Does the world really need more walls?

Young adults are building walls together – and, in the process, are breaking down borders: the youth exchange “Building Walls, Breaking Walls” is enabling young people from different countries to find common ground beyond cultures, borders, religion and politics. Two media reports give insights into the project.

“The intercultural exchange is fantastic. I really wanted to get to know other cultures directly not just through media.” In August, Ragda, a 24 year-old Palestinian, was very impressed by the encounter with other young people from Israel, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Switzerland. From 16th till 24th September, the project participants worked together to rebuild a collapsed dry-stone wall in the Solothurn Jura. They talk about their experiences in the article in the Solothurn newspaper.

From 7th till 15th October, the SRF1 “Kulturplatz” TV programme accompanied 16 young adults who were building a wall alongside a track using clay and recycled materials in the desert, in the Kibbutz Lotan, southern Israel. The result is an impressive contribution that highlights the significance of walls from difference perspectives and shows the experiences of the young people.

The Swiss “Naturkultur” association carried out the “Building Walls, Breaking Walls” project for the first time in summer 2013 in the Solothurn Jura. Young adults from various parts of Switzerland and from Israel and Palestine, Ireland and Northern Ireland restored an old dry-stone wall in Grenchenberg. By working together and in discussion groups and non-formal workshops, they learned how to work together as a team and to take on responsibility. In addition, they looked at religious and cultural common ground and differences. After several examples of the project in Switzerland, the 2015 youth exchange was exported to Ireland, followed, a year later, by the first one in Israel.

Movetia Youth in Action provides financial support for the “Building Walls, Breaking Walls” project of the “Naturkultur” association. Would you like to organise a youth exchange too? You’ll find more information about our programme here.