The magical journey has begun – five of the six campers are on the road and have started their incredible adventures. After a few unsure starts (entirely relating to getting used to actually driving the caravan itself), coffee cups are full and the wheels are rolling, taking our dedicated teams from one city to another across the European continent.
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/SUw7D7_4ads?rel=0" width="560"></iframe>
We met with some amazing initiatives! Stop one for the Central Caravan team was Prague where they met Alternativa Zdola (“bottom-up alternative”), an NGO that pushes for participatory budgeting in the city’s Holešovice district. Alternativa Zdola’s efforts have had successful outcomes: almost 1 % of the budget, about 1 million CZK (ca. 36.500 EUR) having been earmarked for participatory budgeting. [Read more here]
the Iberian Caravan team arrived in Valencia from Barcelona, where they went on the ruta del despilfarro - a guided tour through the city, but a tour like no other: instead of visiting historic monuments and churches, it shows another face of this very beautiful city - one of corruption, waste of public funds, and also one of despair. It is not a route for the light-hearted! The first stop on the route was a visit to the victims of the metro accident of the 3rd of July 2006, Asociacion Victimas del Metro. It was the worst accident in the history of the Spanish metro. In this video Rosa explains how she lost her sister in the accident. Now she wants to raise awareness of the fact that this accident could have been avoided. The Valencian Metro Railways, belonging to the Valencian government, knew about the works that needed doing on the metro line, but they did not act.
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eBxLdpjFGnc?rel=0" width="560"></iframe>
Day 1 saw the Eastern Caravan team in Cluj-Napoca, visiting Pata Rat, a small village on the outskirts of Cluj, a village surrounded by trash, literally located on the edge of the city's waste dump. Pata Rat is populated only with Roma families. Amongst the shacks, made mostly out of thin wooden planks, the team met Christina who has set up a school situated in several conjoined mobile units, working with the children of the most marginalised Roma families that have no real chance of education. Take a look at the first part of the video diary taken in Pata Rat.
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ENcX-Zq3MkA?rel=0" width="560"></iframe>
At the first day of the North-Eastern Caravan Tour the team joined a public survey by representatives of the EU Commission in front of the Brandenburger Tor, Berlin. "Excuse me to interrupt, but we want to improve the living conditions of EU citizens and have a few proposals to make to you. Arent you voting too often? Shouldn't we reduce voting to every 10 years only? What about investing more money into leisure time activities instead of promoting political participation in the EU?" (Read more on this public stunt run by actors and the surprising reactions of the public, here)
The North-Western team spent the first two days in Birmingham with many exciting discussions they have been having with Futureshift festival, @bikenorthbrum, northfieldeco, (and many more organisations)! They have had series of discussions surround welfare, the commons, the environment and work, and had quite a few chats with different individuals on what they would change in europe. Check out the video interview with Rebecca Wheally who in response to these questions on Europe talks about stereotypes, the importance of language and education, and on why she isn't going to vote in the European elections this coming May.
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4sR7UyIT-8E?rel=0" width="560"></iframe>
Who knows what's next in store for the Caravan teams! Tomorrow the Southern Caravan hits the road as well, meaning all 6 Caravans will be on their way across Europe!