Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Sweden Hosts Youth Leaders from 12 Countries with Focus on Child Protection and Security Education
By Kamala Priya Devi Dasi, Director of ISKCON Communications Sweden   |  Jun 14, 2024

From June 6-9, 2024, over 20 youth leaders from 12 different countries gathered at the ISKCON Almvik Eco-village in Sweden for a transformative four-day seminar. The event focused on critical topics such as Child and Youth Protection, First Aid, and Security. Participants hailed from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Italy, France, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia, making it a truly international event. The seminar was organized by Kamala Priya Devi Dasi and devotees of the ISKCON Almvik Eco-village community, funded by the EU Erasmus+ project.

ISKCON Almvik’s commitment to child and youth protection, as well as security education, serves as a powerful example for other communities. The seminar was enthusiastically received by participants, who expressed a strong desire for similar future events.

Day 1: Child Protection Awareness

The first day concentrated on Child/Youth Protection, addressing various types of abuse and the appropriate responses to such incidents. Participants engaged in role-playing exercises to better understand and identify instances of neglect, bullying, cyberbullying, and mental instability. The sessions were led by Prahlada Palaka Dasa, a member of the local Child Protection Team (CPT), teacher, and Scout leader, along with his wife Sriprada Devi Dasi, who holds a Master’s degree in Religious Science and serves as the head pujari and a pastoral care provider.

Child/Youth Protection presentation led by Prahlada Palaka Dasa and his wife Sriprada Devi Dasi

Day 2: Mental Health and Inclusion

Day two focused on Mental Health and Wellbeing, featuring a seminar by Bhakta Anton, a yoga instructor. This was followed by a session on the principles of Inclusion, led by Kamala Priya Devi Dasi, who holds a Master’s degree in Education and coordinates the local youth forum.

Day 3: Practical Skills Training

The third day was highly practical, with participants divided into two parallel groups. The first group received formal training in CPR and AED from Prahlada Palaka Dasa, who is also a certified CPR instructor. They also learned about First Aid and fire safety in the kitchen. The second group was educated on handling mental health issues. Midway through the day, the groups switched to ensure all participants received comprehensive training.

CPR training at the event.

Day 4: Building Future Networks

The final day was dedicated to fostering networks for future European Youth Camps and enhancing cooperation among youth leaders. This was aimed at facilitating youth gatherings and ensuring ongoing support for young people.

Local Involvement and Political Support

Local youth played a significant role in the seminar, contributing by leading sessions (Bhaktin Alexandra and Bhakta Anton), conducting evening bhajans (Malini, Gita, Alexandra, Lalit Mohan Das), and surprising us by baking traditional Swedish buns and cakes (Chandra). Furthermore, their feedback was invaluable in discussing youth participation and support in local communities.

Two local politicians visited the seminar on day three and were impressed by the international cooperation and high-quality education provided by the Almvik community. They expressed interest in future collaboration and support at various levels.

Funding and Support

The project was funded by the Erasmus+ Swedish National Agency, Myndigheten för ungdoms- och civilsamhällesfrågor, covering travel costs, accommodation, prasadam, and materials.

The seminar at ISKCON Almvik Eco-village has set a high standard for youth leadership training, emphasizing the importance of child protection, mental health, and practical safety skills. It represents a significant step forward in creating safer and more supportive environments for youth across Europe.

To continue to follow the inspiring service at the ISKCON Almvik Eco-village community, please visit their website and follow them on Facebook.