After seeing all the positive work that is being done to engage young people, I was highly interested and the plan now is to make this exchange a 4 way city program. The aim is for London to be part of this brilliant project. That includes travelling to the other three cities and hosting them when it is our turn.
They also focussed on educating everyone about the city of Berlin and its history, part of the activities on the itinerary were visits to the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie, various museums and a tour of one of the Concentration camps.
Spending time with street workers Olad, Beezwax, Joe, Farbeon who are all passionate about what they do, makes me even more motivated to want to work with them. I was glad that I was given the opportunity to go to Berlin to see first hand how the project works and to add my input on the week.
For me it was also a learning experience engaging with the young people from Berlin, Paris and New york. Spending time with their teachers and mentors, exchanging stories on how things are different in our various cities. One thing was the same in one respect is the passion the street workers, the teachers, and mentors from all the cities had is what makes this type of project a success. The young people were grateful they had people who believed in them and wanted them to succeed. Some of the young people said that the trip was a great experience and that it has changed their life.
So the hard work now to make sure I organise London to be involved in this inspiring project. I would like to thank Olad, Beezwax, Joe, Farbeon, Patrick and the rest of my Berlin host for making me feel like part of the team.
PICTURES TAKEN BY OLAD AND FARBEON