Interview with: Jasper, 23 years old, from the Netherlands, student social work at Saxion Enschede 

The first time I joined a Stay Human I was a participant and in the second programme  “Lead The Change” I became a leader. This was a really large step for me. First of all, because you get a lot of responsibilities and usually I would shy away from responsibility. I was always in the background. The step was especially big, because we did not have in the group this natural leader so I needed to be this leader and take on a lot of responsibilities.

It was really great to have this experience of growing so much and experiencing that I am a leader and not in the sense that I would think a leader is, but it broadened my horizon about what a leader can do. I had to deal with many things during this week, for example, I had deep conversations with a participant, like a real social work talk that I could do as a professional. I felt so good that I could do this, because also the participant learned from the experience. It was very empowering and also just the whole idea that we made this exchange together: we did something very good. Everybody was praising each other as a group, but also as an individual.

With non-formal education you can use your talents. In the formal system you often have to make a 3 or a 6. Some qualities you have, and that are standing out, are ignored. With non-formal education you can really use the qualities you have. For example I made a research about your changes under stress, so we had an activity about it. I read a lot about psychology and another guy was this creative, crazy guy. He had a really creative way of setting up a workshop. So what we did was that we used our talent to get a deeper understanding of the topic and to explore ourselves and our futures.

“The day after I came back from my first programme I joined the honour’s programme of my studies, I joined a political party and a week later a community to create a talk show about LGBT+ Rights.”

After Lead the Change and Stay Human I can say that I probably learned more about myself during these two programmes, than in the rest of my life (the 22 years before that!). I know where my qualities lie now, I know that I don’t have to get that 3 up to a 5 or a 6. I have to make sure that I put myself into situations in which I can use my qualities and where I can work together with someone who compliments me. This is something that became my life philosophy in many ways.

The day after I came back from my first programme I joined the honour’s programme of my studies, I joined a political party and a week later a community to create a talk show about LGBT+ Rights. I am even getting interested in philosophy at the moment, because I started to think about existential questions. Now I read Nietzsche and Camus, just because I started to feel empowered and controlled over my life. I became from someone who is super lazy to someone who is really out there exploring himself.

I made the following programmes possible;

Stay Human 1 – LGBT+ Rights Lithuania – 2016

Lead the Change – The Netherlands – 2017