Williams Syndrome Association Ireland

European Youth Exchange project in Ireland

In 2005, the Williams Syndrome Association in Norway received the first grant to host a European Youth Exchange (an informal learning experience for young people). They held a wonderful week in Tromso which was attended by WS people from many European countries including Ireland. Similar youth exchanges have been held in various European countries since 2005 and members of WSAI have attended many of these projects.

WSAI decided to host this European Youth Exchange this year. We applied for, and have been allocated, a grant from the Erasmus + Youth Exchange programme to run this project. We will have 4 WS people and 2 leaders from each of 11 countries around Europe (including Ireland!) in the University of Limerick from 3rd to 10th July for a fun-packed week of learning.

The name of our project is “FEWS – Our Music, Our Culture” and we have planned a very varied week of activities. These include music workshops, Irish dance workshops, art trail, flora & fauna trail, theatre workshops, introduction to gaelic games, a “Gamelan” workshop, night-time entertainment plus more. There will also be a presentation made by each country group present on the music and culture from their own country so that all may learn from each other.

This Youth Exchange is being funded by the EU Erasmus + programme which is administered by Leargas in Ireland. Léargas was established to support international exchange and collaboration in the youth sector, mainly through the medium of European Commission-funded education and training programmes.

We have also received funding for this project from the Spanish Irish Business Network based in Madrid. They organised a very successful St. Patrick’s Day ball which took place on Friday, 18th March in Madrid. The money raised was split between the Williams Syndrome associations in Spain and Ireland. We are extremely grateful to them for their support.