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Escape to diversity - Training course

Compared to other projects organized by our organizations this one was funded by Internation Visegrad Fund, which supports collaboration between the countries of Visegrad Four – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. That is why also the partcipants came from these countries and the training course took place in Poltava, Ukraine. 

As the name of our training course suggests we focused on topics concerning diversity and how to implement educational escape rooms when working with youth.  

Our journey began 2 days before the official start of the course and since we flew to Kyiv we could not resist but to get to explore this beautiful city and so we decided to visit the historical sights of the city.  

First day of out training was focused on getting to know all the participants by playing all kinds of games and the next 2 days had a similar focus, but besides getting to know each other games, games which helped us to understand differences in our cultures and values were added. We discussed both national and religious minorities in our countries. We learnt more about concepts like tolerance, inclusion, diversity or discrimination and then we presented our knowledge and information on the situation of  minority rights in the world. Certain issues connected to minorities in our country were the same for other countries as well, although some problems we are facing just on our own.  

Quite interesting was the intercultural night, during which we had a chance to present interesting information about Slovakia and also get to know something about other countries. Regardless of having close contact with the mentioned countries and thinking we already know a lot about them we still managed to learn something new! But the best part of course was when we could try the foreign food. 

Next few days we focused on the topic of escape rooms. We talked about different  types of the rooms and basic aspects which every room should have. We tried creating our own puzzles for the players. We also visited multiple escape rooms in the city centre of Poltava and discussed what we liked or disliked, so we can know  what to avoid when making our own. Besides these pleasant necessities we explored the beauty of the city.   

We divided into 3 teams in which we worked on building our own escape rooms. The main focus of the rooms was to point our ethnic, religious and gender minorities. We created these rooms in place provided by Poltava university. Before we started to work on our rooms we had to plan the game in detail and buy required materials. We were given a budget which covered the costs of locks and useful things which we planned to use in the game. After 3 days of intense work we finally got to the point where we could test each others rooms. It was very interesting for us to watch how someone else is figuring a puzzle which we designed and we also enjoyed testing rooms of the other teams. After constructive feedback each team had about half a day to improve the rooms and the next day we finally opened our escape rooms for the public. At last we dismantled our rooms and created a manual on how to use our puzzles. 

We can not forget to mention the variety of cusine we were provided with during the project. We tried multiple traditional dishes and drinks of Ukraine, such as Borscht, Salo, Varenyky, Deruny (potato pancakes), Nalysnyky, or Poltava Galushki. 

This project was unique and left us with unforgettable memories!